Saturday, July 17, 2021

The Long Haul

The employment situation in Key West is bleak and in my job we are as understaffed as anyone. We have three dispatchers for day shift where we are supposed to have at least six and at night we will shortly be down to two. Even though we have police officers, former dispatchers, assigned to help, the situation is critical until the latest batch of trainees finish training this Fall.
The net result will be three weeks scheduled without a day off which is my way of saying I will run out of pictures and words before long, probably even before I run out of brain cells. So if this page gets stuck don't be surprised. I hope that by mid August I will get a day off or two and normal certainty will be resumed.
Rusty will get his walks though I expect my wife will be picking up the slack there a bit. I try to vary the photographs between town and country but that may not be in the cards. I shall post what I have, but whatever shortcomings appear on this page has everything to do with too much work and nothing to do with anything else. I enjoy walking Rusty and taking pictures. It is my stress release.
I am not surprised when I walk into Circle K to get some milk for my tea and find the place filled with half empty boxes. There aren't enough people to staff the checkout and unload the new stock. Hotels are desperate for staff and are trying to find ways to automate processes we have become used to being carried out by humans. Even to schedule a colonoscopy (getting stuff done while I have work insurance which covers every cost!) I had to fill out a giant questionare on line. No more sitting in a waiting room scribbling on a clip board. Understaffing is the new normal in every line of work and apparently not just in the Keys.
Finding people in this employment climate who want a job that requires sitting still for twelve hours and needs the ability to stay calm in crisis after crisis after crisis is no easy matter. It takes six to nine months to train someone suitable and the process isn't made easier with understaffing already taking a bite out of the energy required to train new people. 
I had a conversation with someone half my age who advised me the old work parameters no longer apply. A job is an anchor for a couple of years, working from home is preferred and commitment is limited and not terribly important. I think that was what he was saying and I liked none of it.
I guess my old fuddy duddy pleasure at having a secure job with benefits while doing something useful is out of date. I can actually see why retirement is so important. Things change, generations change and I feel horribly out of date in this work place of new attitudes. It is time I disappeared.
But not until some replacements are trained and seated. Someone needs to be ready in 260 days because I will be ready to slide on out.
Meanwhile I will keep on keeping on and under these circumstances my life shrinks down to sleeping, walking Rusty and showing up at my desk. Playing with words will be a secondary concern for a couple of weeks I fear. I don't like living like this but it is temporary I hope, though as we have seen life intervenes sometimes spectacularly and without warning.
I am ready to expect the unexpected, I know plans can unravel or be unraveled by twists of fate, but you have to keep planning. The plan is to get through our worker shortage with my mind intact. 
A camera, a walk, a surprise along the way.
Looking for the beauty in unlikely places.

August promises to be brutal around here! Enjoy yours and take a vacation while you can. I will rest later.