Category Archives: the job

last day

It’s the last day of my winter break (aka “Christmas Break”).  I had just shy of two weeks (I know, I know–totally unfair, but one of the few perks the job offers, as the pay certainly isn’t great).

Not exactly excited about going back to work tomorrow, but not dreading it either.  Which is what two weeks doing cross-stitch and listening to podcasts can do for you.  Or, rather, that’s what it can do for me.  You should try it sometime.  Very restful.

There was some time with family, but not enough to make me crazy.  More time with the oldest niece than with anyone else (she came to visit for 3 days), which was great.

I am rather enjoying this season.  Some folks call it winter, but here it’s mostly just the “not hot season.”  We get a few days of actual winter, but mostly it’s what a friend calls “Texas-cold,” which would make those of you in more northern climes scoff.  Lots of sunshine and decent temps almost makes one forget the hottest summer on record that we endured in 2011.

Miss Famous loves the not-hot season.  She will not love my return to work, however, as she will no longer have her human at her beck and call and won’t be able to go in the backyard any time she chooses.

Today, however, she is blissfully ignorant.(Please ignore the un-raked leaves.  The cute dog is the only item worthy of note in this image.)

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thank you g-d for creating yoga pants

Today is my first day back at work after the big gallbladder surgery.  It just happens to be the first day after winter break, also, so there’s a lot of “How was your break?”  I’ve gotten to tell the story of the middle of the night trip to the ER quite a few times.

Speaking of recovery, can I just tell you how amazing yoga pants are?  Particularly these brand new ones I just bought myself that can pass as work pants as long as I have the band on top hidden.  I tried wearing “real” pants once last week, and was regretting it after two hours.  Because all my pants hit me right at my most painful surgical site, real pants + gallbladder surgery recovery = pain.  So I am so very pleased with the black yoga pants I found yesterday that allow me to look halfway professional, and at least don’t require that I unfasten the button and zipper while sitting for extended periods of time.

I was actually considering getting one of those pregnancy band things, but yoga pants have saved the day!  (Or the week, rather, as I’ll be wearing them everyday until I heal.)

It’s taking a little bit of effort to get my brain back into work mode, which is a big part of why I’m blogging right now and not calling clients.  Heh.  I’m sure I’ll get there, though, and with these fantastic pants I can at least think about something other than my belly button being in pain.

perspective, in three acts

Act I:

After an all-staff announcement that pay-raises are on the way, my supervisor informs me that I will receive a modest raise.  While it won’t make me a millionaire, about $100/month is nothing to sneeze at.  I feel quite pleased with my good fortune.

Act II:

After discussing the aforementioned raises with my co-workers, I discover that everyone who has worked there longer than I have, including my dear co-worker who started a month before I did, all received a raise of about 2½ times the raise I received (I started work 14 days after the “seniority cutoff”).  Suddenly, I feel really crummy about my paycheck.

Act III:

I get together with some good friends in the evening the day of the raise debacle.  I discuss my two reactions with a couple of people, noting that had I not known about my co-workers’ raises, I would be nothing but happy.  Notably, the two friends I was talking with are either unemployed or vastly under-employed (i.e. working part-time retail when he’d like to be using his degree).  At this point, simply having a decent job (not to mention the benefits) feels pretty darn good.

flashback

I got a glimpse of myself tonight.

Not myself now, but maybe a year and a half ago…that was me, then.

Before I arrived tonight, I was already expecting some heavy stuff at the meeting.  One of the other “professionals” who was there had sent me an email, letting me know about some recent events for this family.  And these events didn’t come out of the blue.  I knew their past, I knew why their husband and father no longer lived at home, though he’s still around.  I knew about his temper.

The topic came up, I asked her if she would be willing to get some help now (she wasn’t ready before).

She started talking, it seemed like she couldn’t stop.

And I heard myself in her words.

The denial, the fear, the doubt that she would be taken seriously by the domestic violence counselors—it was all so familiar.

She mentioned PTSD, and in an apologetic way said that the incident the previous week had brought it all up for her again, the way any number of things can do.  Triggers, I said.  I knew because I was experiencing my own.  I could have finished her sentences.  I know about feeling unsafe.

There were some other things that were hard about the meeting, details about the “incident” that I won’t share (you’re welcome).

Something I found interesting was that though she has experienced physical violence (which I never had to deal with, thankfully), that wasn’t what she wanted to talk about.  She kept telling us about the things he would say to her, the things he still says to her.  She didn’t go on about the bruises he left, but she went on and on about how stupid he tells her she is, how weak, how worthless.

