Monday, January 26, 2009

Would I Do It? Would You?

Last week in my adventures of job searching, I came across this post:

"Meet Your new Neighbors! (Picture of a family of penguins)

Dark, Cold, Icy area needs a PA or NP from Feb through end of October, 2009.
Seeking a unique adventure as well as employment? How would you like to be one of the few people on the planet to have the opportunity to live and work in Antarctica. We are currently looking for a Physician Assistant/ Nurse Practitioner to deploy to one of Antarctic research stations on a contract basis starting approximately February ~1 through October 2009.
We are looking for Primary and Alternate employees to fill all contract positions. The Primary is first in line for the position. The Alternate is next in line to deploy should the Primary be unable to meet deployment requirements.
Responsibilities: The Physician Assistant/ Nurse Practitioner is responsible for patient care. Performs other clinical and facility duties within the clinic. Provides backup support to field camps and South Pole.
Required Qualifications: Minimum nurse practitioner degree or physician assistant degree required. Current licensure and certification in ACLS and BTLS required. Minimum of two years experience as a nurse practitioner or physician assistant working in a primary care environment required. Computer competence is required.
Desired Qualifications: ATLS certification and licensure to prescribe medications is desirable.
Additional Polar Info: All contract positions include competitive salary and a comprehensive benefits package. For the time you are in Antarctica compensation also includes travel to and from the ice, room & board, and you are eligible for a performance-based bonus upon successful completion of your contract. FYI - Only authorized personnel are allowed on station and you need to remain on station for the duration of your contract except in case of emergency. All applicants must be able to provide proof of U.S. or New Zealand citizenship or permanent residency once employment is offered and pass strict physical, dental, and psychological (for winter-over positions) examinations in order to qualify for deployment. Offers of employment are also contingent upon ability to pass a pre-employment drug screen and background check. Failure to meet these requirements may result in withdrawal of employment offer or other employment action. All employees must also comply with applicable safety, environment, health, and waste management policies and procedures.
Pay is $60,000 for 9 months, plus $18,000 finish bonus (more for the other location). Can't leave during the 9 months unless really sick and if they can fly out."

I am not qualified to apply for the job because I lack experience, but if I could, would I? Maybe. It may sound weird to some that i might actually consider it. Others are probably not surprised. I definitely would not consider it if I had some family obligations or I was at a job that I really loved. But it would be quite an experience and something to think about...

For now, I have to stick with the Northern Hemisphere...

An update: I was actually surprised that they responded. They asked me some questions and asked me if I could go in February. What the..? I reminded them that I do lack the required experience and would not be the ideal candidate, but they could still contact me... And even though it is for 8 months, this would mean I would be spending a WINTER in Antarctica. Get out those light boxes! The likelihood of me going is still very, very slim. It was an interesting thought...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Kudos to Kutcher

I am not usually one who follows the lives Hollywood celebrities or pay attention to what they have to say about politics. Most of the time it seems obnoxious to me to hear their rants because they're usually one-sided and sound condescending to those "non-famous" people who don't agree with their opinions. Last night I was listening to the radio and Billy Bush brought up Ashton Kutcher's latest blog on his MySpace. Commenting on his experience at the inauguration, Kutcher mentioned this:

"I was less impressed by the boo's as the republican representative took the stage. I found it to be offensive and separating. I was also appalled by the people who didn't stand when former President, then President G W Bush appeared. I urged the people around me to rise. Regardless of whether or not you agree with, or like the man, he at that time was still our president and he gave 8 years of his life to serve you. The cook might not be making what you like but be grateful for the fact that he's serving you at all. How many people can say that they've dedicated 8 years of their life to the greater good of man kind, made the toughest decisions known to man... Part of being an American is standing by the process and respecting our commander. Don't be an Obama patriot, be a patriot. Let bipartisanship die and represent this country united!"

The country has just witnessed the transition of power from one President to another. Although there were some things I did not agree with about Bush, I believe he had worked extremely hard these past 8 years and tried to keep the best interest of the country in mind. He has had to handle crises, changes, and criticism from millions of people worldwide. It is no doubt the toughest job in the world.
While I was on my mission in Argentina, the Iraq war broke out and brought with it much criticism towards George Bush and Americans. The anti-war sentiment was evident (especially at the medical school) and strong enough that I had to avoid part of my assigned area that contained the US embassy. As a missionary, I did not have access to newspapers, radio, or television, so I did not have much info on what was happening or swayed any direction by commentary from the political pundits. I did, however, have faith. When asked by people on the street how I felt about Bush, my response was simple and expressed in four words: "I pray for him."

And that is how I feel about our next president. There are things that I do not agree with about issues that he has proposed, but I do want him to succeed as a president. If he succeeds, then our country succeeds. I do want to support him and the rest of the leaders of this country. I don't think our country can progress with this sharp divide of bipartisanship that has crippled it in recent years. I do hope that Obama will do what is best for this country and serve it well. And I will strive to respect him for it.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

You know it's time to switch your emergency food supply when...

