Friday, October 10, 2008

Me Free

Wow, it's past 1am and I am still awake, i.e. not waking up on the sofa from the first sleeping phase of the night. But tomorrow is Saturday and I am not going to work tomorrow, which is as it should be.

Indeed, I could feel it coming this week, and Thursday was my last day. By then (their second week) I had trained the two new assistants as much as I could - the rest they have to learn on their own with the doc - they now know more than I did when I was working alone and had to pick everything up by trial and error.
By my last day they had finally eased up on the: "Olivia, Olivia, Olivia...where do I put this, what do I do with this, how do I do this, help me?" So I got to sit in the office and watch them take their first independent steps as dental assistants.

And so I was basically babysitting them - putting on band aids, tying up their hair, doing with clean hands what they could not do with dirty gloves, reminding them of little things they'd forgotten before the dentist noticed the omission (thus preventing another lengthy lecture). I was also refilling supplies, distributing deliveries, keeping a check on things, and holding it together in the background. I kind of liked that autonomy without the constant directions and the confusion of figuring out setups and materials that have been changed and modified for the nth time.

At the beginning of last week the dentist had asked me to write notes and guidance for them to learn from, as part of my "cleansing process" (his words). This week we put them into PowerPoint, and finally I printed them out under the title Training Manual 2008.

One of the last things I did was help the hygienist (who doesn't usually need help) by holding an elderly patient's weak jaw open with one hand, performing suction with the other, dodged a big insect running between my feet, wearing the mask and fogging up my protective goggles - while standing up (no assistant chair in hygienist's room). It was a fulfilling challenge, but like any other aspect of assisting, not something I could do all day every day.

In fact, I worked hard until the very last minute, directing a third new assistant in sterilizing the last batch of instruments, checking power switches, and turning off lights. The doc and I shook hands and agreed there were no hard feelings. He's a nice guy when he's not working, really.

Today I went to lunch with the receptionist (C) and the assistant who left two weeks ago. (She and I had been the "intelligent team" he was so excited about but has now lost, as people like us don't stay in places like that). We enjoyed dim sum together in Chinatown, feasting on little dishes for over two hours. And I had sunflower tea for the first time. It tastes like sunshine in a cup.

We really didn't talk about work that much, but we had fun and will do this again. Afterwards, C and I walked into SoHo, browsed a few shops, chatted about fashion; went into the Whole Foods on Bowery (much quieter and more organized than the one on Union Square) and analyzed the goodies on offer.

We had also had dinner together before my hair appointment (also in SoHo) on Wednesday, and found we had much in common regarding travelling, photography, and food. It's interesting to find the human side of people outside of the workplace. We had fish n chips and Chicago fried zucchini sticks, simple but happy food.

SoHo Spot, a quirky little place with a friendly, relaxing, airy vibe and delicious, hearty food. Yes, the ceiling is 95% skylight.


Last Friday I met up with Chris for dinner at a Mexican place (Chevy's) we had all enjoyed when the crowd from Houston came up in August. I NEVER order beef and rarely even eat it because I find it hard to digest, but that was all I craved, so my body must have needed it. I ordered a great sizzling tender beef fajita. Never touched the tortillas, rice or beans, just ate the beef and the chile relleno on top, and the lettuce, guacamole, sour cream, and pico de gallo on the side. Oh, and enjoyed a mango margarita.

I digested it just fine despite having a nap when I got home - though I have to say, the next day I needed extra fruits and some prunes...


And so I am free! But at the same time, am now let loose into
this economy during the latest financial downturn, or - dare I say it - recession. I'm not too worried. Despite all the fearmongering over bankrupt financial institutions (Lehman Bros, et al) and even whole countries (Iceland!), I think we're more resilient than we were during the previous recession in the 90s. I don't think we'll get to the point where there the job listings cease and everyone's lining up at soup kitchens.

Well, that's all for now folks.


AmitL said...

