Why, hello there, friends!
It's been a while. It's not for lack of updates (and trust me, there are updates), but just a lack of time. There's been so much going on, both here and at work, that it leaves me little time to do anything fun and remotely theraputic.
Let's see....we went downstate last weekend for Mary's graduation. It was plenty of fun, though really short. There were a few hiccups during the weekend--mainly lost hotel reservations and changed dinner plans, but ultimately everything worked out fine. It was pretty great to see Mary graduate--again! I've attended her 8th grade, high school, and now her college graduations. (Graham and I have been together a loooooooooong time.)
Today, (right now!) we're getting an alarm system installed. I'm pretty stoked about it. I haven't felt completely safe since I was robbed in November, 2007 (6 weeks before our wedding, thankyouverymuch). For close to a year after that, I jumped at every little sound and creak. In our apartment building, everything made me wary. I looked side-eyed at my neighbors because I didn't know them and trust them. Even in our new neighborhood where it's much safer, I still don't feel totally safe. After the break-in, it really hit me how someone was WATCHING me. They knew who lived where and who left when and when they returned. It was scary. I never want to go through that again. Everytime we return home, the thought flashes through my mind--was the house safe? Is there someone inside? We were lucky once to just come home to a mess. I don't want to walk into my house and find someone there.
In early May, some people from the alarm company were coming around the 'hood with this new promotion, and we met with one of them and ultimately decided it wasn't a bad deal. We get the system and install for free, so long as we keep the sign in our yard. We still have to pay the monthly fee, but it's not expensive. In my opinion, our safety is worth it. We're in a safe neighborhood--we're surrounded by cops and firefighters for miles! But, when criminals and thugs get mad, they also want to get even, and they come after cop homes and neighborhoods. We already had the sign in our yard, so having the system just makes me feel that much better.
This week....well, we finally got our contracts at work. I'm debating what to do about mine. I've been actively seeking new employment, but because no one has any money and the state is holding budgets everywhere hostage, I've gotten few nibbles. I'm frustrated because it's not "me", but no one knows if the positions they've been hiring for will even be available come August.
I honestly don't know what to do. I'm going to try and negotiate a way out of one of my jobs. My current contract says, "3/5 computer teacher, webmaster, alumni director, public relations..." and probably something else I'm forgetting right now. It's a lot to take on, both next year and in general. I haven't been happy bouncing between two different jobs, and the level of stress that I've been under hasn't always seemed worth the paycheck.
I know there are some (family members included, unfortunately), who probably think I'm crazy for considering going down to part-time, or taking a salary cut, or even considering just quitting altogether. That being said, there are good reasons I'm considering each of those options. I haven't been happy at my job in months. I leave most days and I'm really upset and crying. The stresses that have been placed on me and the expectations have been pretty unrealistic. I don't think I've done a better or worse job than the woman who held this job before me--I've maintained, that's for sure. But to expect me to take a department to another level, all the while balancing two jobs (including teaching and lesson planning and all that other b.s.) isn't at all realistic. AND....I think it's fair to say I stepped into this job with little training, and initially that was fine. It's really been since December/January that my qualifications have been called into question, and the work I've done has been put under fire. I'm pretty sure getting a position on the Supreme Court would be easier! Sotomayor didn't have this much scrutiny, that's for sure.
To add to all this, the morale at work is low. Really low. I've only been there 3 years, but it's never been this bad. Even the "tenured" teachers (HA! Like there's such a thing as tenure!) are feeling a lot of pressure to perform and perform well. No one wants to help out anymore, and no one feels thanked or appreciated.
Personally, my own morale is in the toilet because of how I'm treated here each day. I complain to Graham about it, and sometimes my friends, but I can't keep complaining about it because that's just not me. That, and I don't want to be that person who always complains so no one takes them seriously anymore. But really, it's bad. My higher-ups are always yelling at me and putting me down. My colleagues are talking to me like they're poised to become my boss. One coworker barged into my office one day and said, "You need to do these thank you notes for me." Um, where was the please? Where was the, "Is now a good time?" And once I did get those notes done, I didn't get a thank you. Another one runs behind my back all the time to report on me to the boss. Any misstep I take, my boss knows about it before I do. Anything I say jokingly is taken the wrong way and sent to my boss, and suddenly I'm explaining myself.
My boss has really taken to speaking to me like a child. I don't think she knows it, and she'd probably deny it, too. For instance, a few weeks ago we held a shadow day, and a bunch of new kids were in the building walking around. Because I had developed the shadow program, I thought I'd be the one to take the kids around the building, explain the day to them, etc. Nope. All my boss said to me, was "Camera ::nodding slowly.....take pictures....::nod slowly::....smile....::nodding still" Seriously. She spoke to me slowly and like I was a child.
A few days later we had more kids in the building, and I was busy...oh shoot, what was I doing...oh yeah. TEACHING. And at the end of the day, "Ange, did you get pictures of those kids?"
Her: Why not?
Me: Um, I was teaching all day. Doing my job.
Seriously. What am I supposed to do? Leave a room full of kids unattended so I can go take photos of kids who aren't technically our students, then send them to a newspaper that won't print them? Or, should I do my job and get to the other junk later? Oy vey.
In staff meetings, I'm given 30 seconds to speak. I'm never given the floor--I need to take it away. When I do have the floor, I get talked over. Clearly, nothing I have to say is of value to anyone in that room, so why continue?
The best part is that I'm not an idiot. I make mistakes, but I'm not stupid. And I hear things. So everything that's said gets back to me (schools are perpetual junior highs, in case you were wondering). What can I do? Right now, nothing. Roll my eyes, grit my teeth, and pray for 3:00.
I know that financially, and even logically, it probably doesn't make sense to anyone why you'd take a paycut or quit your job before you have a new one. Hell, I've openly mocked people for doing just that. The thing is, I just can't put myself through another year of this. The stress this job has put me under has done hellish things to my body, and my mental state is starting to teeter. I've already written a resignation letter. Now it's just a matter of, "What do I do with it?"
So. I've got some things to consider. It's gonna be a long one, folks.
So much for my shortish update, eh?