In my attempt to be recessionist chic (and hopefully avoid a trip to the grocery store) I decided to go through my emergency food supply, or mostly my 72-hour food supply that I have kept in my car. I actually had more food than I expected. Luckily, much of the food is high in preservatives but some I did have to toss because it was either questionable or just tasted bad. One kit had a suggested rotation of 2 years, but I suggest sooner. Yesterday I triple-dog dared myself to live off of the recommended "menu" of my 72 hour kit for a day. Here are some things that I learned as I completed this challenge and went through some of the other food that I kept for who knows how long.

You know it's time to switch your 72 hour food supply when:

*You wonder if your granola bars have fermented.
*Beef jerky is crunchy (or dissolves easily)
*Your Lipton noodle soup package has been infiltrated with the smell/taste of the wintergreen gum that was also in your kit. (Note: keep gum in a separate plastic bag). wintergreen + salt + chicken broth tastes really bad.
* Vanilla pudding has turned a weird shade of brown.
*Fruit cups say "Best Before September 2006". Enough said.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

This was a first...

It happened. It was only a moment, but I cannot take back a thought. I could have quickly replaced this thought with a song, a recent joke, name off cardio drugs, or recite the alphabet... but I didn't. It was out of frustration and impatience that this thought was born from. It was this:
"Why did today have to be a national holiday?"
Now don't get me wrong, I have nothing against MLK Day and I have NEVER once in my life took a holiday for granted. True, the post office would be closed and I could not mail off my bills as soon as I wanted to meet their deadlines. And the library was closed, so I had to go 36 hours without internet access. But it was when I thought another day would go by without hearing any progress from potential employers. The answer to whether I would be offered a certain job or not (the same job that I have gone through a 5 week+ application/wait/interview/wait/call to check on status/and wait another week). And there were those last (I really mean last) resumes that I sent out on Friday that I know would have no hope of being looked over until at least Tuesday. More waiting... I could also add the fact that some people may be in a post-innauguration day daze and may even find today to be an extended holiday and an excuse to not get anything done. Blast.

After this silent, mental rant I went on with my less-than productive day...

There must be some kind of penance for having a vile thought as this... I know it will come in the future when I do actually have to work a holiday. Forgive me, all ye employed readers who would give their left kidney for a day off!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I heart APL

Here's a good reason to love being a card-carrying library-goer at Arlington Public Library.
And it has nothing to do with the selection of books, because unfortunately, for a library, it's not that great. Luckily the La Sierra branch has a better selection.

It's the DVDs. Move over Hollywood Video, because you have some competition. Although there is not a huge selection, it has some decent videos - many that I haven't seen -- to satisfy my occasional audio-visual needs (I am still without a TV, so I settle for my laptop).
Recently I have watched:
"Beyond the Sea" - one of those musical bio-pics similar to "Ray"and "Walk the Line" profiling the life of Bobby Darrin. I have to admit Kevin Spacey does a pretty good job with the singing.
"Stranger than Fiction" - a pretty clever and decent movie as well and I liked Will Farrel's character.
I am not much of a movie reviewer, I just want to express my joy that there are some quality movies available to check out at the local public library.

And best of all: It is free!!!!!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Are you honkin' at me?

Dear girl in the silver sedan behind me at the In N' Out drive-thru,

I really don't know you, but I have to get this off my chest. You elicited a rare moment of anger in me today just by a simple act of rudeness. I know it is not entirely your fault. It seemed to me that you are quite young and on the cusp of adulthood; so may I, as one of your elders, proceed to give you a brief lesson in old fashioned civility.

So here was the setting: I was well aware that the line at In N' Out, just outside the parking lot of Walmart, at 5 pm on a Saturday night was not the most desired place to be. And I expected, as it did, to take 25 minutes of waiting before I could get my food and head back home. I went through all of this because I love my parents. And I love In N' Out...and I was hungry...but mostly because I love my parents and it was my last errand of the day. My previous errand was not a happy one, as I received some bad news as I looked at my bank account balance. Not too happy about it. You caught me at a very bad time. Nevertheless, I was keeping my cool about the whole drive-thru traffic issue. The line of cars inched forward and I held back a brief moment to let the customer in Jiffy Lube get out of their lot so they would not be trapped in by hungry fast food fanatics. It may not be known to some people outside of California, but the thought of In N' Out employs some weird mind control over hungry consumers that may make them totally oblivious to their surroundings as they focus on the sole thought of a Double-Double dripping with spread and caramelized onions. Perhaps you were under that same control. A nano-second after Jiffy Lube customer passed, you let out a few honks.
Were you about to hit me? Were you about to be car jacked? Was someone about to hit you? Did you pass out from hypoglycemia and hit your head on the steering wheel? I highly doubt it, as I saw you still bopping along with your friend and big smile on your face. May this be a lesson to you: Not only is unnecessary honking your horn rude, but it's dangerous also. It may startle a driver and either a. cause them to slam on their gas and hit the car in front of them, or b. give them a heart attack (a little exaggerated, but it could happen).
Anger is not something that happens much to me, but I think your impatience was the straw that almost broke the camels back. I actually did think about getting out of my car and confronting you personally (we were only nudging along every three or four minutes, I had time), but as quickly as my flash of boiled emotions came, they disappeared.

