That's what SHE said. Really, that is what she said.
Early into my stint as lab manager, a former lab manager, co-worker and friend at another hospital said those words to me. They echo from time to time in my overwhelmed brain.
A year has passed, and I am still here. Amazing. Being a lab manager is one of the craziest, most difficult, most rewarding, most infuriating, most exhausting things I have ever done. I am challenged every day and take the small victories where I can get them. I hope every day that I make a difference for somebody - a fellow tech, a patient, a student- but most days I feel that I am just performing chaos control.
It DOES consume me from time to time. I have been trying my hardest this last year to balance work and family, work and friends, work and new kitties, work and work and work. So much of what I am is what I do for a living, and it has been thus for at least 23 years now. I wouldn't know how to separate my career from ME even if I tried. There were times in the past year that I would declare "It's just not worth it" and vow that I would never be a manager again. But of course, those feelings pass and I see the triumphs, the small battles won, and I know that I can't really imagine myself doing anything else. I consistently have to pull on knowledge and experience gained in that past couple of decades to solve problems and develop new avenues. I know that this coming National Lab Week will be better than last year's because I am more comfortable in my role and have fought in the trenches (or is that benches) with my staff for what we have now. I also know I have a long way to go before I am a "seasoned" manager, the same way 23 years ago I had a long way to go before I became a "seasoned" tech. But it happened. I worked, I dreamed, I studied, I acheived. And I'm doing it all over again. Only now, the stakes are much higher. I have never been a person who likes to fail. But now, if I fail, the lab fails. I know there are so many people I cannot let down.
So does it consume me? Yes. And no. I strive to keep my balance, and the kitty laying right here in front of my monitor, looking so peaceful, is an indication that I am doing at least something right. It is that silver lining, even with a touch of grey, that keeps me going. I have more than I ever dreamed I would at this point in my life, and even the wild thought that I would be a lab manager has come to pass. I am truly blessed with opportunity, hope and love. And it doesn't get any better than that.
Because she has sung my life for nearly twenty years now, I will once again let her say it in the only way she can. Alanis, you are my muse and my voice. And I know that even though I haven't really got it figured out just yet, everything is gonna be fine, fine, fine.