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Thread: Can't Decide What to Do?

  1. #1
    Senior Member lynnifer's Avatar
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    Can't Decide What to Do?

    So I've been a dispatcher for 13yrs with the same small service. I love my job, I love my co-workers. I did ten years solid of rotating shift work (it was hell).

    The last three have seen me on/off with foot surgery and then the hysterectomy and the waiting/travelling for both surgeries. Through it all, my employer and my co-workers have been supportive as hell and I was told I would never have to worry about my job. It's a great relationship. I'm on par with my dispatching co-workers because the job is done sitting! I'm more than competent at it. I love the camaraderie with my dispatchers/cops/firefighters ... I can be hilarious as hell one minute and serious as hell the next. I'm told I'm a good co-worker to work with as I make the shift fly by.

    We went to 12hr day/night shifts in May 2010 and I lasted six weeks before I fell after the two day shifts into midnights while getting into the car .. which lead to the partial hysterectomy I had. I kept getting sick and weaker and knew I couldn't keep up that pace much longer ... a lot to deal with as I went through a divorce (?) and practically no family support at all.

    So anyway, after 2yrs of crying/denial/accepting it, my doctor wrote me a note that I can only work 8hr shifts on a more steady basis. I'm comforted by several who tell me these are normal work hours - lol - but it was hard for me to accept because for the first time in 20yrs of working, I couldn't keep up (after 27yrs of paralysis).

    So ... long story short ... a secretary position has come up at work. There was already a competition ... out of five who applied, only I passed the testing (pathetic really). I feel I'm being pressured to take the job by management (we'd love to see you working days and liven up the place) and the association (perfect job for you with your new hours) and dispatch co-workers ... I'm being made to feel alright with whatever I decide but I know it's hellish to accommodate me in a 24/7 operation where everyone else is working 12's. I know I wouldn't want to do it ...

    No more weekends, never a holiday working again. The shit part is that it's $7,500+ less per year. Same benefits, pension. The other disadvantage is that you're the 'catch-all' ... Chief, Deputy, Staff-sergeants, cops' and dispatchers' secretary ... kind of a demotion really. Less money for more work and I can't say no to people so I'll be swamped! One of those mentioned is a severe micro-manager ... not sure I could deal with that person every day. Nights were a vacation from all 'the white shirts,' lol.

    Our association told me it comes down to less than $60 per week difference after taxes ... my argument is that's a car payment per month! I'd also be dealing with the public face-to-face more than I do now .. which is fine .. but coming into a police station would put me more front-line with some undesirable characters. I'm not really worried about that (double indemnity insurance if killed or injured at work, lol, not that I have anyone to leave it to!)

    If it was two years from now and I had certain debt I built up from the past 3yrs paid off, I would take the job. If David hadn't left and I wasn't short that second income, I would take the job.

    The other side of that is that I would definitely miss the excitement of dispatching. The training with the officers and travel ... I would sincerely miss it. Plus, I get a good feeling from soothing people when they call whether in an accident or domestic, etc. I feel like I'm helping my fellow human being in my own small way.

    Another factor is that if our small service is ever swallowed up by a regional police force (certainly possible), I might have more luck staying on in administration than dispatch ... though I'm fourth from the top in seniority and one is leaving in the next two years. The other two will be done in ten. I have 17 more years to go ... there is 1 a year after me and 2 two years after me. At some point, there will be a dispatch supervisor position but way off into the future, lol.

    So WTF do I do? Seems like it's mine if I want it or I can stay where I am.

    So better hours versus less pay.
    Last edited by lynnifer; 11-23-2012 at 11:20 PM.
    Roses are red. Tacos are enjoyable. Don't blame immigrants, because you're unemployable.

    T-11 Flaccid Paraplegic due to TM July 1985 @ age 12

  2. #2
    Would it be possible for you to try the secretarial job out for a month, with the proviso that you can go back to dispatch if you don't like it?

  3. #3
    Senior Member lynnifer's Avatar
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    No - if so I'd do that.

