Thursday, March 30, 2006

weak cop, mad cop

Thanks for all the comments and advice, both Trader Joe's related and otherwise. I have talked with a few people about our situation with Georgia, and all of them have responded resoundingly in the vein of WHAT IS SHE, CRAZY? and that we would be equally crazy to just give in to such strong arm tactics. Joe has gotten quite heated about the whole thing (I have forced him to "let me handle it," because I'm afraid of what might come out of his mouth were he in charge of such negotiations), and I really can't figure out what is making him more angry. Certainly, her matter-of-fact approach to demanding a huge raise is part of it (leaving her guidelines on the answering machine and such does not facilitate good vibrations from our end), but I think that the other part of it is that at the end of the day, Georgia's take home pay will be equal or more than either of ours, making it actually a financial liability for both of us to be working while paying for someone to watch out kid. Which, you know, we kind of anticipated might happen at some point--we don't make all that much money as residents, and our working now is more of an investment in potential future income--but lord, the years and years we've spent getting to this point in our careers. I should get a T-shirt printed up: I passed Step 3 of the Boards, and all I got was this stupid tiny paycheck. Oh, to pay your nanny more than you yourself get paid; it hurts the pride and it hurts the bank account.

Joe is Bad Cop and I am Good Cop. Or at least Weak Cop. I hate, hate, hate this kind of thing. Financial haggling, deals, contracts. Why must we talk about money? I hate money! Can't we just work on a barter system? Say, you take care of Cal, and I give you, uh, a wheel of cheese. I am non-confrontational and I just want this all to go away, and this makes me want to just give in and say, FINE, JUST TAKE THE DAMN MONEY AND LET'S GO BACK TO THE WAY THINGS WERE. HAPPY FACE! But it has been brought up by our many financial advisors (read: Joe's parents) that if we just give in to these demands, we may make the problem go away in the immediacy, but we're just setting ourselves up in the long run for more and more demands, at greater and greater cost. So we can't just roll over and surrender. We have to fight back a little, even if it give me great pain and stress, just to show that we can't be dictated the terms of our own employee's contract.

Also, we have started talking about a Plan B. Plan B is hiring a new nanny. Probably a live-in-type person. If Joe does a fellowship, he will be on call 50% of the time (I know, I KNOW) and I will be a third-year anesthesia resident at that point, meaning that my calls will get significantly more arduous. Perhaps if we change ships midstream, it just makes more sense to get one of those...uh...bigger ships with living quarters in them. I don't know. The metaphor just broke down for me too. But anyway, I have to explore this possibility a little bit more. It's not much of a Plan B if it's only theoretical, after all. And I have to have a talk with Georgia about this whole pay raise thing on Tuesday after work. (I'm on call Monday night, so I probably won't get a chance to see her.) She will definitely be getting a raise after a year, that is only fair, but it's the amount of the raise that we still have to hash out. And we have to establish that the idea of getting a 10% raise at six months and then another 10% raise after a year (her original stated position) is, frankly, ludicrous. Argh. HATE. THIS. This is why I'm not in any field remotely related to money. Can't the billing office just take care of all of this and I just go about my business?

* * *

So Joe is going to be Chief Resident next year. Did I mention that before? Probably not, because he's SHY. But now I'm just going to tell everyone. Hail to the Chief. I always knew he had it in him. Because of his smartness. Also, he's bossy.

So anyway, those in medical training and beyond know that Chief Resident, while a beautiful shiny title, is largely a thankless job, and as the resident-administration liaison you basically act as the conduit for all complaints and problems from anyone, anywhere, ever. You have a lot more administrative duties but you don't get paid more, but at the end of the day, you get to say that you were CHIEF RESIDENT your senior year, which, I'm sure, is the one thing you'd want to cling to on your deathbed. I'm acting all cynical about it because I know what a crap job it can be, but really, I'm very proud of him. He's el jefe.

The one other perk that the ophthalmology department at [University Hospital] apparently offers its Chiefs is a subsidized laptop computer. I haven't heard of this in other departments (in Peds, I think the perks of Chief summed up to a jar of Tootsie Rolls and access to the departmental Xerox machine copy code) but I can really get behind this perk that the ophtho department offers, because, woo, free laptop! Joe just received his laptop hot off the assembly line a couple of days ago, and has been messing with it ever since. I'm all like, we can take it with us on vacation and watch movies on the plane! We can actually use our wireless internet access and I can surf the web for unattractive Britney Spears pictures while sitting on the sofa! Or update my website in bed! Yay, new laptop! But Joe keeps wanting to do boring stuff with it, like scheduling, and Power Point. He sucks.

But don't tell him that I said that he sucks. Now that he's the Chief, he may have the power to have me destroyed.

Currently reading: "Wimbledon Green." Did you see that Seth drew the cover of the Style Issue of The New Yorker? Good stuff.