Why don’t I get a different job?
Simple answer: I am trying to.
Nursing is not my first or even second career attempt. I attended college right after high school, just like most other people my age, and took out hefty loans to cover the costs of earning what was, in hindsight, a worthless degree. We were told that we would make the amount of the loan in a first year salary. That didn’t happen. The jobs were low-paying, hard to acquire, and even more difficult to hold onto.
I went underwater at age 18 and have not come up since then. I am buried in student loandebt. Several years of forbearances exponentially multiplied the debt. At the current pace of repayment, assuming that I don’t lose this job, I will finish paying the loans when I am 67. Social Security will be out of money before then, so I guess I have to work until I mercifully drop dead. Some people purchase a house. I purchased pieces of paper for my rented walls.
I live in a metropolitan area where nurses are among the highest paid in the country. The rent is higher than most other places. I tried living in a cheaper area. Yes, rent was less, but so was the salary. Much less. My student loans payments do not decrease based on where in the country I live. Only the rent and the salary decrease. Everything else costs relatively the same. So I my residence stays put.
There is no nursing shortage. People need to stop saying that. Nursing schools no longer teach students how to be a nurse. It’s a liability thing. Harm a patient and there could be a massive lawsuit. Your employer is supposed to train you. Because there is no nursing shortage, few hospitals and nursing homes are willing to hire a new graduate and then waste another nurse to teach the new nurse how to do the job. Once trained, the new and now experienced nurse will jump ship to a higher paying job, so the hospital avoids this altogether by seeking experienced nurses only. Budget cutbacks in these institutions means fewer nursing jobs- just dump the ever-increasing workload on fewer nurses.
I have applications on file at every hospital in my geographical area and renew them on the designated schedule. I have literally applied at every healthcare facility in the area. There are no openings.
What about another career? As I mentioned above, I have tried a few others without success. I am loath to return to school and increase my student loan debt and still be unable to find work in the new field. In my neighborhood are all kinds of well-educated individuals who used to have cushy jobs are now hopelessly out of work, competing with the local teenagers for the jobs at Burger King. Most people I know live with relatives or have a bunch of roommates.
So that is why I am still at this horrible job that upsets me so.