After 20 years, 7 months, and 22 days… yesterday was my last day working at TransCare.
Most people, upon learning that I had made this decision, would ask two questions which I often found hard to fully explain… so I figured I’d do what I love and blog about it here.
The first question was, “Why?” but there is no easy way to answer that. Honestly this has been on my mind since the middle of June, so it wasn’t a rash decision. I’m not one of those guys who is going to say, “I quit!” everytime I didn’t get my way (which was WAY more often than most people suspect). Words only mean so much, action means more. If I say I’m going to do something, I’m going to do it. I say what I mean and I do what I say.
Recent developments, differing opinions, unintentional transgressions, and what I perceive to be an acute imbalance really propelled me to submit this letter of resignation to TransCare:
September 18, 2015
Dear Ms. Rose and current TransCare Upper Management,
With this letter I am giving notice that I resign my position as the Director of Special Operations and am ending my employment with TransCare to be effective October 6, 2015, with my last day of work being October 5, 2015.
I believe I have worked here long enough to understand its culture and its people, and I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic, vicious, apathetic, destructive, hostile and without any real direction as I have ever known it to be previously. As someone who is naturally competitive I intimately understand the desire to win, however unlike others in this organization, I am not willing to win at the expense of those who are supposedly working towards the same goal as I am by undermining them or punishing those who report to them as has been done to me. That is neither productive nor conducive to a positive work environment for a company who’s primary product is as a service provider, and that is not an environment I wish to be exposed to any longer. There are many things that I can list to illustrate all that I have said above, but I don’t think that’s necessary. I think that if you are truly honest with yourselves, you will have noted the same or similar conditions and know that this is not an uncommon perspective to currently have of the company.
When I started at Metropolitan Ambulance (which would be acquired by TransCare in 1999) it was simply to earn money for college doing something I was already doing as a volunteer. Over time my reasoning for continuing with the company on the career path evolved and changed. During the course of the last 20 years, 7 months, and 4 days I have been very fortunate to have met, worked beside, and become friends with absolutely amazing people who are the TRUE reason I have remained where I am until today.
No matter if it was Artie Becker, Leo Marquez, Al Kim, Evan Mintzer, Jim O’Connor, Doug Key, or Rob Stuck, I have always been fortunate to have bosses that were both understanding about my unique personality and appreciated my efforts in making “magic” happen for the company and its clients. I have been lucky to have been able to work alongside the likes of Roberta Jackson, Yelena Serbinenko, Jeff Ellis, Teddy Mitsinikos, Kenny Kriska, Jay Robbins, and of course Ms. Dawn Rose who (contrary to popular belief) I have the utmost respect for and hold in the highest esteem.
Whether it was Woodstock 1999, the Latrobe Country Fair in 2000, the 2003 blackout, responding to New Orleans post-Hurricane Katrina and re-establishing the Sabine County 911 system from a picnic table post-Hurricane Rita in 2005, the evacuation of Bellevue Hospital and the extended 911 operations in Long Beach NY post-Super Storm Sandy, or the marathon sessions of the US Open in 2014 and most recently 2015, the experiences and opportunities afforded to me by TransCare have been vast, enriching, and successes that I will always be proud of the contribution I was able to bring. Yet the successes I’ve enjoyed during my time at TransCare is not something I can take credit for alone.
It is important to recognize that every supervisor, manager, director, vice-president, and even president rely on others to help them succeed in their mission or attain their goals and too often are given or take the credit that is not entirely theirs. As I explain in orientation, EMS is not a one man show but truly a team effort. Whether it was Michelle O’Reilly and Melina Jelcic in Brooklyn Operations on the weekends; Elsie Torres and Jared Ring in Mt. Vernon Operations; Evan Mintzer and Trish Maiorana back in Brooklyn Operations on the weekends; Gary Biscuiti, Clemente Jenkins, and Shawn Moran in Dispatch; Wendy Lewis, Dettra Downs, Margo Jackson, Maryanne Sawyer, Bryan Gillison, and Ricky Rowe in Brooklyn Operations; Azure Freeman, Regina Ambroise, and Kathleen Hunte in Dispatch; Helena Clay, Dayana Guzman, and Melanie Aarseth in Manhattan Operations; and most recently having been very fortunate and blessed to have Venessa Barbosa, Maria Marrero, and Julia Villa guiding me in the Special Operations Division; I am forever indebted to them all for their support, effort, what they taught me, and for putting up with my often eccentric and occasionally absolutely unruly ways. There are others I could still name, but the list would be long, illustrious, and would result in something along the line of War and Peace in page count.
As a notoriously habitual planner with an intimate knowledge of the fragility of life itself, I have developed a succession plan to ensure a smooth transition and the success of the Division when I would be gone under any circumstance. Jay Robbins has the leadership and operational intuition to lead the division forward as its overall Director. Maria Marrero has the operational knowledge, has been trained in the majority of the administrative processes, and given the tools to administrate in my absence as the Division’s Manager. Together, I have the utmost faith and trust in them to be successful where even I have faltered. I know they will serve the Division and the company as a whole well, should the Company decide to execute on this plan. I would request that this notice be kept confidential until after the Papal visit scheduled for September 25, 2015. I would prefer my crew focused on the task at hand without the added stress of wondering what their future will hold after October 5th.
I ask that I be paid out the Paid Time Off that is owed to me, and any outstanding expenses that have yet to be reimbursed. Undoubtedly our paths will cross in the future and I look forward to the possibility of being able to work with everyone again to make “it” happen (whatever “it” may be).
Thank you for everything.
The Question I Wish They Would Have Asked
The question I wish people would have asked instead of “Why?” was “Why not?”
Only one person (in their own way) asked me that question and it actually gave me pause on whether or not to do this. It’s simple really, and I posted a bunch of the reasons of why I possibly shouldn’t on Facebook this past week…
… and there are more… but the only reason to stay would be the amazing people I work with. For that matter if all I had to do was deal with the amazing ones and the patients, I’d undoubtedly still be there.
Unfortunately though, as a Director, I live in two worlds. The world of the provider (who all these people are) and the world of the administrator… which is where the aforementioned environment existed. What’s worse is that I feel the toxicity is starting to trickle down from the top. I saw it in other divisions, and I caught myself two or three times starting to slip into that pit of apathy.
For a long time I have constantly made choices and decisions based on the needs of others. This is the first one in a long time where I’ve put myself first, and honestly it was not an easy decision in the end to make because I
do did have one of the best crews to work with.
The second question was “What are you going to do?” which isn’t easy to answer either… or it may be too easy to answer depending on how you want to look at it.
Right now, as this post goes live, I’m sleeping.
Tomorrow I take a trip to Steel City for a few days to be with old friends from the days when I wrote the orange blog, meet some new people, and just unwind from what was a pretty long, tedious, and draining year.
When I get back next week… well… then I’ll have time to sit down and actually decide. Do I go with Plan A? What about Plan B? I could go Plan C… but I’d REALLY like to go with Plan D even though it involves a Powerball number on a ticket I find on the street corner which is the unlikeliest plan to actually come to fruition. So yes, even though I don’t know which one I’m going with, I have a couple. I mean really… my career has been spent planning for the worst and hoping for the best… so if anyone actually believed I didn’t have a plan from jump, then obviously you neither truly know me nor understand what it is that I actually do.
How will you know what I choose? Oh don’t worry… I’ll announce it… Wyatt Earp style right here… so that you can be the one to tell them I’m coming… and hell’s coming with me, you hear?*
Wherever that may be.
Until then… be well… and if you want to help support me and my coffee habit… go buy my books and spread the word.