Monday, October 09, 2006

Job dissatisfaction

In her October 5 post, "ON LOVING YOUR WORK... Whatever it might be,"Patry Francis writes, "What does annoy me is people who hate their jobs and are proud of it. People who despise the individuals who are directly or indirectly responsible for paying their salaries."

I hate to give offense, even to people I know only through the Blogosphere, but *taking a deep breath here* I frequently do hate my job and, oh yes, I often despise the individuals who are directly or indirectly responsible for paying my salary.

It's not that I hate my boss -- usually -- which is particularly important for me, since I'm self-employed.

But take today for example: I've been working on a long pleading, that will cost my client a ton of money. We're suing an insurance company because my client had the bad grace to develop cancer shortly after becoming a policyholder. It's not as if he developed cancer on purpose. There are cases in which someone has a volleyball sized growth protruding from his midsection, and he lies in applying for coverage, telling the insurance company that he knows of no ongoing health problem, thank you very much. The insurance company is entitled to rescind coverage in such a case. But that's not my case: My guy was feeling fine and he got a physical just before applying for the policy. He got an essentially clean bill of health at the physical, too, although it was suggested that -- since he was turning 50 -- he should have a colonoscopy. Buried in the lab tests from that same physical was an abnormal finding on a blood test that might have suggested, in the full glare of hindsight, after the cancer was discovered (at the eventual colonoscopy), that a problem might be developing. (And for the medical people in the audience, I'm not talking about the occult blood test. That test was negative. That's the big one, as I understand it, for identifying colon cancer.)

The insurance company, however, feels betrayed: It only wants to accept premiums from healthy people and thereby maximize its profits. That insurance company is responsible for the fees I will charge today which will be paid in the first instance by my client. Maybe, someday, far down the road, I might recover my fee from the insurer because a court will find that the insurer was guilty of "bad faith." Don't hold your breath.

Friday I was working on a case for a lady who lost her mother in a car accident. With a drunk driver. My lady was in the car at the time, and it was only her mother's last conscious decision -- to turn the car so that she absorbed the full force of the head-on collision with the drunk -- that saved my client's life. The drunk had been weaving down the Interstate at speeds of 90 mph before going airborne across the median and head-on into my clients' car. The drunk had almost no insurance. My client also had very little insurance. And I'm trying to negotiate the amounts that the lienholders will collect. It makes no difference to my bottom line where the dollars go -- my fee attaches to the gross amount collected -- but it makes a lot of difference to my lady... and I feel I earn my fee in trying to maximize what she gets to keep. In this case I just have way too many claims chaing too few dollars. So, yes, I hate that, too.

Maybe it's not that I hate my job: Maybe it's just that I'd rather blog and tell war stories... but that doesn't pay my salary directly or indirectly.


Mother Jones RN said...

I love your blog and your war stories. It's true that blogging doesn't pay, but it's still fun.
Thanks for fighting the good fights, and for finding to write about them.

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

well there you are..... took off all weekend did ya? oh okay, i guess you are entitled to have some life outside of work and blogging. and hating your job. welcome back my friend. try to revel in the good that you do. and smile! bee

Jean-Luc Picard said...

It's probably nearer to say that you don't have job satisfaction. I don't have it either.

Patry Francis said...

"the people directly or indirectly responsible for paying your salary" didn't refer to the boss or the company manager or anything like that. It referred to the ones you are there to serve.

My "annoyance" was specifically with teachers who decided years ago that they can't stand 8 year olds, but are in it because they have tenure...doctors who think they're so far above their patients they have no time to answer questions...and burnt out wait people who can no longer smile at a guy who wants a simple cup of hot tea.

Job dissatisfaction? Yeah, I understand that. Every day petty grievances? Who doesn't have those? But when your work makes you grumpy enough to take it out on the people you're there to serve, then I still think you need to find something else to do.

While you may be angry at institutions and bureaucracy, it sounds as if your heart is still with the people you're trying to help. Do I have that wrong?

The Curmudgeon said...

Dangerous territory you've entered into Patry, suggesting that a lawyer might have a heart -- but my stomach lining is still churned up, or eaten away, by my inability to accomplish the things that seem so obvious... to me. Does that count?