Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Where is Carson?

Why haven’t I blogged in months?  Consider this: Since the last time I blogged - 
1.  I lost my 18-year job at our local hospital in August when they decided to close down transcription and outsource it all.
2.  I had to set up a home office from scratch on short notice, costing over $2000 with no severance pay to help with the expense and get used to a much smaller salary.
3.  I started a new job where half of my dictators are English-second-language folks and it is a huge learning curve trying to understand what they are saying.
4.  Our 3-year-old border collie died of epilepsy.
5.  My 91-year-old mom developed a stress fracture and we are considering moving her to assisted living.
6.  My sister lost her job to outsourcing as well.
7.  Our debit card was hacked again.

Now, I’ve heard of stress, but this seems like a bit much happening within a short amount of time.  What was the hardest thing about losing my job?  Believe it or not, it was the transition and all that entailed.  I had to choose new insurance plans, call Aflac and arrange direct payments instead of payroll deduction, notify providers of the insurance change, decide what to do with my retirement fund with the hospital, figure out which computer et al to buy for a home office, paint the room, choose virus software and make sure all required software for my new job was up and running, call the cable company to install a new connection, decide where to put my exercise equipment as the room was being turned over to an office, cancel and/or reschedule appointments in light of a different work schedule, make decisions about how to handle our medical reimbursement fund, make sure I keep receipts for the IRS for future home office deductions....whew!  The list makes me tired just looking at it.  

Do you know what I kept thinking the whole time (well, in between my crying jags and don’t-want-to-get-out-of-bed days)?  I need a Carson!  

I’m a big Downton Abbey fan, and Carson is their butler.  Carson is always saying things like, “This problem is too small to worry his Lordship about.  I will take care of it.”  Or...”This problem is too big to worry his Lordship about.  I will take care of it.”  Carson is the transition man, the go-to man when something happens - and he usually successfully intercedes before Lord Grantham has to deal with it.  It is Carson’s job to handle transitions.  Carson calls the insurance company, Carson deals with Aflac, Carson calls the pension fund people, Carson cancels and reschedules appointments, Carson makes sure the bills are paid on time.   God bless Carson!

We all need a Carson in our lives.  Life’s transitions are just too involved nowadays; why, even a simple phone call can result in an hour of wait time listening to horrible music and even after reaching a live person, can be put on hold and/or transferred to other live people who know just as little.  The whole process is exhausting.  

It reminds me of when years ago my sister Joy started a home business of gift baskets.  She was trying to do it in her spare time and work 40 hours a week at her other job.  At one point, she realized there were meal bugs in some of edible goodies she had ordered.  The bugs had spread.  Poor Joy had to make the decision to close up shop.  She told me, “If I had been working full time and had no bugs, I could have done it.  Or, conversely, if I had the bugs but no full-time job, I could have dealt with it.  But - the stress of working full-time PLUS the meal bugs was just too overwhelming to fight.”

It was hard enough to lose my job and start over.  But the overwhelming part came when the energy to train in my new job was vying with the energy it took for my to-do list.  And, as life always goes on, there were the usual things to keep up with - bills to be paid, Christmas gifts to be purchased, bank statements to be reconciled, house cleaning to be done.  

How wonderful it would have been to have a Carson!  Most of the problems would have been taken care of before the news of them even reached my ears, and the rest I could have said, “Thank you, Carson.  You handle it; I trust your judgment.”  

Alas, I am my own Carson.  Husband Ed, of course, was a big help (especially in the encouragement department) but most of the jobs nevertheless had to be accomplished by me.  

After mulling this over for a time, I have come to realize that Lord Grantham is missing out a lot on life - for the petty problems he doesn’t have to handle are the very ones that constitute the mundane reality of life, and the big transitions that he doesn’t have to maneuver are the life-changing ones that we learn from - how to combat cynicism, depression, anxiety.  Handling these situations gives us more self-confidence when we come out on the other end, scratched up a little but still alive and kicking, with more lessons learned.  For to feel the confidence of meeting challenges, you have to be given challenges.  To feel the joy of overcoming adversity, you have to be given adversity.  To be courageous, you have to have something to fear.  

A Carson of my own would have been so helpful.  But I am a different person today than I was in August, and it’s all because I don’t have a Carson to handle everything for me, and maybe that's a good thing.  Hmm... why am I suddenly in the mood for a cup of nice hot tea?  


Nancie said...

Carol - Thank you for your Blog post. I too, love Downton Abbey!

Cuidado said...

Sorry to hear of all the stress and change you have endured. I don't watch Downton Abbey but always wanted 'a wife' to help with some chores. To put a positive spi on your situation since August - look at all you accomplished and learned!