And so it begins again. Tomorrow is the first day of school here where I live and I will be working again, but in a more random capacity. I’ve worked there all summer, helping wherever I was needed. It was fun actually: with the halls quiet and peaceful.
But tomorrow they will be filled with the excited (and loud) voices of our returning students and the nervous, tiny Kindergarten kids. Lucky for them we will all be there to help them all handle the first day and rein in their jitters.
There are some new teachers this year too–including a man! Whoop whoop. That place needs a balance of testosterone if you ask me, so it will be interesting to see how the kids feel about him. And there is an older (like me) new long-term sub also, which I am happy to see.
All in all, it will be an interesting year. No more full-time lunchroom duty for me! Hooray!! And I also offered to sub in the classrooms, which could turn out to be a total disaster, but we’ll give it a try. Mostly, I actually enjoy the administrative, boring stuff. It’s funny because the teachers keep telling me I’m a hero for helping them laminate, staple and collate. And I think to myself: from saving lives as a paramedic to saving these teachers… hmmm?
They assure me they would have a heart attack without me. But….
It is always interesting when we can have a moment where we can look at ourselves and see some aspect differently.
At work it feels like I am surrounded by many disgruntled co-workers. Or at least folks who are not really into what they are doing; or maybe they are just exhausted? They work with kids in a school, which can be tiring, especially these days for sure–but somehow I figured there would be more passion in the people there.
Instead I find a group of (mostly) frustrated, cranky, unhappy people who seem like they would rather be anywhere be where they are…and I suddenly realized yesterday, after hearing my immediate co-worker complain and whine, that oh my goodness: this was me for so many years in my last career!
How miserable it must have been to be around me! To hear me complain all the time and see my grouchy face. And to hardly ever hear anything nice come out of my mouth. Yikes. It stopped me cold when I realized how it must have been to be work with me all the time.
Because I know what it’s like to be around these folks day in and out. It’s a downer. And how must it be for the kids? We’re suppose to be models for them after all, eh? Was I able to fake it for my patients on the ambulance, because I know these educators aren’t hiding anything from these children.
It really made me ashamed of myself, that I had put everyone I worked with through all my stuff. Honestly, it doesn’t even matter if it had cause or not; I should have left it at home. Work is not a place to drag your baggage. It’s not fair to anyone around you, yet I did it for a long, long time.
These folks may have what they feel are ‘good excuses’, but really none are when you get down to it. If you’re unhappy, find something else to do. It’s hard to find other work, yes that’s true. But if you’re heart not in what you’re doing, we all can tell.
If you can fix the things at work that’s the best solution. Or maybe you can learn to suck it up and push your way through things (not let things bother you as much)…but the ultimate solution may simply be to move on…. That’s the sad truth. I finally left a career I loved because of the extraneous stuff that bugged me too much.
So, in the end, I am very regretful for all those I drove crazy with my unhappiness. It’s clear now as I can see it in others (and it’s hard to take). In payment, I’m trying to be as upbeat as I can to make this place a little brighter…
Finally I have landed a wee job that fits in perfectly with the criteria I had listed in my head (I hope). It’s been a long and interesting year experimenting with various things while waiting to find something, but hopefully this will work.
It’s nothing much really, but that’s part of my plan. Just a little PT position in a very small Charter school working as a lunch monitor.
So here’s how it fit the bill and my way of thinking:
It’s Part time: It’s in the middle of the day so allows me my workout in the am and the ability to get home for the pets in the afternoon or any chores/appointments.
It’s a no-brainer: After 20 years of the stress of being a paramedic, I didn’t want to do anything too difficult. Yes, I know, maybe I’m being lazy, but for now, this is the case.
It’s NOT in healthcare: I had made a distinct decision that I was pulling out of working in healthcare altogether. This is why I’ve had such a hard time finding something I reckon. With my resume reflecting 20 years in the business, not many folks were interested in taking a chance on me for something new.
It’s something new!: This is the very reason it seemed cool. While it’s not some deep, difficult task, at least it’s different.
It’s fun: The kids are great (albeit VERY noisy) and it will be a great new challenge to work closely with this population for a change. I’ve had my own of course, but now I have 300!
It has potential for more: I’ve been assured it has growth potential should I want it at some point. But for now I am quite content with the hours.
It’s close to home: After commuting 40 minutes each way (in ice storms) for so many years, having a job very close is a blessing.
I’m in ‘the system’: Once I’m within the public school system (yes, Charter schools are publicly funded), there can be potential for movement.
