I guess I just need to vent for a moment, so if anyone is not in the mood, feel free to skip this post!! It won't take long. I try not to be political in my blog, and this isn't blatantly political, but some might feel it's hedging on it.
I don't know if most of you know, but I'm self employed and have a private practice as a mental health therapist. When I lived in San Diego, I made pretty good money and since people generally have money in that area, I didn't have to deal with insurance companies and took cash pay clients only. But, I made a decision to move to a more rural setting on my little 5 acres where I was happier and took a chance with private practice in an area that was socio-economically depressed and has a low population. My days of cash pay are over, and I happily decided to apply to all the insurance panels and jump through their hoops to receive much lower pay with a lot more paperwork.
The last 6 months have been hard. Really hard. Some clients up here can't even make their copay. Some clients, because they are in a lot of chaos in their life, no-show on me/their appointment and then don't return calls when I attempt to collect the fee for them cancelling without notice. I see some people for a very low fee or almost no fee because I like to have a couple pro bono spots and like to help those who are in need when I can.
A disturbing part of my private practice are on some kind of public assistance or trying to get on public assistance. I have nothing against this when needed. I've had people come to see me just because they wanted me to fill out paperwork so they could get disability. Most of these people that I encounter, with some exceptions, are cheating the system. They are able minded and able bodied people who just don't want to work. That, too, is frustrating.
So, I'm doing my best to keep my financial head above water. The last 6 months have been tougher. So, here's my real rant. I got a summons for jury duty last week. "Oh, my", I thought. "There is no way I can go to jury duty - I can't afford to lose any time working". Keep in mind, as a therapist, I can't hire anyone while I'm gone and it's just money I don't earn and I have no way to recoup it. I'm mean, I'm scraping together the mortgage these days! It's tough. So, I fill out my form the county sent me and under the excuse section, I apply for an excuse based on the fact I'm self employed and am on the edge myself financially and am not able in my work to have someone fill my spot. I got a card back from the county yesterday in the mail and it read, "SAN BERNARDINO NO LONGER EXCUSED THOSE WHO ARE SELF EMPLOYED". What? In this economy? Are you kidding me?
It really seems like those who are trying to make it on their own (not just self employed, but anyone) have it harder. Sometimes I just get frustrated and pouty and feel like those who don't want to do much get a lot back from the almighty government, but those who try and be self sufficient are having a much a harder time. So, what am I supposed to do? Here I have to give up a day of work which is REALLY going to hurt me (I haven't taken a vacation in over 6 years aside from an extended weekend), and with Christmas, property taxes, quarterly self employment taxes approaching, this is not good. And, I would most likely not make my mortgage payment if I got picked for a jury! I know that if I were myself, I would be picked for a jury. So, do I go in there and lie to preserve my financial state? "Hi, I am trying to move out of California because I think the system sucks here (well, that part isn't a lie) and I think the problem is all the Mexicans, blacks and gays and white trash." Well, that would cover most groups up here, I think and would most definitely get me out of jury duty. But, how creepy is that? I can just imagine it then - the jury person (the court is just a few miles away) goes around telling the locals that the mental health therapist in town is really a bigot.
So, I'm angry and scared right now. I'm angry at the system that they don't make exceptions for those who are self employed and can't work otherwise. I'm angry that in this economy they recently CHANGED their policy and only now don't make exceptions for self employed. I'm angry that I pay a lot of taxes and don't ask my government for anything and when I really need some understanding, I'm not given it. I'm scared cause financially I'm in a tough spot and this is gonna make it really tough.
So, that's my rant. Am I out of line here? Any thoughts? Argh....!!