My mind is a dangerous place. Make sure you wear a cup.

Monday, March 06, 2006

What the hell do I do all day?

This post will not contain any sexual references, sarcasm, snarkiness, wittiness, or cleverness.

Not to worry. It won’t be long until I will be returning to my comfort zone.

As you know, I am all about the sexual innuendo, the biting sarcasm, the witty bon mots, the snide asides, and the off color humor. But I’m very serious about my job. I mean, I have as much fun as I can at it, but I never lose sight of how important it is that we take care of business.

I’ll try to keep this fairly short. If we were talking over lunch about this I could go for two hours on the topic.

In the twenty five or so years I have been a responsible, productive member of society I have mainly worked in four sectors: retail, wholesale, finance, and blood banking.

In 2000 I was completely burned out with secondary finance. I saw in the paper that LifeSouth needed a donor recruiter. Donor recruiters are the folks who organize the blood drives, get the word out in the community about the blood drives, work with local sponsors and media, and plan special promotions and events. In short, it is the job of a donor recruiter to motivate and education enough people to donate blood to meet the needs of the hospitals we supply. LifeSouth supplies blood components to more than 120 hospitals and medical facilities in Florida, Alabama, and Georgia. We are headquartered here in Gainesville Florida, and we have 15 regions:

Florida: Gainesville, Lake City, Palatka, Ocala, Lecanto, and Brooksville
Alabama: Birmingham, Montgomery, Opelika, Dothan, Huntsville, Albertville, and Decatur
Georgia: Atlanta and Gainesville

Anyway, I got the job as the donor recruiter for Levy, Dixie, and Gilchrist counties. And I was a good recruiter, maybe not the best, but pretty damn good. I made goal, and that’s what counted. And it was so great to be able to go home at the end of the day and know that what I was doing made a difference in people’s lives. Now instead of seeing people at their worst as I tried to collect money from them, every day I got to see people at their best: giving freely of themselves to help those in need, people that in most cases they would never even meet.

After about a year, I wanted to do more, and I was promoted to the recruitment manager position. The Gainesville branch has the largest goal in the system, and I remain very proud of the fact that we made goal every single quarter while I was in that position.

And then after two years I was promoted to my current position, in the corporate office, as the corporate manager of donor recruitment. There is nowhere to go from here, really. I don’t have a technical background. And I don’t really have any desire to return to operations. Recruitment is the only non technical area in blood banking. So, I’m a one trick pony, but it’s a trick I do well, and I’ll do it as long as they want me to.

It’s a tough gig, though. Every single week we need about 5,500 donors to walk into one of our centers or step onto one of our blood mobiles. Only then can we meet the normal needs of our hospitals. We fall short more weeks than we succeed. It’s a constant battle.

Corporate recruitment is also responsible for our telerecruiting efforts in setting appointments for platelet donors. Luckily I have Sharra and Dawn to head up our efforts there, and they do a fabulous job. But we always need More! More! More!

Don’t we Scott? :)

It’s frustrating, because I can’t be everywhere at once. I like to get out and get into the field sometimes (like with Atlanta over the weekend) but for every region I travel to, there are several others that go wanting. And when we don’t draw well, I take it hard. I’m sure that’s why I usually have so much trouble sleeping. It kills me when we fall short of projections. It wears on me when we are back ordered to hospitals, or I hear that they are having to cancel elective surgeries because of a lack of available blood components.

It can make me cranky. Ask my assistant Jennifer.

The need is constant. Red blood cells are only good for up to 42 days and platelets are only good for 5 days. So we can never relax or rest on our laurels. We always have to try to stay ahead of the game, because there is always another trauma victim or transplant patient or cancer patient around the corner.

LifeSouth is a community blood center, which means that everything we draw in the community stays in the community. And when we can't provide enough to meet those needs, man, it bums me out like you wouldn't believe.

Still and all, I am fortunate in that I love what I do, and I am thankful every day that I was given this opportunity. It's a great job. I get to be creative, I get to have fun, I get to show off, I get to teach and train, I get to plan and strategize, I get to mix and mingle, I get to use my brain to in some small way make the world a better place.

