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.

Get Mad, Then Get Over It

I have this friend. He’s the type of person who can connect with anyone, he’s wise beyond his years, and he’s smart. I’m not exactly sure how smart, but most likely somewhere between scary-smart and impossibly-smart. And in case whoever happens to be reading didn’t put two and two together, I do have quite the crush on him and he knows, so if he were ever to stumble upon my ramblings (doubtful), no harm done. I feel like a fifth grade girl…

Anyway, a couple weeks ago, he asked me very directly why I’m angry. It’s true that I’m an angry person; my anger positively drives many of the things I do. It inspires me to apply for jobs, it motivates me to write genuinely, it prompts me to ask certain questions. It becomes destructive when it leads me to be defensive, to lash out people I care about, and when I respond with stubbornness.

There are so many things to be angry about. If you’re reading, you can probably construct a list in your head easily of things to be angry about. I’m mad that my dad freaked out because I did not require a 10-minute lesson on learning how to use DVR, I’m peeved that I forgot to ask for my interviewers’ business cards on Friday, I’m experiencing a little self-loathing because my food intake today consisted primarily of chocolate, and I’m undoubtedly bitter about these job hunting shenanigans.

The last thing I want to do is convince myself that being angry is wrong. I’m disinclined to say that any of those things shouldn’t elicit anger. I think the way to increase my affect is to let the little blessings in life affect me just as much as the setbacks.

Before I got ridiculously sick last week, I went on an amazing run. It was everything a fall run is supposed to be. I let myself appreciate nature and what my body could do for that half an hour and it was spectacular. Every once in a while, I do let myself be affected by happy little things. Today I was excited over leaves floating in and out of a truck bed while my mom and I were driving over to see my grandma. I even find myself happy at the day care. Last week, I was sitting on the floor and one of our toddlers gently stood behind me and ran her hands through my hair for a while. I think the more we can notice here and now, the more joy we take with us, and the more we’ll have to offer.