As many of you may know, I recently took a position in labor and delivery. I thought it would be my saving grace, the one nursing job that I could actually love.
But sadly, I have found that the answer is still a resounding no.
I just don’t feel like nursing is me. I panic every time I go into work, thinking of everything that could go wrong; I feel like a fraud in scrubs, a kid playing doctor with my stethoscope. In short, as my idol Sue Monk Kidd, a former nurse-turned-writer put it, “I just don’t feel like a nurse inside.”
Although the tale of my woe-is-me-for-choosing-nursing story is much too long for this blog post, the long story short is that I never wanted to be a nurse. Swore up and down, left and right that I would never enter that god-forsaken profession.
And then I discovered midwifery. Babies. The miracle of birth. The fascination I held for seeing a pregnant woman. And I thought I’d give it a try. But to be a midwife, you have to first become a nurse.
Nursing students don’t do their obstetrical rotation until 3 years into the 4-year program. By the time I finished it, job-shadowed a midwife, and worked in OB, I decided midwifery was not for me. I wanted a family life without crazy hours, I didn’t want that kind of responsibility, and frankly, the job outlook was not promising.
By that point, I had a year of nursing school left. I agonized over if I should switch my major. I wanted to pursue something with writing, but of course, everyone under the sun argued with me, telling me I would be ridiculous to give up a “real” job for writing. My stubborn, perfectionist side didn’t want to waste 3 years of education, and the prestigious side of working in the medical field. I talked to advisors, met with the Dean of Nursing, mapped out a different strategy to allow me to double major in Health Sciences and Professional and Technical Writing.
And then I found out I was pregnant.
How could I give up a “guaranteed” job now? Waste 3 years of a degree that would allow me, without a doubt, to care for my baby, no matter what? What could writing and a useless health degree give me?
I couldn’t. I wanted to be that strong mom, the mom who could support my family. I could do this.
So I finished school, and have hated working as a nurse ever since. I have so much guilt about my feelings. What is wrong with being a nurse? It’s a noble job, helping people, and now helping bring life into the world. It offers flexible hours and a good wage.
But there’s a lot more to it than that. It’s the feeling that at any moment, someone under my watch could die. It’s the knowing I have to be awake from 7 pm to 7:30 am and come home to my kids the next day. It’s the inability to ever plan anything ever, because you don’t know your schedule or if you will get called into work. It’s blood and poop and pain and vomit.
I want to let it go, I really do.
But I just don’t know how.
Is it wrong to just simply not like a job? With so many people hurting for jobs and literally struggling to put food on the table, aren’t I the most selfish brat for even writing these words?
I feel like a crazy person. I am so sick of thinking about it, talking about it, writing about it. I even confessed all this to a new hairdresser I went to recently. She whirled my chair around and looked at me through my wet bangs folded over my head, cousin-It style.
“Do you really think God doesn’t want you to be happy?” she demanded. “Do you?”
My eyes filled with tears as I stammered, trying to explain that that wasn’t it.
She waved my excuses away with her scissors still in hand.
“God loves you so much,” she said. “He wants you to be happy. Thinking otherwise is getting tricked. Don’t get tricked.”
So, prophetic hairdressers aside, I want to know–how many of you out there really love your jobs? How many of you really feel you have a “calling” in life? Do you feel passion in your life for a job?
I am always jealous of those types, because I used to be one, and I now, I just feel like I am floundering and drifting along without a purpose…