A while ago I heard the advice to treat everyone as if they were going through something traumatic in their life, and you would be right 50% of the time. I think if dealing with teenagers, you would be right 95% of the time. And while I don't consider my situation traumatic, you did just happen to be behind me during a bad moment of my day. And on the reverse, I could imagine that maybe you have only 6 hours left to live and, wanting your last meal on earth to be a double-double with animal style fries and a real-ice cream neopolitan shake, I would not blame you for being a little impatient. We all have our lives, our schedules, and our issues. Maybe we just need to give that benefit of the doubt to others who may annoy us or offend us. We haven't walked in their shoes, and I'm sure we wouldn't want to. And in the end, we will all get our food, head home, our fries will grow cold, and we will still enjoy it -- forgetting that long line and that extra 2 seconds of the car waiting ahead of us.

Your elder,

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Parable of the Windshield

The New Year is always a time of self-analysis and resolutions. A couple years ago I came up with an an analogy based upon a simple windshield repair experience. I thought in the effort to be more Christ-like this year (but not to be sacrilegious) I thought I would turn it into a parable. I was going to save it for a talk in church, but I figured now would be a decent time as well. Please feel free to leave any insights into this analogy.

The Book of Jennette

1. Behold, a certain traveler, who had much commute, beheld some chips and a small crack in the windshield of her Corolla.

2. For the Corolla, being of much dependability, nevertheless, having traveled on diverse roads, sustained some minor damages.

3. And the traveler did ignore the damages, for she had little time and money.

4. And it came to pass on one hot, late spring day, the traveler had noticed the crack suddenly increased in size, yea, even longer than half the length of the windshield. And the traveler was grieved. Yea, she cried, I have a road trip of 2 weeks to embark upon soon, and I do fear much the highway patrol or that some greater damage may come upon my car.

5. And she did seek out the great book of information. Yea, a book of much wisdom, thickness and whose pages were of yellow.

6. And she came upon an ad that promised repair of very little cost. And the traveler rejoiced.

7. And the traveler journeyed unto a strange land, yea, even unto the boonies of Fontana.

8. And the repair man said unto the traveler: "Verily, Verily, I say unto you, I behold your cracked windshield and I exhort thee to replace it, yea, even the entire windshield. For the crack is very large and is beyond repair." And this did grieve the traveler much.

9. Nevertheless, the traveler had been blessed with means to repair her windshield, yea, even her financial aid, for she had spent it carefully. And she was also blessed to have a book for which to pass away the time as she waited upon a couch of much age.

10. And after much time had passed, she beheld her car with it's new windshield, yea, and also pieces of tape that were of bright blue. And the traveler rejoiced, for her view was much clearer and magnificent than she could remember, and she went forth on her journey...

Points learned...

When I was younger, I started driving with my parents around the empty parking lots of the church and park. These were the safest areas to drive. But as I got older, life took me on some roads that were a little harsh. Sometimes it was the road itself: potholes, construction zones, and other times it was other vehicles on the road, semi-trailers and cement trucks flinging matter into the air, only to chip at my paint and windshield. I learned that it's best to keep a greater distance from these vehicles...
Often these little chips and cracks will get bigger due to certain forces. Sometimes we forget to roll the windows up and heat builds up on the inside, causing sudden enlargements of the cracks in our windshield. Our windows, as necessary as they are sometimes, may also become barriers to things that are good. Guidance and inspiration are as necessary and wonderful as fresh air. Hot, stuffy air needs to be let out, just like our worries, anxieties, mistakes, bad habits, etc..., or it can do some damage.
When we begin to analyze these cracks, it may not be easy at first. We may have to go places that we don't want to go to or experience things that might make us feel uncomfortable. Often, changes, or the process of changing, may be outwardly visible to others, like the bright blue tape that holds the windshield on for the next 72 hours. While it may be a little uncomfortable or embarrassing, it is only for a moment and will eventually be forgotten. But when all is said and done -- the fears have been faced, the changes made, the price has been paid -- our view of life will be clearer and more beautiful than ever.
So, what chips and cracks do we have to repair, or remove completely from our lives? Is it a sin, a bad habit, or any other weakness that we need to overcome? A grudge that we have to let go? I hope everyone has a happier new year that brings more peace, clarity, and beauty to their lives.