80% Dilemmas

February 7, 2019

I recognize I have a very good problem – I feel very lucky to be working at a place that has allowed me to work at 80% time, while still serving in a leadership role. It is possible, with time, that the residency part of my job might become an even larger slice of my responsibility pie; however, that remains to be seen.

I am currently 0.55 FTE clinical // 0.25 FTE GME // 0.2 FTE unpaid/off. The way I work this is to simply block one weekday every week as mine. I stay home, do things with the kids, record podcasts ~50% of the time, and generally get the loose end of life taken care of. I’d love to say that I enjoy a lot of self-care and extra sleep, but that hasn’t been the case — I’m more likely to be spending time with the kids or catching up on unpaid bills/budgeting or planning the next bday party or taking someone to the dr — you get the picture.

I do think it’s helpful to have that wiggle room. It also means that if I receive a notice from school that there is a performance on a random Wednesday, I can shuffle patients to my ‘off’ day and attend the performance! This was very difficult to do before when there would have been nowhere to put previously scheduled patients, even if I technically had PTO to take. I might have solved this with a random day off once/month that could be moved around, but had not yet tried that approach.

Then there is CALL. Since I am clinical 55% of the time (and the 25% of GME comes with its own share of evening responsibilities and occasional weekend events), one would think that I was smart enough to negotiate taking 55% of call. Nope. I’m taking the full share (felt guilty about giving ‘more’ to colleagues and just wasn’t sure what the protocol was). But I am recognizing that this does not make sense. First of all, I am accumulating more patients and have nowhere to put them. Second, I am getting hit with off hours events from the GME side and when that is added to call (and the occasional meeting like the one I went to on my day off last week that only lasted one hour but required two hours of driving) — and 80% is not 80%. It’s more. But my paycheck doesn’t know that.

I am trying to figure out what to do. Options include going back up to 90% (downgrading my scheduled non-PTO-days off to one every other week), staying at 80% but negotiating a change in call (I think this is fair), or even (!) going to 100% but seeing if I can do some work remotely. 100% would make the podcast very difficult, though, and I really enjoy doing it.

As you all know, I’ve also discussed writing a book on planning and have the very skeletal outline of a proposal, but that project has definitely stalled — essentially since I had G. (IE: for a long time). Honestly — it comes down to time. I can churn out a quick blog post in the morning before work in 20 minutes, but cannot get into the deeper focusing place needed to work on that. At least that’s what I tell myself. I thought I’d be able to use my days off for this, but a) they are only once/week and b) the time seems to go to other things (generally worthwhile things, but other things). So maybe I should just table that project for some time. But then I wonder if the time spent on this site/the podcast makes much sense if it’s not supporting some larger (paid) project. Maybe it doesn’t matter and I shouldn’t care. But that time adds up, and I guess perhaps I do.

Dilemmas, dilemmas. But ones I am very lucky to have!

Now to solve the issue of G waking up at 5 every morning, during my only (lucid) block of me-time . . .