The one bright moment of the meeting was when, as the three professionals were working at convincing this woman how strong she is, her child told her mom she was like a Rottweiler, while he is just a Chihuahua.

Male Rottweiler, 1½ years old

Image via Wikipedia

I started crying when I was on the freeway, headed home.  My hands shook a bit, but I didn’t go down the rabbit hole.  I cried because it was sad.  I cried because I remembered how I used to feel.  This time, though, it didn’t feel bottomless.  This time I could feel the ground beneath me.

And as I realized how glad I was that I could go home after a meeting like that and not deal with X, I thought about Chihuahuas and seemed to hear my inner Rottweiler give a satisfied little growl.

ahhhhh…

I hope the fact that I’m actually posting doesn’t give anyone a heart attack.

I have felt a lot more like myself the last few days, and have been overwhelmed only by the number of potential posts floating around my head.  It got to where it felt like there was so much riding on the first thing I would write, that I became a bit daunted by the task.  I decided just to start writing and leave the ponderings for another day.

Today is my first day of vacation.  The way vacation time works at my job, I have to use all my time for the year by the end of August, and preferably by the middle of August (we follow the school calendar, so our year begins in August/September).  I thought I had fewer sick days than I actually did and thought I’d only be able to take 9 days off instead of 10.  So I worked yesterday, and discovered while doing my timesheet for July that I actually had enough sick days to cover my appendectomy recovery and should have been off yesterday.  Sigh.  I’ll now be off an extra day on the end, which is nice.

I have no big plans for my time off.  I’ll go see my younger sister and her progeny for a couple of days.  They live about five hours away.  Other than that, I am looking forward to having time off when I have a clear head and an increasing energy level.

In the meantime, any questions?  Anything you’d like to know about me?

session two

The second session of my divorce class/group was Tuesday night, which means I had to wait until the following day to watch the new episode of Glee.  Grrrrr.  Looks like Hulu and I will be hanging out for the rest of the Glee-season (Gleason?).  Anyway…

All day Tuesday I found myself getting more and more emotional, leading up to the time for class.  Actually, I didn’t really realize it until I was driving to the guy’s house where we met.  Then it kind of came together—oh, this is what I’m so jumpy about.

The group is still in the awkward stage (“forming” for any group gurus out there).  It was good to hear from other people in the class, which only happened to a minimum the first week.  I found that hearing bits and pieces of people’s stories was very evocative for me, and probably could have burst into tears at any point during the first hour and a half.

There was some laughing along with all the angst.  We were talking about fears and one person articulated what many of us felt at one time or another:  I’m afraid I won’t see my ex again…and I’m afraid I will.  (It came off a little funnier at the moment, I think.)  A couple of people brought up their fears of never finding love again.  One woman asked if it was possible to ever enter in to another marriage again with the full belief that it wouldn’t end in divorce.  One of the volunteers who had been through the class before, and had been married three times, nodded his head insistently and said, “Yes, it is possible.  I did it twice.”

Part of the benefit for me, which I talked about a bit after the first session, is being around people who are in earlier stages of the divorce process.  Some are struggling with attorneys; some aren’t even ready yet to think about the legal side.  As the topic was fear, I realized that the fears I have now are so different that the fears that had me paralyzed seven or eight months ago.  Back then, one of my biggest fears was that the mortgage company would foreclose on the house.  Well, that happened, and I survived.  It’s a crappy situation, but I’m not wracked with fear about the whole thing now.

The fears I have now are broader, less concrete.  What if I’m alone forever?  What if I’m not and it’s bad again?  What if I never get over this?

Part of our “homework” is to do something concrete to address one of our fears.  I had a really hard time with this, until I realized that something I’ve been putting off could help.  I don’t make as much money as I would like to.  I don’t even make as much money as I used to, at the job I really hated (before the big separation and all that).  I have had a general plan to start working on getting my clinical licensure (LCSW—now I’m just an LMSW, if that means anything to you), which, when I get it, could lead to better jobs with better pay.  Basically, I need to find a supervisor for clinical hours, do a bunch of paperwork for the state, etc., and accrue a boatload of hours working under clinical supervision.  Completing the hours will take over two years, I think.  Because of that, it’s been very easy to put off, and off, and off.  In addition, when I interviewed for my current position, it seemed unclear if I could even get clinical hours in my job (because of the kind of work I do on a day-to-day basis, it seemed that the state might not approve the hours I work as “clinical.”).  Well, a couple of weeks ago, my co-worker told me she was just approved by the state to start accruing clinical hours.  Which means…I can do the same.  I’ve just got to get my shit together and start the process.  Luckily, there is someone in my agency who can fill the role of clinical supervisor.  So, part of my homework this week is to talk to that person about how to get started in the process.  Just a little piece, but I’ve been feeling a lot of money stress lately, and at least I will feel like I’m moving in a positive direction for my career.