I can handle just about anything for a few hours: Even if there are difficulties, it’s only a few hours a day and plenty of vacations!
So all in all, I hope this works out. My fellow employees in the lunch room seem nice too. I have no idea how I will begin to memorize the names of all these children, but hey, I’ll figure it out.
And I’ve already ordered special ear plugs that will hopefully block out some of the major noise, but allow me to still hear them when they talk to me. (I mean it is REALLY loud in this tiny room!)
But I have to say, we never lose parts of ourselves… Because as I look around at all these kids eating and talking, and eating and laughing, and eating and being silly— the paramedic in me can’t help but think:
Just keep chewing, swallowing and breathing… NO CHOKING allowed!!
Watching an interesting TED talk today about a young Arctic surfer (yes, you heard me right, that was Arctic surfer), he said something that really struck me–not about surfing, but about sacrifice. As you can imagine, someone who surfs in frigid waters does a fair amount of sacrificing. He does it in part to get away from the normal tropic crowds, but also to take these amazing photographs. To paraphrase very loosely he said something like: most things worth any kind of real joy usually involve some kind of sacrifice.
That gave me pause.
I began thinking about some of the things that take sacrifice but bring joy:
9 months of carrying a baby: the worrying, the weight gain, the hormone shifts, the vomiting, the swelling, the potential dangers involved…
being in a relationship: any kind really. It’s constant ups and downs, bargaining (with the kids, partners, co-workers, family members), tears, give/take, compromises, giving away parts of yourself at times
having a dream or goal: these can take huge amounts of time, money, changes in lifestyle and re-evaluating ourselves for the final outcome
moving somewhere new: leaving friends and family behind; leaving a career or job, doing something scary, taking a leap of faith
starting over (with a job/a person/or alone: leaving your comfort zone, stretching parts of yourself you may not know you had, or totally remaking yourself
helping others or someone else: living with less than normal, learning about other cultures (which maybe is uncomfortable), focusing less on “me”
giving up something completely: getting used to life “without”, feeling what it’s like when others perceive because we are now “different”
changing our point of view for the greater good: getting into arguments (political/family?), battling within ourselves over the old point of view, reconciling what’s right/wrong
coming out: about our sexual orientation, addictions, mental health, illness, abuse, political view or anything else we’ve been keeping inside for fear of judgement, shame or condemnation
sharing our home with animals: limiting our work day, getting up in the middle of the night, cleaning up hair, poop and vomit off the floor
Waiting: for anything you want, it can be excruciating at times because we are a culture of wanting everything now, having patience is like hot iron swirling in our bellies…the loss of precious time while we wait
standing up for what you believe when others around you don’t agree: this can be going to rallies or being a vegan, it can bring agitation or arguments from others, confrontations or simply tiresome questions
sharing our home with children: never having peace and quiet (or rarely); suddenly realizing you have to sacrifice so much and become a very good teacher when you hardly know yourself (or much else for that matter…)
There are so many more things…what can you add to the list? And it all comes down to mindset like anything else really. We give to get. Nothing comes easily really. It seems like many things feel like work these days, and trying to pick out the little pieces of joy can be tough. But when you think about the sacrifices we make all adding up to something beautiful–that it’s the wrapping surrounding the gift inside, then it doesn’t feel quite so much like drudgery.
So when you are climbing that next mountain and it feels like hell: the boots are giving you blisters, the sweating like a banshee and the mosquitoes buzzing around your head: remember that when you get to the top you will see this incredible view of the world below. Every step you took to get there was worth what lies before you as you look out. See it as you breathe the joy and try to remember that you couldn’t have experienced the splendor without a bit of pain.
So a while ago, when I was sitting at home, in the thick of my contemplating about my life and future–I had a harebrained idea: I would take a course. I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do, but what I did know, even though it was kind of intimidating, was that I would attempt to do it online.
This may not seem like a very big deal to many of you out there in computer-land, but to me, the gal who is a ‘hands on’ learner, it felt very strange. But on the other hand, I also knew that I was in no position to go schlepping off to some place for a class, nor did I want to pay a huge amount of money for some program that maybe I wouldn’t like after a few weeks. And I knew that nowadays there are so many courses offered online. How hard could it be?
So I started to search, and sure enough, our local community college had some very short and very inexpensive courses that seemed quite reasonable to explore. Hey, I had nothing to lose since my time was wide open, so I decided to sign up for the Veterinary Assistant class–actually a set of three of them (maybe I was a bit ambitious) which started today. In the long run I guess I hoped it might land me a job.
