I Work for a Living!

I have been a functional working member of society for nearly two weeks now. It may be the best feeling in the world, which I attribute solely to the nature of the work. The first day I shadowed, I was cussed out, confused, and completely lost. My building is an H-shape that houses three different units (I think) and classrooms and group therapy rooms and visiting rooms for each of the units (I think). Maybe there aren’t classrooms for the critical care unit.

Either way, I am in the middle of a four-day break in my schedule, which I will not have again for a very long time until I take time off. After the way my first couple of days went, I am shocked that I miss the clients, not kids, already. The last day I worked I had the opportunity to sit with a client who had been upset and had recently been self-harming. After ten minutes with the client, she gave me the instrument with which she was self-harming and her disposition was completely changed. One of the most difficult things I have encountered at work so far has been convincing some of the clients that I genuinely do see good in them. Many of them are intelligent beyond belief and creative to the extent that I feel more cultured from listening to the explanations of their art and expression. And it takes so much work to get them to believe that’s what I see even just for a minute!

I expressed my first real moral dilemma about the job with a client. He simply wanted a question answered regarding his status and privileges that he was applying to earn. However, the supervisor was involved with averting a crisis at the time, so the client waited and waited and waited and began getting impatient. My issue with residential treatment is that crises need to be managed often and those clients who are experiencing growth cannot be acknowledged as much as they ought to be. There just isn’t the manpower. However, I did manage to play a few games of Uno with the client and talk Harry Potter with him, so I feel I did what I could to be positively reinforcing.

Anyway, long story short, I love it.

In other news, I’m subbing in a spinning class tomorrow. I’m thinking it will be pretty full – it’ll be right after Thanksgiving and I do believe I have some friends coming to the class. So now I’m a little anxious; I have yet to teach people I know personally. They have the means to tease me for my cheesiness and sport psychology background. But I know they won’t because they’re wonderful!

What’s Next?

Tomorrow I start my new job. I suspect it will be eight hours hanging out in a room while I become oriented to policies and schedules and insurance and whatever other vital company information I need to know. Tuesday is the first day I’ll be shadowing in my unit. I have a unit. When I think of having a unit, it makes me feel like my job matters. Ironically, this morning my mom and I were watching an episode of “Law & Order” in which the bad guys were doctors working in a residential treatment center for kids with autism. They were completely sold that their treatment was ethical and that it resulted in the reduction of symptoms for the kids and was therefore in their best interest. In short, there is a lot of danger in having conviction in something without periodically engaging in genuine reflection on the matter. So I’ll be keeping this in mind as I start something new.

Speaking of new things, the reason I wanted to write this tonight was because I’m uncertain whether or not my most prominent thoughts about my future are currently helpful or unhelpful. Before I even received the job, I was planning. When I go on long runs with my friend Kim, a lot of our time is spent discussing what aspects of my planning are debilitating to me in the moment. I think the most questionable thought is about school – my deadline for myself is to be in a program by the fall of 2015. This seems like an infinite amount of time for me. I’ll have an opportunity to explore career paths where I’ll be working as well as elsewhere and figure out the best degree to pursue to get there.

I do this “what’s next” business in running too. I had intentions of running the Turkey Trot before I even ran the Cleveland Half-Marathon in May. I already suspect my next race after this 5-mile run will be the Chili Bowl 5K. I have an excel spreadsheet of mileage and workouts I wish to accomplish weeks in advance. Working at a daycare and being sick three times in two months has made a schedule tough to follow, but I’m happy to report I successfully finished ten yesterday morning.

I want to make some spinning workouts and read more. I’m on a reading kick right now. But I just really want to pose the question: What is the difference between constructive and destructive planning?

Once Upon a Time

I’m watching “Once Upon a Time.” This has become a Sunday thing followed by viewing “The Walking Dead.” Typically I have to do something else while watching TV – stretch, read, write, whatever. I haven’t written in a while because I have felt completely and wonderfully insane. All my time not spent at work is spent planning, pining, and being excited about my new job and my new life. To be fair, I do a lot of this at work too. (I only have four more half days at the daycare!) My friend Kim yelled at me on our long run yesterday for all this planning business. She makes a valiant point: what’s wrong with just going with the flow, starting a job, and figuring things out whenever they naturally arise?

