Tag Archives: work

On Slippery Slopes

The other day while getting drinks with a friend of mine, I told him that sex and the city taught me how to properly talk to men in a seductive way. (I didn’t elaborate then on details and I will not be elaborating now.) And embarrassingly, this was not a lie. But it and the conversation did open my mind up the already interesting conversation I was having with myself surrounding honesty and online communication in a way that I didn’t expect. Allow me to explain…

Lying is wrong

Look, it’s no secret that people lie online. Despite honesty being the best policy and probably one of the very first rules our parents teach us — aside from the obvious ones like, “the dog isn’t supposed to drink out of the toilet and neither are you.” [to be clear: this is not a lesson I had to learn but I have no doubt that kids do the darndest things.] The fact of the matter is that lying seems to come more naturally, in some cases, than telling the truth does because we want to be liked, we want to be loved, we want to be listened to, and most importantly, and in a workplace (which has turned into an online and remote community) in particular, we want to stay employed.

Now before you get on my back no this is not going to take some serious or dramatic drama filled twist about me making bold faced lies to my employer, but something that has been weighing on me is how, when I started this job, I said I was willing to relocate, but when I say that now… it comes with a lot more personal risk and would require quite a few benefits that would have to compensate for living in a place like that.

Lying is (always?) wrong

See I never thought I’d be comparing my professional life to my online dating profile, but unlike most people I know – my dating profile might be a bit more upfront and honest than I can and that I am willing to be in the workplace. For example, online I can be an open book and I can talk about anything – but at work, I can’t talk about quite a few aspects of my personal life and while that’s fair and that’s a choice I make, when it comes to the prospect of living where I work rather than working where I live now, my personal life and the qualities of my personality that I put above most also happen to be the very reasons that I wouldn’t want to relocate to a place where I can’t be my authentic self.

And worse than that, I can’t, after saying that I was interested in relocating for work, suddenly say…. Oh, well, I changed my mind because … ? Because I am queer. Liberal. And female and because I want bodily autonomy. And oh your state is a hostile place for all of those things… And before you tell me “but Rachel, you can do that, you can make that choice” I say – No! I could never say that. Because no one in their right mind would say those things to an employer that works in the state that mine does. Or to any employer for that matter because that would be crazy. And so, logically, but despite my values, I keep my mouth shut. (And yes I realize the sentence structure in this paragraph just took a turn toward absolute trash.)

Lying is always wrong, but omission is a grey area. (right?)

Ok so sure this is a true statement, obviously lying is wrong because, like I said it’s one of the first things our parents teach us as children. But as an adult, sometimes telling lies, or omitting truths can be a way to protect ourselves from very real and dangerous situations. But that’s also why I consider it a slippery slope.

See a little over a month from now I’m going to be taking a trip south to meet my bosses for the first time in person and while I’d love to tell them that that’s the first step to me moving there – I really can’t say that. I can’t tell my bosses that I want to be there because it is only a half truth. And also can’t tell them that I don’t feel safe in their state because that could jeopardize my standing with the firm, so what can I do? What should I do? Do I do like I used to and sex and the city the situation? Meaning, do I tell people what they want to hear at my own expense? Do I tell the truth and face the potentially obvious consequences? Or do I find a middle ground and speak in half truths, only to have to make excuses about why I can’t follow though? None of those sound like good options, so what would you do?

See when it comes to this stuff, you might be able to imagine why it weighs on me. Or you might not. But as an honest person I don’t like having to choose between a paycheck and who I am, and right now that choice is just a risk I’m not willing to take. Even if it could go in my favor. So I guess what I am saying is that I’ve already made my choice, and fan of it or not, slippery slope or not, it’s just one I have to live with.

And maybe you can relate.

5 Parenting Tips you Won’t Find in the Books – With Love, your 17-year-old son.

[Dear parents: As you read this, try to look at these tips with an open mind. I’m not writing just to help teens, but to hopefully help you develop a better and easier relationship with your own teen/young adult.]

The struggle

I’m sure every parent has been through it, that lovely phase of teenage years into adulthood. Sure, being a teen is fun, but as a 17-year-old kid who has had more “real world” experience than most, parenting a kid like me can be a bit…challenging. So today, let me help you – help you because just as I’ve come to realize that a few things that I’ve been taught and that I’ve rolled my eyes at are true, today I want to give you, the parents, some tips from the kid you’re trying to parent that might make your eyes roll into the right direction.

