Growing up I knew that I was going to work in the tech industry, it was natural for me. I was always fixing computers and keeping up with the latest and greatest gadgets. For me the fact that I was going to be working with technology for my entire career was just the given path. Who would have thunk that I would now be so happy literally cleaning up feces as a nursing assistant?
I was managing the technology of companies as a sysadmin, but the stress of the job was horrible for me as a person. In my last tech position I was managing around 150 desktops and something like 5 physical servers, many more virtual, and let's not forget the horribly evil printers, 8 large copiers and many more desktop style. I was the lone IT person for all of that technology, clearly I was ALWAYS on call – even when I went on a vacation out of state. At the end I was working 40 hours a week on site and then putting around the same in at home. People were still not happy with me, I was not keeping up with the every day tasks that needed to be finished. I was not happy and I did not enjoy my job. At the time I thought I enjoyed the stress, but in reality I was super unhappy.
After burning out of that tech job I took quite a bit of time off to reflect on what I really needed to be a happy person. The big thing I needed was human contact that wasn't always people needing something from me. Even family events felt like I was there to preform my computer wizard duties. I didn't really know anything different, it was part of who I was.
What I decided I wanted in a job was to be the bottom of the totem pole, lots of people around to talk to, lower stress, biggest factor was to not be able to work from home on my off time. I was looking for happiness, not big money.
Insert Nursing Field Here.
For a long time my Grandma told me that I would be ideal in the nursing field. I didn't believe her, I was too engrossed with my technology life. When it came down to finding a new path in life I decided to look into what it would take. Simply enough it was only a 3 week course and then a two part test by the state to become a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant). After a ton of research I began the process.
The training process was challenging, the tasks I had to complete where nothing I was used to. Finding someones blood pressure manually can be a huge pain in the ass. The funny thing is that was one of the simpler tasks and yet that is what sticks out as the biggest challenge with a physical task. Harder for me was learning the new acronyms. Acronym soup. What made it worse for me was the fact that many of the same acronyms are used in both the tech world and the medical works, but with completely different meanings.
After passing the class I passed both state tests on the first try, which is not rare by any means but it isn't a guarantee by any stretch of the imagination.
I've now been a CNA for a little over 10 months at a “Continuing care retirement community” in the skilled nursing department. Essentially, I am in the section of the facility that provide care for people who need help doing pretty much everything. If I was to hazard a guess the average age of the residents would be over 90. The oldest passed away at 102.
The best way to sum up my job is to say that I literally clean up shit for a living. Pretty much every day I say to myself, “I am happier cleaning up shit than I ever was working on any technology.” Also, my nose is pretty much immune to the smell of feces at this point, which works in my favor.