Besides stepping back from the pen and paper for the past few months, I have been hard at work organizing my personal and professional life. If responsible parenting and home ownership doesn't qualify me for adulthood, my recent decision to change my employment situation should win me some points. In some aspects, it was nothing more than a responsible business decision, but for the most part, it was an opportunity to grow.
Since I sprouted my EMT wings at 18, I have kept immersed in EMS through my employment at North Adams Ambulance and Village Ambulance in Williamstown.
However, my main gig has been working full time in North Adams for a few reasons. Despite hearing frequent gripes about the city, I love it and plan to keep my roots where they are. I enjoy responding to homes in my own town. I also was given a few opportunities by North Adams Ambulance to explore the career in my earlier years, so they have remained my main outfit.
It was nothing personal against Williamstown - I still worked a part-time schedule, but I stuck to my guns. It hit me last year that I was disappointed with the career path I was on. With a degree geared towards EMS and business, and with a desire for success, I was at a crossroads. I went to work, checked my truck, responded to calls, wrote my reports and went home. I approached my manager about prospects he could place me in, but there was unfortunately no place for me.
As it is in smaller EMS systems, promotions are often internal and hard to come by. Looking at my rank against those who had been there longer, it was evident that I was much lower on the totem pole. I let my failed efforts get the best of me and ended up in a petty mentality, in my opinion.
During this time, Village was going through an improvement phase, which made me wonder if maybe it was time for a change. These thoughts felt nearly adulterous because of my commitment to my full time job. Ultimately, I gave into temptation and was made head of the vacant continuous quality improvement department in Williamstown in the spring. Not many people enjoy the tedious work of picking little errors or ensuring that everyone is following protocols, but I couldn't wait.
Not long after, a staff email circulated in Williamstown - a new position as director of training and education was up for grabs. I felt like this was a juncture in my short career, but was hesitant on the imminent change. I would be insane if I turned this down, but the thought of taking on more than I could handle tinkered with my thoughts. I liked my shifts and had in the back of my mind the promise that something similar would be available down the road. I had heard this more than once and deep down felt a little resentment that I was only a field medic.
I was cognizant of my afflictions and had to put those aside: North Adams had nothing against me - they just didn't have anything for me right now. I put my big girl britches on, typed up my resume and handed it into my boss in Williamstown. Since the job description was hot off the press, there were details that needed to be worked out. I also began typing up a letter explaining my resignation as a full-time employee in North Adams. It was bittersweet but taken well by management in North Adams, which provided me much relief.
After a few months, I am still learning the ropes, but am beginning to feel more comfortable showing up in heels and working on my agenda rather than on a truck. As part of my new role, I am organizing new-hire scheduling, orientation, trainings and developing a field training officer program. I also will coordinate continuing education classes and am getting my feet wet with teaching. Our EMT basic program began this September, and instructing has so far been gratifying.
My choice has been a difficult, but wise career move and I am not ashamed to admit that I feel I have grown as an employee. There is always room for improvement and having a role in administrative leadership has created a deeper work ethic. I look forward to exploring the challenges of this title and adding a little more life to my career.
Kaitlyn Kline is the director of training and education for Village Ambulance in Williamstown. Beyond the work she does, it is her goal through this column to educate the community through her resources, knowledge and continuous learning experiences.