My “teen” experience and yours – they aren’t the same.

Tip 1: Don’t parent your kid based on your experiences as a teenager. One of the things that teens hate to hear from their parents is: “I was your age once too”. And sure, it’s true, you were, but did you live through the same things I do? Were you a teenager in the last 5 years? Did you have threats of school shootings and bullies that could get to you 24 hrs a day? Did you have the expectations of looking like or being with an Instagram model? No? So, with all the current events going on and the technological and social situations, our shared experiences basically start and stop in two places: puberty, and growing pains (general figuring out life stuff).

In other words – just because you COULD HAVE made SOME of the same decisions as your kid (substances and following trends), that doesn’t mean you know everything about them and their experiences now.

Right now, your kids are just growing and figuring life out, just like you had to, just like your parents had to – and you turned out great so trust that we will too.

Insider tip: The number 1 thing that teens need isn’t a false understanding of the struggles we go through – it’s the reassurance of love. So, as long as we know you love us to death, we will make you proud. Just do us both a favor and let us figure out our potential and trust that we’ll ask you or someone else for help if we need it.

**That doesn’t go to say, however, if you see your kid making bad decisions constantly, it’s an obvious sign to ask them what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. Help your kids on things that potentially put themselves and others in danger, but for small issues, trust that you’ve taught them to figure it out.

Crime and Punishment (in two parts)

Tip 2: Punishment is NOT the solution for addiction. This is a HUGE one. Like many kids in my generation – I got into vaping during my sophomore year, and I obviously kept it a secret from my mom. But the way she handled it when she inevitably caught me – is something I will always be grateful for.

Don’t get me wrong, the first time my mom caught me with a vape she punished me – but soon after that she realized that wasn’t going to help – so she tried something that did.

The last time my mom caught me with a vape was the last time I used one. Why? Because instead of punishing me she opened up to me and we had a conversation about it. She said that I wasn’t in trouble and that she wanted to help me stop. And just from her saying that – that was all the help I needed. Seeing my mom in tears telling me she wasn’t going to yell or punish me, and that she wanted to help me stop it, motivated me enough to quit vaping for good. It took a week to get myself off of it but after that, I was done and I’m never going back. And since then, I’ve even trusted my mom enough that when she asked if I’ve ever smoked weed, I answered honestly, and when she explained to me that it’s obviously not good and asked me if I ever plan on doing it again – I confidently and truthfully said no, I’m not.

The takeaway: Doing things like this with your child builds a huge amount of trust and can help in other aspects too. Teens realizing that their parents want to help them instead of “hurt” them (punishing them) will automatically understand and trust their parents more.

Tip 3: Punishments are necessary but try to think about what (and when) certain punishments work for your teen. For me, when I get punished it’s the same thing: I get my electronics taken away. This might not seem like a big deal for some, but keep in mind (tip #1) that most parents today didn’t grow up with these things, and that for kids in today’s world, they make a big impact on our life. SO, while we may not NEED these things to live, we do need them to sustain our way of life and stay connected.

[And to anyone reading this thinking, “yeah – that’s the point, that’s why it’s called a punishment,” and I hear you. But just like punishing your kid struggling with addiction might not work – using the same punishment every time we have any minor or major slip up also doesn’t work. Not to mention, when a parent gets mad, they can call their friend or talk to their spouse but without that technology, we don’t have the support to work through our drama and do better next time.]

And after a while of getting the same punishments, it just becomes routine to us. We learn how to deal with it and work around it instead of evolving and thinking about the reason we are being punished. So instead, mix it up – try taking away something that they haven’t realized is important to them. That way, when the time comes that they need it, they won’t have it and they’ll think to themselves: “Wow. If I didn’t do this, I wouldn’t be in this situation”

Sticks and Stones Definitely Break Bones – But Words they REALLY Hurt Me

Tip 4: If you and your child are in an argument, and there is something you want to say in the heat of the moment that could make it worse, don’t say it. I’ll keep this one short because it explains itself – In certain situations, saying something heated and in the moment can really upset and hurt your kid and if they are in a spiral they’ll spiral even more out of control. We know you’re human, but this is just something to keep in mind. 