If only we could draw more damn blood.

Hey, get out there and donate if you can, please. If not with LifeSouth, at least with the blood center near where you live.

Okay. I'm off the soapbox.


Blogger Maidink said...

I would love, too. Alas, my blood is very iron poor. I've been turned away many times from blood drives. I take a multi-vitamin everyday, but that doesn't seem to be enough.

9:23 AM  
Blogger Big Pissy said...

What a great job for you~with your personality and charm ;-)

I can't donate. I've been told that b/c I lived in Europe in the 80's I'm unacceptable...mad cow? I don't know.
A friend of mine who lived there a few years after me was told the same thing.

does that sound right?

9:32 AM  
Blogger zhadi said...

Boy, how nice it is to read about someone enthusiastic about their job, especially when it's a job that actually means something in the grand scheme of things!

I just got a call from Red Cross 'cause I've a weird blood type (the universal doner? O Positive or something like that) and you've talked me into it. I get violently ill every time I give blood (we're talking throwing up, headaches) no matter what I eat or don't eat...but I'll take suggestions!

11:59 AM  
Blogger Trinette said...

Vampires! Vampires all!

12:06 PM  
Blogger Mr. Fabulous said...

Maidink--Hey, it's the thought that counts--thanks for trying!

Pissy--Come on, fess up. It was really all the HIGH RISK behavior in the 80's wasn't it? :)

Yes, that's right about the mad cow.

Zhadi--You are O neg. Yes, you are the universal donor.

If you want to give it a try again, I would indeed suggest eating beforehand, as well as drinking plenty of water for a couple of days before your donation.

Also, let them know up front that you have problems, so they can take precautions (ice packs, elevate your feet, etc.)

It is also a good idea to have someone there for moral support and/or a distraction. When Maura was getting stuck I did my George Michael singing and dancing impression of Wake Me Up Before You Go Go :)

Trintette--I assume if it had been you, you have prefered a different George Michael impression...

12:15 PM  
Anonymous dreamwalker said...

I used to donate regularly when I lived in South Africa (O+ here too) as there was a constant shortfall and dire need of donors. Over here in New zealand I had to do all the work to find out where to go to donate etc. They are not very pro-active, but with an overall population of just over 4 million, I assume their need is not so acute.

1:57 PM  
Blogger Fantastagirl said...

When I was younger I donated all the time (I want to say every 6 weeks, but that sounds too often) because a several blood donors saved my Dad's life - He went through so many units, the docs said it was like they "filled him up three times". But then I had a bad experience and haven't been back for years... (yes I am a chicken shit!) and I should go back... I should.

7:35 PM  
Blogger threecollie said...

I am very impressed by what you do. What a great deal of responsibility, but how wonderful to make such a difference to your world. I too used to be a frequent donor, until I fell on the sidewalk going home one time. I have been afraid to try again.

10:07 PM  
Blogger Mr. Fabulous said...

Dreamwalker--Thank you for being a donor!

Fantastigirl--That is one of the folks don't come back and something we are always trying to work on, making it a great experience all the time.

ThreeCollie--Well, I can't blame you there. Reactions like that are not common, but they can be very off putting.

10:33 PM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

I can't donate blood - I'm "underweight" and anemic...

Hence - the donation of my hair. ;) As we've already discussed!

10:51 PM  
Blogger CP said...

Mr. Fab. Doll. Let me share with you my experience on how I first became a blood donor.

10 years ago, I gave birth to twin boys. One of my sons passed away at birth. Massive lung and heart defects. The other son had the same ailments as his younger *and smaller* brother, but his will to live was perhaps a tad stronger.

In the course of the next two years, my son would undergo multiple open heart surgeries, catheterizations and angios.

He would also need a whole lot of blood.