I literally had no idea what to expect when I logged into ‘my classroom’ today. But there were my lessons, a syllabus, some quizzes, some assignments (optional), a forum area to talk with the Professor (a Vet from Canada) and other students, plus other relevant stuff.
It was all fairly straight forward. Of course I couldn’t get my printer to work when I tried to print the lessons (I finally did after 2 hours), something suggested by the teacher and a good idea for studying for the Final to have for later on. Once the class closes, one doesn’t have access to the information again, so I will create a notebook for reference.
This kind of learning is actually perfect for someone older (like me) or busy…go at your own pace. And it’s basically open book for exams–who wouldn’t love that? I’ve always felt that in real life one gets to look up what we don’t know, so why memorize everything? It’s great.
Will I get a job out of it? Well, the funny part is that after I had already signed up for it, I got a call for a job interview for a job that I applied for about a month ago. I’d given up thinking about it actually, but it so happens it’s at the very college where I’m taking this online course! Imagine that. The interview went as well as expected, but I am still waiting to hear. Who knows?
But I will take this course anyway as it is designed with pet owners in mind also. Plus it’s fun and always good to stretch one’s mind. Maybe I will even use the information to volunteer…
And who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks….??
This amazing painting was created by the most important, talented and influential person in my life. She has been an artist for many, many years working in all sorts of of mediums from oils to stone, much of it self taught. This talent moved her to become a teacher herself where she was respected by a host of adults who never dreamed of creating gorgeous stone sculptures prior to her tutelage.
I have always believed she could do anything she put her mind to (except maybe fix a leaky faucet, but that’s another story) and felt if you could read you could do anything.
This painting is her latest, started before she became quite ill. It sat for some time and she feared she wouldn’t finish it, but it’s a testament to her strength and perseverance that she did.
I’m blessed with it’s beauty now on my wall which will be a constant reminder of her beauty. It’s intricacies remind me too that we all have depth that is worth exploring.
It is with gratitude that I accept such a gift and love is what I return. And whenever I look at it I will always feel my deep connection with this most special person, my Mom.
No-one like to feels like a dummy. But I think we all can agree that the first day of any new job can make any of us feel that way. Even if it’s a job that we may have experience doing, but especially if it’s something new or if we’re rusty doing it. Then, it’s easy to feel like we’re back in elementary school when the teacher calls on us and we don’t know the answer.
Today was my first day at my new job! And mind you, I made a conscious decision to get out of healthcare! So I totally understood that I could make myself look silly starting over at something completely different. I simply could not take it any longer in a field that I personally feel is rampant with unhappy, over-worked and often petty employees.
So I began to apply to anything that remotely appealed to me or where I thought I might have a half a chance of getting a job. I had certain criteria of course: Part-time was preferable for the pets; close to home if possible; if it had to be a big corporation again, then hopefully it would be decent or have good benefits with it; and if I was lucky, maybe be something I actually wanted to do! Another dream part of the job, of course, would be if I ended up working with great people….
Well, I’ve ended up in a sweet little position working as a cashier at a local Farm market. The farm itself is huge and specializes in sustainability, organic vegetables and fruit, locally grown also, U-pick on the property, all sorts of local breads and other wonderful items. What a difference working in a place that smells nice! It can’t compare to the smells on the ambulance!
They had a sign on the Cash register that said: Cashier in training, Be Nice! So they even have a sense of humor. As I bumbled along trying to figure out why they considered an avocado a fruit and which items were sold singly and which by the pound, my customers were very patient. And even though I thought I knew my vegetables pretty well having been a vegetarian for 40 years, a rutabaga looks pretty much like a turnip when you’re in a hurry.
A place that has a 21-year-old in charge because he’s been there since he got out of High School (he told me his goal is actually to become a fire fighter/paramedic–imagine that), can’t be all bad. And they even have an AED, so while the boss wants me to save him if he has a cardiac arrest, he wasn’t sure the batteries were working. Yikes. Stick with farming dude!
So while I was nervous and felt like pretty dumb at times, everyone was helpful and assured me at the end of the shift, I wasn’t fired yet. Even though I didn’t do a very good job wrapping the breads that came in either. Maybe it’s just the perfectionist in me? And this place seems to have my most/all of my criteria for jobs too? Time will tell…
But riding home in my car I thought: gee, I used to save lives didn’t I? I guess eventually I’ll get the hang of this won’t I? Of course I’m older now…but like we used to say in the back of the ambulance: just pretend you know what you’re doing and be nice. The customer/patient may not notice it’s not true…..