Monday, November 16, 2009

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

I am disappointed.

Last week I submitted a shift bid request for two non-weekend days on a Newton 911 truck. The shifts are scheduled to go into effect on January 1 of 2010. This morning, I got a telephone call with a counter-offer from my boss. He asked me to take a Wednesday 911 shift in Newton and to stay in Boston on Saturday.

While I understand the concept of operational need, I wasn’t terribly excited about the offer. My issue – just to be clear – is not that I necessarily wanted to work 2 911 shifts. While I would have been happy if I’d gotten what I’d asked for, that wasn’t the point of the exercise.

The whole reason I bid on the shifts was to get off of weekend coverage. And while I bid on a Wednesday shift as an alternate choice, it was my last choice, not my first. And I made sure my boss knew this when I submitted the bid request.

On the phone he tried to tell me that it was a compliment to my abilities to be asked to stay on the Saturday coverage. Truthfully, I’m not sure how much I believe that statement; after all, it is business and he has a job to do, and I do understand that. He said what he said, I think, to try to soften the blow. He also told me that if every medic that bid on shifts (I’m pretty sure most, if not all of the Boston-based medics bid on shifts) were put in the shifts they wanted he’d have nobody to cover the BI contract; I understand that as well. But it seems my choices were pretty limited when they were put into this context: either I could accept the new schedule or not. And not accepting the new schedule would likely put me at the back of the line, in terms of anything coming up in the future.

You’d think that after being in this schedule for coming up on 18 months I’d be released from working on a weekend day. Trying to get coverage on a Saturday is nearly impossible if it’s needed. So I don’t even try anymore…

The thing that bothers me most about all of this, though, is that changing my current schedule by one day disrupts everything else that I’m doing. I’ll have to work out a different night in Goffstown plus I’ll have to register for A&P II on Friday again. I wasn’t planning on that, certainly; I really wanted to do a different class day. But that’s not going to happen, I think.

I did accept the shifts, and when I did this he told me he’d see what he could do to get me off of Saturdays once everything has settled out with Newton when the contract goes into effect.

The only thing I can say is that anytime I’ve needed anything I’ve been able to get it. To management’s credit, they’ve been able to do that for me, so I can’t complain too loudly. But I will hold my boss to his word on finding a weekday shift for me in the future. After all, I am doing them a huge favor by staying in Boston on Saturday. I just hope they realize how huge it is.


TOTWTYTR said...

They have trouble covering BI shifts? I'm SHOCKED, SHOCKED I say!

From what I've heard Newton isn't a bad town to work in.

I hope this works out for you later on.

Walt Trachim said...

Me too.

The irony is that I don't work on the Barney truck; I'm on the double-medic long-distance go everywhere else truck that doesn't get the P/B stipend...

One of my friends works for the Empire out of Waltham. He told me the same thing about Newton.

I'd bid on Monday/Thursday. My boss was, to say the least, shocked. He didn't expect me to submit a bid. And I'm thinking there are many others who've done the same thing I did. Now I have to wonder who else he's asked to do this same thing.

Time will tell, I suppose.

TOTWTYTR said...

"The Barney Truck"! Or trucks since there were two last time I looked. I always wonder if they have to pay you guys more to work on those fugly things.

I know guys who worked Newton going back to the Chaulk days and they all liked it. It would at least get you out of the transfer mix.

I hope it works out for you.

Walt Trachim said...

There indeed are two purple trucks. One is on 24/7. The other is on from 1100-2300 M-F as a sort of impact truck. The 12-hour truck is a BLS ambulance where the 24/7 truck, as I said, is P/B. That is potentially thorny because if they get sent to, say the Shapiro building (on the Binney St. side) or the Lowry for something serious they always need a second medic. That is usually us if we're not tied up. And even when we are we're prodded to clear fast just in case we have to back the BI truck up.

Not always a PITA, just sometimes. And I am definitely looking forward to at least a partial change of venue. I think it will work out. Doesn't hurt that I'll be with someone who knows Newton like the back of his hand. And I'll learn it pretty quick, I think. In terms of population and size, it's smaller than Manchester. That surprised me...

TOTWTYTR said...

I think of Newton as a small to medium sized city, but that's by Mass standards, not NH standards.

I think you'll like it, it's mostly upscale.

I don't get the P/B thing, but that's me. I know it saves some money, but I think in cases like you describe there is a danger of sub optimal care.

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