Hi,Olivia-you know what? You reminded me of my last day at work,in both my previous companies- I was busy teaching the ropes to guy taking over from me,till the last minute(Literally)..and,he continued to be 'strategically incompetent'...It makes me wonder-why do we do it?I mean,if we were really professional,we wouldn't care so much,to ensure things don't slow down.But,the answer is-we do care,and,a job becomes like something personal..right?Good going!Frankly,I'm sure this nice trait of yours will always ensure you join good places,and,if/when you leave them,you'll still leave with a good name.
Re the recession,I agree-it's not really as bleak as it is made out to be,by the media!

The Moody Minstrel said...

Ladies and gentlemen, Olivia is FREE and CRAVING MEAT!!!!

But seriously, m'lady; the recession! Every dinner these days I have to sit and listen to my (Japanese) FIL go on and on and on about how it's ALL AMERICA'S FAULT, etc.. The funny thing is that the U.S. stock market is actually faring far better so far than Japan's, which is (ironically) faring far better than Russia's. Of course, it's ALL AMERICA'S FAULT (according to both Putin and my FIL).

Meanwhile, Daniel Ortega is saying that it's actually GOD'S fault, i.e. God is punishing the U.S. for trying to foist its economic ways on poor countries.

Does that mean that Putin should declare war on God?

I need more Coke & Bailey's Irish Cream...or have I had too much already?

Gaz said...

Hiya,sizzling beef is one of the better things in life,the only problem is when they bring it out everyone looks round to see what the noise is....and the whole room is looking at you........the recession...they call the credit crunch......cost me my job,i was a self employed taxi driver for 22 years and had to give it up as nowone was going out anymore in our area.

Olivia said...

Amit - yes, we care too much. Which is why the doc kept thanking me for sticking around - even though I gave two weeks notice. I guess some people would have walked out, as I was tempted to many times, but again am too dedicated to do that.


Minstrel - yes, just last week Europe was pointing and laughing at the US and now they are forced to eat their words. Because I guess they forgot they had made the same mistakes...


Gaz - no, usually I find they're still looking at the beef!

Sorry the trickle down effect reached your small community. I guess large cities suffer less. You do have another job, though, right? From what I gathered on your blog?

Anonymous said...

I didn't know you have trouble with beef. I love beef fajitas, steak, roasts, prime rib..... Glad you had such a lovely time with C. I miss dim sum but it's the kind of thing that's more fun with a small group of people.

meimei said...

well I have faith in you liv, you will find an amazing job that suits you

MattJ said...

Ummm...... didn't this whole thing start off with the American sub-prime mortgage market?

I'm not suggesting I know what the hell that is, just that's the first I heard of it.

Having said that, I think whilst its easy to blame the country with a drooling window licker as a president for all this, its much more accurate to blame bankers the world over.

Here's the lesson to take away from this: If you lend lots of money to people who have absolutely no means of paying it back - they won't pay it back.

I know its more complicated than that, but I also don't care and being a hypocrite gives me the luxury of ignoring anything I don't wanmt to hear :D

I'm with you Liv - i'm well aware that the world is in financial melt down, but right now I'm not actually noticing it - allt hat happens is that i get more and more paranoid about my job despite their being no indication whatsoever that anything is going to happen to it. As with most things, I blame what passes for journalism in the 21st century - bouncing from panic to panic generating as much interest as possible in the latest closet monster before ricocheting off to the next one.


Sorry, I haven't been here for a while so I've given you a double dose haven't I? :s

I hav eno doubt you will find a good job livvy. Oh hey! Get one of those HotDog carts! Most people over here want to go to NY cos of things like the tourist attractions, and because they are drooling, mindless morons who thing Sex & The City is in anyway good or reflective of the city. Me, I want one of those hotdogs off the cart :D

Flighty said...

