Tuesday, March 31, 2015

When I grow up...

Like many people I know, I am at a crossroads in life. Since 2012, I have been laid off from two jobs and have spent the last year and a half trying to find the right opportunity.

Now, I hear what you are muttering under your breath. "But, T., you are an occupational therapist. There are tons of jobs waiting for you out there." Yes, there are tons of jobs. (well, not TONS but several) About half of them are pediatric (which we established a few months ago that I am NOT a pediatric therapist--see You're Going To Find Me A Job, Right?) or they are places which I have said I would never consider for multiple reasons.

I get calls from recruiters daily. Some are really entertaining. All of them make me wonder how recruiters make a living. (No, I am not interested in an ock-u-pat-shun-ale ther-a-pest position in my neighborhood...in TEXAS. Do these people know how big Texas is? San Angelo or Corpus Christi is a LONG commute from the Dallas area.) I also find it somewhat amusing (not really) that all of the job descriptions advertised are interchangeable so I can't tell what skills are being sought. (Am I a fit? Can't tell!)

I have been on several interviews and I even walked out of one because they were insane. What I have learned is the healthcare climate has changed so much in the past five years that the company either wants a license with a pulse (which means I don't want them), or they want a new graduate that they can train the therapist to jump through their hoops (One of my soapboxes. Don't get me started.)

So, this leaves me wondering what my future as an occupational therapist might be and asking the question, "What do I want to be when I grow up?" I've been asking this question for longer than I'd care to admit and still have no definitive answer.

For now, I continue as I have. I am on the books with three companies as PRN (as needed) of which two give me somewhat steady work. I have an interview in the morning and one next week for two more PRN positions. I am looking at private practice (which really goes back to the question about growing up). And I am writing and still waiting to publish the first novel until I hear back from the contest. (I have two more novels in the hopper. Obviously, I have too much time on my hands.)

Stay tuned!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Just a Normal Saturday

Yesterday I spent an exhausting day with brilliant teenagers. It made my brain hurt.

Myrtle the Younger is in her high school's version of gifted and talented coursework, called Phoenix. She adores her Phoenix classes because they allow her to think light years out of the box. (And she is pretty darn good at that. I haven't understood a word that child has said since she was hatched.)

Every year the junior and senior classes spend months putting together a Phoenix simulation day for the sophomores and freshman. (The best part...everyone wears a costume.) The hosting classes have a theme (untamed forces) they work around, each with a theme within the theme (greed, dreams, fear, survival instincts, psychology, etc.). Her class theme was social hierarchy so they chose to create a prison complete with gangs and a tattoo parlor. (Isn't that what you think when you hear the phrase 'social heirarchy'?)

So yesterday I proudly send off my baby prison guard with a cute little bun. All I know was she was thrilled to be a prison guard so she could swat people with a foam noodle. (A mother's pride knows no bounds, despite having little understanding of the baby girl's thought processing.) I was assured that no one was hurt by her swats and she had a blast.

Now because I am the supportive parent, I was volunteered to be a chaperone. And upon arrival, I was informed that I was responsible for NOTHING. Yea! This event was completely run by the kids and my role was that of general adult. I can do that! And in return, I get pizza!

So I dutifully follow the three groups I am assigned to and we see the creative results of ten different Phoenix classes including Greed (a giant Monopoly game with robbers), Psychology (a psych ward where the students got to yell "give me my meds!"), Social Movements (a communist spy/blow up the Berlin Wall simulation), Finances (a stock market crash), Natural Disasters (a tornado clean-up), Failure (Amazing Race), Dreams (from happy rainbows and unicorns to LSD-inspired weird stuff to really bad burrito nightmares), and Survival Instincts (plane crashes into the jungle and now the animals are going to eat you). Yes, I have forgotten two, but that was the middle of the day and my brain was on sensory overload. Be assured they were fun and creative.

I came home and took a nap.

Otherwise it was a normal Saturday for me. How about you?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Confusion Is The Norm, Right?

I attended my first ever writer's critique group last night. It was an interesting evening to say the least. The instructions were to bring a chapter of approximately 2500 words to share and discuss.

There were five others present with material to discuss. One was new, like me, and the others were old hats with either published materials or at least few rejection letters under their belts. Overall, I was impressed by the amount of work they had completed and their feedback.

Now, I must explain a few things before I continue. Firstly, I am an introvert. Meeting new people--not my cup of tea. Meeting new people for the express purpose of criticizing...excuse me...critiquing my work--OMG! Secondly, I am a speed reader. It wasn't something I learned, nor can I really explain how I read, but one thing I do know--reading out loud is akin to torture. I do know I tend to omit or stumble over descriptors and words like 'the', 'to', 'a/an', etc. They are a waste of my time and energy in reading, so when I read out loud, I have to force myself to recognize their existence. (Books with a lot of descriptions get skimmed or put down pretty quickly. Give me action and dialogue! My brain will fill in the rest.)

Back to the group. After I read my prologue, discussion ensued. Major discussion. There were two or three different factions. Now I realize that many will not like my story (genre, concept, style, etc) and I should not take that into consideration or be offended. But on my right was someone telling me my prologue had no hook, that it sounded like a ghost story and mystery rather than a romance, didn't understand who my audience was and she would put the book down. (Not helpful!!) The person on my left said she had no problem with the hook and liked the intro but needed see how the prologue tied in with the rest of the story.

Now I think the person on the left had a reasonable arguement and is often how I approach a novel. How does the opening/prologue tie into the rest of the book? I often don't see the connection until mid book or the end, but that's part of what keeps me going. One of the comments was that the character in the prologue needed to be the main character of the book. I've never heard that before and have read many prologues which did not include the main character. The prologue should tie into the main concept, but not necessarily the main character.