    The other side of this is that it would open a full-time job for a part-timer in dispatch .. right now they don't have benefits and pay through the nose to contribute to a pension. One of them just had a baby, one is set to be married and another is just married and about to buy a house .. so that reigns on my mind as well.

    Effing paralysis and its complications. Effing David. lol
    Roses are red. Tacos are enjoyable. Don't blame immigrants, because you're unemployable.

    T-11 Flaccid Paraplegic due to TM July 1985 @ age 12

  4. #4
    The cons of taking the secretarial position seem to outweigh the pros, but maybe my own filters are making me see it that way. Such a huge pay cut...not to mention the aridity of a desk job, after the vital engagement of dispatch; and a manager who isn't a good fit for your personality. You're thoughtful and considerate to weigh the needs of coworkers in dispatch who could benefit from your taking the secretarial position, but I think that the decision really must primarily be about you, and what will give you the greatest longterm job satisfaction and feeling of accomplishment.

  5. #5
    What a freakin' loss to your community. This is tragic imo, you're too damned good for this.

    Effing David. Yo buddy...Betheny says you get the full-on Fuck You. Although you did the world a favor by shooting that relationship in the forehead!

  6. #6
    Senior Member lynnifer's Avatar
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    It's been months since this came up and I haven't made any head-way in deciding. Big shoes to fill too - the last secretary used to take water bottles to the officers on hot days if they were stuck at an investigation for a long time (especially accidents as they would direct traffic) and would bring a crock-pot of hot food in winter.

    It's rare that I'll make dinner for my shift and even moreso since I'm not with a particular platoon anymore ... but I used to cook up a turkey every year and leave it for those who had to work through the Christmas week. No one really sticks around the station if they can help it anymore, so I stopped.

    Sooo many Christmases spent at the station alone and unable to leave a single room! lol Would have to call back someone just to use the washroom, lol! Same thing with the hospital for five years before that.

    The freedom of not being tied to a room and a phone is ... alluring.
    Roses are red. Tacos are enjoyable. Don't blame immigrants, because you're unemployable.

    T-11 Flaccid Paraplegic due to TM July 1985 @ age 12

  7. #7
    Lynnifer. I don't know how tight you are on your finances or if you are capable to make up some of that lost income somewhere else. But giving up 60.00 aweek to have my weekends off and holidays sounds real good to me. Plus the same frienships and joy you have will come with the new job. I can assure you of that. I would lean to the new job.

  8. #8
    I'm torn. Not every average jane can do what our Lynnifer does. But her health needs to come first. Jenn, are you free to pee at will these days? Don't Canadians have hands-free headsets?

    B/c yeah, screw being plugged into the wall...

  9. #9
    Senior Member zillazangel's Avatar
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    It sounds like you can't work as a dispatcher health wise even if you wanted to? So I'd say take the secretarial job because at least you're in the same environment. Sorry you're stuck with this shitty choice though.
    Wife of Chad (C4/5 since 1988), mom of a great teenager

  10. #10
    Senior Member lynnifer's Avatar
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    Put it this way: I used to owe the same amount one would pay for a brand new Honda Accord (in Canada at least). When my mortgage came up for renewal, I took out a loan.

    Now I owe for a high-end Civic. lol Travelling to Toronto for medical treatment would be about $120 per trip including gas and parking. At one point, I was going every six weeks. Then double it as I saw a wound care doc and uro-gynecologist/urologist ... never on the same day!

    My car is a 2004 that I bought brand new as well ... I've taken excellent care with Siggy but he'll need to be replaced in 2014 or soon after.

    Then I have to ask myself will I be okay until retirement as far as health/stamina and what will my future costs be (van with a lift for sure)?

    It's my fault I let myself get into debt ... ultimately. I used to be soo careful. Having moved out at 18, I had to be. Not sure what happened to that girl!
    Roses are red. Tacos are enjoyable. Don't blame immigrants, because you're unemployable.

    T-11 Flaccid Paraplegic due to TM July 1985 @ age 12

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