I came to florida 8 months pregnant, knowing NO ONE and nothing. When I found out about my sons health needs, I was in panic mode. My son was type O with a negative antigen. I am an A+ and was told that I could not donate blood for my own sons open heart surgery. I was devastated. I went to Temple and I prayed. I prayed really long and hard. I bargained with God to save my remaining son, and if He saw fit to, I would devote the rest of my life to nursing. I would get out of Law and be a nurse and take care of everyone in need.

The next day, the Temple congregation formed a direct donation blood drive for my son. Dozens of people were tested. Two were matches. I had never been more grateful for anything in my entire life.

Long story longer, my son is now a happy and healthy 10 year old today...and I am a nurse for 9 years now. I donate blood every 60 some odd days or so. I never ever forget to. I never will.

You are doing God's work. Don't mean to sound all preachy, spiritual and Kumbaya...but you are. That alone qualifies you as Fabulous.

With heart,

ps...sorry for blogging on your blog.

12:12 AM  
Blogger Ginnie said...

What a worthy cause, Mr. Fab! I love your work and it's clear you're good at it. They're lucky they have you.

I, too, am 0-, a universal donor, and ended up donating about 4 gallons back when I was younger and could donate every 56 days. Traveling in Europe prohibits it now (one of those "rules"), sad to say, but my daughter has taken my place, thank God.

Keep up the good work!

4:30 AM  
Blogger Ms. M said...

Mr. F, I donate to LifeSouth here in Atlanta whenever the bloodmobile makes it to my office. I'm sorry to say that I've missed a few times due to business travel, but I make a point to donate whenever possible. Blood donors saved my mothers life when her spleen ruptured. I couldn't be more grateful to blood donors and I do my part not to let those down that need my blood.

Damn, I sound so after school special.

4:57 AM  
Blogger Mr. Fabulous said...

Rebecca--And I think you are AWESOME for doing that!

CP--Yours is a very moving and inspiring story, and I would have expected nothing less from you. You are a remarkable woman, my friend.

I need a bus schedule...

Ginnie--It's great that you've instilled in your daughter the need to give blood. I'm sure it was the shining example you set for her all those years.

Ms. M.--Thank you so much for being a donor. Please do me a favor: next time you donate please let me know how it goes. I'm always looking for people to me "mystery shoppers" LOL

6:35 AM  
Anonymous smluke said...

What you forget to mention is that you instill this enthusiam and dedication to those that you work WITH...and to us, THAT has made all the difference.

11:00 PM  
Blogger Mr. Fabulous said...

SML--What is your angle? Your evaluation isn't due until the fall...

2:09 AM  
Blogger Belinda said...

Just for you, an unplanned donation from me. And I'm O-Neg, Baby! Been donating since I was 16.

My tips? LOTS of water, especially as you get older. The nice, plump veins of my youth are no more, alas. Also, don't watch it drain. And don't leap up as soon as they pull the needle. No one's checking to see how macho you are.

Another thing we do--my mother, sister and I are all O-Neg, and we know it's in high demand. So whenever one of us (usually me) is having surgery, the others go in at an appointed time and donate blood to be earmarked for the family member. We've never had to actually use it yet, so it's gotten donated elsewhere. We have the added peace of mind during a stressful time of knowing where that transfusion will come from, should we need it. I mean, unless we totally hemorrhage or something,, I will stop now. Give blood!

5:20 AM  
Blogger Belinda said...

Also? This may seem trivial compared to the needs of humans (and in that sense, I suppose it certainly is), but if you have a good healthy mid-to-large-size dog, consider checking into your dog being a donor. I think they have to be at least 50 pounds? But really--dogs sometimes need transfusions, too!

5:22 AM  
Blogger Mr. Fabulous said...

Belinda--Another reason why you are a hero of mine! And you are right about dogs. My friend Christine had a St. Bernard that was a doggie blood donor :)

7:28 AM  
Blogger Clo said...

Well, this was a very serious post. I never did gave blood but reading all this, I will think of it seriously! :O)

10:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well such an interesting and informative site.

If you require some mystery shopper info come visit mine at

10:00 AM  

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