Today I noticed this on a friends blog:
It goes right along with my previous post. See Day 20 below. Since I unexpectedly seem to be throwing my hat into the ring, or application form as the case may be, I decided to sign up. I think the rules are pretty simple. Write something everyday and put it in the post. Anyone else out there who likes snail mail? Sunny D? Here's a good chance to put those #2 pencils to good use! If you're interested go here.
So today was my hiring session. Basically that means signed my name on a lot of papers. I have been electronically fingerprinted, had my picture taken, and agreed NOT to be involved with 2.5 pages of offenses like theft, murder, kidnapping, drug use/sales, gun smuggling, or child porn while at work. I learned how to wash my hands to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. The good news is the procedure hasn't changed that much since I was in nursery school. I'm pretty sure I got a gold star. There are a couple more boxes to check off if I plan on being any more than a companion, but I think I can say I am now officially employed.
So why is my stomach in a knot? Why do I feel like crying? Giving it some thought, I think it has to do with money. Maybe it has to do with puffing myself up like a peacock and needing to come back down to Robin Redbreast size.
First of all, I think my hourly rate of pay is a paltry sum. I realize that is not what the agency is charging or clients are paying. I also realize I have no credentials other than 17 years of mom and dad care. Credentials matter. And if I were on the receiving end of the care, I'd expect to pay more for more care. I get all that. Without ever stepping into a stranger's house, and learning what there is to do, I think I'm worth more than that. It's like that old argument about how much is a wife/mother worth? Add up all the different job descriptions and nobody could afford a wife. How is it we live in a society that thinks it's okay to pay people to take care of our most prized possessions - our children and elders - diddly squat? And a lot of that care is no more than warehousing.
You know what - scratch that whole last paragraph.
I think my problem is this - I want to do this kind of work for free. It is a heart job to me. Dad and I used to go round and round about this. I lived in his house and took care of him, because I wanted to. It had nothing to do with his $$$ and if I could have afforded it, I wouldn't have taken one penny of his money. The exchange of funds took away the heart factor. It meant he could always trump my gift with his checkbook because of my financial needs. I hated being beholding to him. I couldn't walk away and I couldn't say no to having a roof over my head. I had bills to pay then, and I have bills to pay now. Bottom line, I feel like I'm selling my soul.
But the facts are I need the money. And there's nothing wrong with being paid for the work one does. If I was an accountant or teacher or libraian I'd want and expect to get paid. Still it feels like a sin to take money for spending time with an old person, or driving them to the store. And it sure as hell feels insulting that if I'm going to be paid, I'd like it acknowledged that I'm worth something.
If you read between the lines here, I think my turmoil has more to do with touching a nerve than anything else. I should just erase this whole damn thing. But I'm going to leave it so I can come back later and re-evaluate.
Sorry for the rant. Nobody knows better than me that I need an attitude adjustment. I think I'll go wash my hands and give myself another gold star.