I am a minor bureaucrat in a smallish department of a large local government organization. I am not particularly fond of my job. It is not exciting. I show up each day, do what I can, and leave at the end of the day without a thought or worry about what tomorrow may bring. Nothing will change.

However, at this point in time I am happy to have my job. I make a decent salary, though I would make more if I were to do a similar job in the private sector. I am happy about my job because of the excellent benefits that are offered as a tradeoff for lower pay. I have very good health insurance.

Annette is currently in a small, clean rehabilitative hospital in a private room. She is receiving excellent around the clock care. This is all because of my health insurance. I shudder to think where Annette might be if I didn’t have this insurance.

Of course, because I work for government,  I am subject to the problems of bureaucracy. When I originally submitted my Family Medical Leave Act paperwork to the Human Resources Division, it was rejected because the doctor who signed my forms dated it incorrectly. I was instructed to resubmit a new set of forms. The date could not be corrected.

This led to me having to deal with the bureaucracy of the hospital, which itself is another headache. Dealing with these things might be a simple annoyance under normal circumstances; under the circumstances I was dealing with it was a nightmare. I did eventually get it all straightened out. All it took was for me to set up an appointment with the doctor who had originally signed my paperwork. It took me several weeks and many lost copies of the forms to figure this out.

My coworkers have been very supportive. One day I realized that all of the people in my division were gathered behind me. It took me a minute to notice this. Turns out that they wanted to present me with a card signed by everyone in my division, a flower arrangement for Annette, a couple of gift certificates and some cash. I was overwhelmed, very surprised, and deeply appreciative.

Mercifully, people at work don’t ask too many questions. Some ask more than others, depending either on how long I have known them or their own gregariousness and/or curiosity. They know my daughter is seriously hurt and they know I am navigating a stressful situations. That, it seems, is enough for them to know to leave me to my work. Another thing for which I am thankful.

About Leo

Leo Barrera Expert at dealing with conflict. Grim, determined, a little chaotic, a threat to good order. Veteran. Chicano. Husband. Father. Writer. Photographer. Gardener.
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