Starting the whole LCSW process has been on my mind, and on my mental “list” for a while, but if it weren’t for getting challenged in my small group session Tuesday night, I don’t think I would be getting to it anytime soon.

One last thing about group session #2:  I brought up the topic of abuse.  I was definitely not planning to do so, and definitely not in front of the whole group.  We were discussing contact with our exes, and what the best way to do that is, etc.  The conversation went here, there, and everywhere, and apparently I felt the need to speak up.  I said that I didn’t have contact with my ex and don’t foresee that changing, and that I thought that was the healthiest thing for me because there was abuse in our relationship.  Afterward, I felt a bit silly, like I had said too much, like nobody understood or agreed with me, like I had opened myself up more than I was ready to do.

Later, during the break, two of the women who were sitting by me spoke to me about my outburst sharing.  Turns out they both had similar situations and were really grateful I said something.  So there’s that.

Next week we’ll discuss “dumpers and dumpees.”  Should be interesting.

P.S.  I just realized that I don’t think I ever posted here about the “job uncertainty” update.  More money was found, apparently miraculously, and my job is safe.  I have job security for the foreseeable future. 🙂

meanwhile…

Well, though I was in a blogging funk, and didn’t update for over a week, and the last few posts before that were about how I was in a general funk, life did continue to swirl around me, cooking up its usual mischief.  So this is an outline of the things that I was wishing I had had the energy to blog about at the time:

◊  I had a big conflict at work last week with my boss.  It’s a bit convoluted to go into here, but the important part is that I stood up for myself (despite being SUPER scared) and walked right into the conflict and came out alive.  For someone who used to be called “The Queen of Conflict” (by one of my besties), I sure have backslid a lot in my approach to/fear of conflict.  I had made so much progress in this area, oh yeah, before Mr. X was in my life.  Like in so many other things, my self confidence for confrontation has taken quite a beating.  But I’m coming back.

◊  A really good friend of mine, who I hadn’t seen for years (she moved out of the country) is back in the States for a visit this month.  I got to see her last week briefly, and she’ll be coming back at the end of this week to spend two nights.  It really did my soul a lot of good to be around someone who gets me.  I think that her being here was the last little boost I needed to get out of the slump I was in.

◊  Saw the family for my dad’s birthday.  My older sister, who is bipolar, but has been managing her illness extremely well the last three years or so, was there.  Over dinner she talked about a reaction to a medication she was put on for a sinus infection.  I told her about how a friend of mine is on that same medication long-term and she has some of the same side effects (primarily, not being able to sleep without a sleeping pill).  I didn’t think too much about the conversation other than feeling bad for my sis.  Later, she pulled me aside and thanked me for telling her about my friend.  Apparently she was worried about herself, worried that she could be going into a manic phase (the “up” end of bipolar vs. the “down” end of depression—mania’s no picnic).  It was so amazing, amazing for her to talk to me about this. (She used to NEVER discuss her illness with anyone in the family.  Ever.)  A few years ago I had given up hope that she would ever be “okay” for any significant length of time, and here she is talking about her illness, being aware of her symptoms, taking care of herself.  I almost made this my perfect moment for the week, but the other post just kind of wrote itself first.  I wrote about my sis a while back here.

◊  I’ve had really conflicting feelings lately about Mr. X and “Dolores,” who are living together now.  When I imagine them together, part of me is so relieved to not be with him, to not be in the middle of all that crazy-making.  Part of me, however, feels incredibly rejected, having been “replaced” so quickly and I can’t help but compare myself to her, and feel like a failure.  Not logical, I know, but that’s the way feelings go sometimes, isn’t it?

◊  I am currently in the middle of my spring break.  With my job, I get the same holidays that the teachers in the local school district get (except for summer break, boo), so I am off this week, and thoroughly enjoying it.  The only downside is that I probably won’t adjust to Daylight Savings Time until next week, when I actually have to get up in the morning at a certain time, and not just when Miss Famous decides her bladder can’t wait any longer.