I love me some structure. It’s easy for me to structure my mornings and afternoons and since I’ll be working second shift, I’ll be running, spinning, lifting, or volunteering in the mornings, working, and then going to bed. I told Kim that I already know I want to go back to school in 2015. I’m not sure what program or even whether it will be to pursue another master’s degree or a PhD…or a PsyD. So there is a lot to consider. However, I have never spent a year and a half researching and experiencing to make a decision, so I don’t understand why this would be any different.

On another note, I went out on Friday with some people from my summer job. To sum up my experience there, here is an Eleanor Roosevelt quote that I just found appropriate for the situation:

We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face…we must do that which we think we cannot.

For approximately six years, being unemployed or unsatisfied with my employment situation has been my biggest fear. Perhaps this is a characteristic of people who plan as much as I do. I saw no purpose in attending college and graduate school if it would not lead to full-time fulfillment. Simply being offered something that I perceive as fulfilling has changed everything.

In social situations, I’m an observer, I’m quiet, and I don’t particularly like meeting brand new people. I’ll happily meet friends of friends when I’m out, but strangers are a different story. Regardless, I met a stranger with prompting from the people I was with. I communicated well with many people Friday night and apparently portrayed myself well. In short, I genuinely believe that confidence makes all the difference. After disappointment and uncertainty, no matter how small it seems in retrospect, I achieved something I wanted and got an offer. That alone led to me carrying myself differently.

So to wrap up, I do have a question. Why is it that every time a girl meets a guy in a bar, one of three things must happen? 1) He completely forgets who you are and nothing happens. 2) You become a booty call later. 3) He wants to start dating. Maybe I’m strange (I’m definitely strange), but why can’t you meet someone in a bar and begin a friendship?

I Got an Offer…

…And I accepted it!

I accepted in an extraordinarily awkward (characteristic of me) fashion, but maybe it’s endearing. Just before I got the call, I went downstairs to whine to my dad about how hopeless I was becoming. I dropped my phone on the fireplace and complained for literally two minutes before it rang and I was offered the position. So clearly my new place of employment is psychic and also has a sense of humor. I start November 18th with mass amounts of training.

As awkward as accepting a new job was for me, giving notice that I was quitting at the daycare was even more awkward. I told my director that I needed to speak with her and of course she wasn’t thrilled – I didn’t expect she would be, but I was hoping for genuine well-wishes. Following my short discussion with the director, the preschool teacher approached me with this whole, “I couldn’t help but overhear” business and wanted my contact information for her undergraduate daughter.

This isn’t my worst fear by any means, but one of my preoccupations with starting a career has regarded how many toes I have to step on to get what I want. Before I got my call, I almost wrote an entry about how much I “need” to have something full-time. As someone who has been drilled on the importance of concise and accurate language, I reconsidered what I “need.” I am making payments on my loans with a part-time position at the daycare. I received First Aid and CPR training through the daycare and they paid me the hourly rate that enabled me to make the long commute to and from work. And instead of showing how grateful I am that this daycare hired me when I really could use the income, I am leaving them at the first sign of something better. The working world is a mean and cutthroat place.

So the bottom line is that I’m never going to please everyone. I’ve been doing a lot for me lately and have yet to regret any of it. In addition to taking that job, I got my spinning certification for myself, I’ve been running and eating healthier for myself, and reading to work on myself… Those are the things that are not affected by what I do for a living. I realize that I have not been blogging about this job search for my entire “funemployment” period, but if I had been, it would have been quite obvious that I identify strongly with what I do and I also judge myself incredibly harshly based on the impact I’m having. I’m not exceptional at caring for toddlers; other people are. My place to make an impact is where I’ll be two weeks from Monday and that’s an incredible feeling.