My one full working day in recent years has been Saturday in the hardware store and then the bookshop.
I won't know what to do when that ends in a couple of weeks!
Take care! xx

Um Naief said...

mattj makes me laugh :)

i don't think you'll have a problem finding a job. might take a little longer coz of ppl's paranoia, but it'll come.

i'll have to agree in that i think the u.s. media likes to keep everyone in constant state of hysteria... and, you know, what is it about americans loving that constant stress....

i miss whole foods! i love their cheese spreads, almond butter, fruits, yummy dishes... i think i'm hungry! ;)

congratulations, btw!! :)

MattJ said...

Minstrel, you gotta love those religious types - if God did it, then its a good thing, even when it's bad.
'Oh no! everyone is being wiped out by a plague that makes their nipples fall off!'

'Ah, 'tis God's will, he is punishing us '

'Really? What for?'

'Who knows the will of God?'

'Well..... you....apparently'

'Look, it's all part of God's plan OK? You're being punished'

'I work in a soup kitchen! How come he isn't punishing you? You have a gazillion dollars and a midget pig fetish!'

'Ours is not to reason why...'

And so on..

Jo said...

LOL at Minstrel: Olivia is FREE and CRAVING MEAT!!!

So good to hear you're sleeping only nights and you're happy!

I know we'll be OK despite our government's complete ineptitude, but mostly I'm glad that my 401k is invested mostly in gov't bonds!

Olivia said...

Nikki - beef can be so yummy if prepared in the right way, but I did essentially go off it some years back. I miss homemade BBQs, I used to love ribs with simple Italian dressing marinade - yes, as easy as that!


Mich - congrats on your new job already!


Matt - the thing is, all the banks had the same practices. Even though for years I wasn't earning enough, my dad's friend kept urging me to buy my own place in London. When I protested that I couldn't prove I had the means for a mortgage, he said it didn't matter, they'd give me one anyway. I found that highly suspicious, and now I find it's all hit the fan!


Flighty - which one is ending in a couple of weeks, the bookshop or the hardware store? xx


Um Naief - I don't think they choose the stress but when you have 24 hr news channels then it has to be filled with something. Sky News and BBC News 24 are the same.


Matt - one half of that dialogue is very Puritanical!


Jo - yes! You know that Depression era law (to separate banking from investment) that was repealed in 1997 during a period of economic complacency during the Clinton administration? I bet they're sorry they did that now.

Anonymous said...

Hope the job search goes well. Your experience, and the time there, should help you land a good clerical position, or even better.

BTW, Ever eaten at Panna II? They serve up some greatn Indian food!

by Glo said...

Congratulations Liv on breaking free, and in such style as well! I read this earlier and I was so relieved to know you had managed to make it through to the end...

I'm looking forward to further adventures :)

Guyana-Gyal said...

Hahaha, Moody Minstrel, you gave me a good laugh. It's true, it's all America's fault, Iceland happened because of America. And what's happening in England is America's fault too. But because people here blame everything on the govt. here, what's happening in America is our govt.'s fault.

I think the media exaggerate a bit...

The Moody Minstrel said...

Laying blame is easy when you already have a default scapegoat. Just ask my old university band director. As far as he was concerned, everything was MY fault! A squawk in the alto sax section? He'd stop the band and yell at me (in the clarinet section).

According to one old friend who often visits my blog everything is the fault of liberals and socialism. According to another one it's all because of conservatives and corporations.

Many politicians blame the media. Many media sources blame politicians.

It could be due to global warming, increased solar activity, crossing the galactic median, butterflies flapping their wings out of sync in China, immorality in our youth culture, too many artificial sweeteners, reality TV, British comedy, ships routinely traveling faster than warp factor 4, the wrong person winning American Idol, my father-in-law missing the evening news...

...or it could all just be pure, dumb luck.

Now go eat your meat, or you can't have any pudding!

Olivia said...

Guyana Gyal - by extension, anything that happens in Guyana could be blamed on the British gov! :P