Sunday, March 2, 2008

Coming Forward and a Disturbing Trend

I was getting ready to leave work last night when I got into a conversation with Rob. We were reminiscing about the maneuvering he did for me as my union rep when I came forward with my medical/headache condition a few years ago. Rob was commenting on how it was much better that we took care of that back then than to try and do it now in view of today's environment within the FAA. I agreed. I then told him that the headaches are back and that I was very worried that should I come forward again so soon after having my medical reinstated that I could easily lose it for good. I told him I felt I had no other choice than to say nothing about this latest phase and allow it to run its course. He disagreed.

I came home with all sorts of thoughts to work through. I prayed. In the end, I decided that I really did need to come forward and let whatever happens, happen. My biggest concern is with the Regional Flight Surgeon who would hold my career in his hands. From speaking with Craig, my union president, our Flight Surgeon is fairly new in the position and can be very difficult to work with. This could so easily be the beginning of the end of my career. There's a real possibility that I've issued my last clearance for all I know and that would greatly sadden me. All I want to do is sit in the sector and work traffic. I'm not cut out for a desk job pushing papers, but I will if that's what it takes to remain with the agency until I'm ready to retire in five years.

I went to bed after 2:00am and got up just after 5:00am not able to sleep. When Tammy woke up I told her of my intentions to have them pull my medical. She agreed that that's what I should do. She knows the risks. She's got a beautiful faith and she's fine with giving it to God and knowing that He won't let us down. Maybe it's time I try to stop forcing this square peg into the too-small round opening and follow Tammy's lead. What will be will be. I keep thinking that I'm giving up control but I need to remember that I'm not in control. He is.

I phoned work this morning and told them that my headaches are back and that I was going back on my medication. I also said that I'd be happy to come in and do whatever work they may have for me. My supervisor called me at home and reassured me that there was plenty of work to keep me busy for quite a while and not to worry. That's great news but I'm quite sure I'll continue to worry. Oh, ye of little faith.

There's a trend in my family which doesn't bode well for me. A few years from retirement my father had the rug pulled out from under him. The division he managed for Control Data was bought out by a company called VTC. My father was swallowed up in the acquisition and shortly thereafter was terminated. He never recovered emotionally or financially. My older brother developed some medical issues and had to leave the corporate world before he'd intended to. I'm not sure how his retirement faired but I'd guess that his plans were to continue working longer if he could. And Jerry, a few years shy of his retirement was terminated from his management position at Qwest in addition to seeing his retirement savings diminished in the devaluing of Qwest's stock. He was able to find work again in his field but the transition caused a lot of stress for his family. I'm eligible to retire should I have to but my plans have always been to stay until age 56; another 5 years.

I have a foreboding feeling that I'm following in footsteps all too familiar to my family and I don't like where they lead. I pray that God will allow me to finish out my working days with the FAA.

It will be an interesting couple of weeks as I work to get off the meds and assure the Flight Surgeon that I'm fit to continue in my job as a Controller.

Speaking of jobs—Tammy is on her own today for the first time in her new position as a phone nurse working for United Health Group. She's excited but nervous about being thrown into the deep end with just a few weeks of training. I felt bad as she left today knowing that she had a lot on her mind and that I was adding to her stress level with my situation. I'm looking forward to sitting down with her at the end of today to compare notes.

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