The frustration finally got to me. Last week I met with my Commander to discuss what we can do to reduce my workload. His first question, "Aside from giving you another body; what can we do to reduce your workload?"
My thoughts, "Um, stop the war, sir. Oh, wait, that would be the President's job. Why don't you call him? Ass wipe."
My actual response, "My work load is beyond my control, sir, & is only going to increase as the DoD continues to look at the disability system. Without another person to assist me, I will not be able to decrease my workload."
His response, "So, you have no suggestions to decrease your workload. Okay, well, then I guess we're through here."
The DoD says that I shouldn't have more than 20 open disability cases at any time. I have 50.
I began to think long & hard about this "meeting." This showed a lack of support from my leadership; whom until now, I mostly respected. The week was rough. Very busy. And very frustrating as I'm starting to deal with more people that are "really sick.*"
This morning I told my flight non-commissioned officer in charge (NCOIC) that I was leaving. That I have had enough. I don't know what happened but within minutes my commander was standing in my doorway asking how I am doing.
I held no punches. I told him that I have had enough. He asked why & I laid it all out. Told him that he had shown me exactly the kind of support I could be looking forward to having as my workload increased. That the only thing that was going to decrease my workload was exactly the one thing that he said I would never get--a body to assist me. I also told him my "stop the war" comment. That struck a nerve with him--I saw the switch from, "seriously, what can I do to help?" to "you just crossed a line." Fuck that. I don't care anymore.
He asked me when I am leaving for my surgery--22 May is my last day of work. He then told me to put together an "action plan" outlining what kind of help I needed.
One of the things that I have been fighting to have happen is to be able to go out to a base-wide Commander's meeting to address them & brief them on their part in the disability process. I get a lack of response from them & believe it's because they don't understand their part of the process. I believe that if the importance of their input was explained they may be more responsive.
I've been shot down more than once. I told him this. He told me that would happen before I leave for my surgery. Um, hello? I have 9 working days. We'll see. I'm not holding my breath.
Later in morning I told my flight commander that I was taking my convalescent leave and when I returned would stay for two weeks but that would be it. She was shocked--as though she didn't see my frustration level increasing.
"I just came to ask you to go to Col Anderson's (our commander's commander) office for a recognition presentation. Will you go with me?"
I looked at her and told her no. She asked if I was serious. I said that I was. That to be recognized today after the shitty way I've been treated was a joke. Too little too late. She asked what she should tell them about why I wasn't there. I told her that she should quote me, "Too little too late."
Several people have tried to talk me into staying-including my boss. "Would you stay if they gave you a bigger office?" PLEASE! As if an office is going to relieve some of the workload or frustration level. But there have been some real, "please don't go," comments.
The thing is, I do believe that they are sincere when they say that they don't think the clinic could cope without me. But we all know that no one is irreplaceable.
I did put an action plan together. Number one on my list--give me a part-time assistant to run copies, pick up medical records, send faxes, book inconsequential appointments for Guard/Reserve members that would not otherwise be eligible for medical treatment except that he/she was injured in the line of duty. This stuff takes a lot of my time. I can spend 3 hours a week standing at the copier. Yes, really.
I will send it to LtCol Cole on Monday. But I won't hold my breath. The biggest hope for me would be that if I really do end up leaving (& right now I REALLY REALLY REALLY think I will); my action plan would make it better for the next person to do this job.