Last one, and every mom’s favorite/the most important

Tip 5: Teens may act out and make terrible decisions, and you may fight with them more often than not, but deep down inside, they always love you more than anything. I was a terrible teenager for a few years. I had just started my teenage years when my dad died, and I can admit that I lashed out at my mom and never listened to her. But whenever we got into an argument, I always wanted to apologize immediately after, and most of the time, I felt like garbage and I tried to change.

When it comes to mothers and sons, the worst sight is your mother crying. And just because your kid acts out or is mad at you I can promise you that you aren’t doing that parenting thing wrong, and your kid knows you love them and you do the things you do because you love them.

At the end of the day parenting always has room for improvement, and no one does it perfectly. That’s the wonder of it all. But as a teen who wants to do better and knows how teens learn best hopefully, you got some things out of this, and you really go and use these tips in your parenting journey.

“The Greatest in the World”

“Last name greatest, first name ever…” but when it comes to living in this country, we rarely, if ever, used to ask – but at what cost?

Unpopular opinion: the United States isn’t the greatest country in the world, nor do we, as citizens have the most freedoms of all the countries in the world. So unless you go by the United States definition of “Great,” we aren’t the “Greatest” we’re just the most powerful, and the most likely to defend our ego and our position as the most powerful, at any cost. That said, why am I coming at my country’s throat today? Easy, because this week another state, South Dakota, has passed a bill banning transgender athletes from participating in school sports. But I’m not upset for the reason most people would assume.

“Let the kids play”

So when it comes to the transgender athletes in sports I have no stake in the game. As a cis gender female myself, I obviously cannot speak on behalf of the trans experience… but neither can cis male legislature! And yet they continue to do so. And personally, I think that’s wrong.

Look, as someone who grew up playing sports, someone who lost a incredibly large part of her identity when she walked away and aged out of sports, and someone who genuinely believes and supports the ideals only taught and learned in organized sports – I can completely understand why lawmakers and coaches and athletes want to continue to compete on a level playing field. But the problem they are addressing isn’t genetic advantage, the problem isn’t what genitalia the participant has. It’s bigotry. And it’s transphobia and they are simply hiding behind false platitudes and the fact that trans people aren’t a represented and they aren’t a part of the conversation.

So Rachel, are you saying you think men should be able to play women’s sports? No. But I’d also argue that most male lax players (for example) wouldn’t want to play women’s lax because it’s a much slower and very different game.

But trans women are… They’re women. So they aren’t men playing women’s sports, they’re women playing women’s sports.

But don’t they have different bone structure that would give them a clear advantage? Maybe? I mean there are women in different countries born with different builds that give them a clear, genetic, advantage – so the issue wouldn’t be bone structure or body type it would be estrogen/testosterone levels, and sports test for that when athletes reach a certain level. I mean there are even cases where women who had too much testosterone were not allowed to compete because of it. Truth is, there are exceptions to every rule. So if your best argument is the age old – men are stronger, faster, etc. than women… then I’d just suggest you open a book, because even if the fastest woman in the world is slower than the fastest man, odds are she is still stronger and faster than quite a few men.

Ok… but what about women who want to play mens sports? If that sport isn’t accessible to them, yes. That’s what title 9 is for. But if you meant to ask, can trans men play mens sports? Yes, let the men who train and qualify for that level of play, play the mens league sports.

So this is just some feminist bs? Not at all. It’s debunking the idea that men and women are trying to cross boundaries when it comes to playing sports, because all this legislation says is that they don’t accept trans men and women are men and women and thus it’s not about sports it’s about transphobia. And at the end of the day it’s not about what we as cis people believe or don’t believe. It’s about respect – and not just for our fellow man. But for the game as well.

Show your work

I am going to say this once and I’m going to say this loud. If you don’t understand someone’s experience, and you haven’t made every attempt to within the bounds of your existence to walk a mile in their shoes — You have no right whatsoever to make decisions on their behalf.

There’s no grand plot to indoctrinate your kids to the queer or trans “agenda” there’s no law that says – if we give them more, we get less. Or if “they” compete, we will lose. And from my perspective, people don’t transition so they can get a leg up, they don’t transition to be olympians – they do it to finally and for the first time in their lives have the world see them in a way they have always seen themselves. And I’m sorry if anyone disagrees with that — but frankly, it’s not about YOU.

RESPECT – the basics

If you don’t have a uterus, you can’t understand the cost of carrying or birthing a child let alone the decision whether or not to terminate.

If you are not trans and have never spoken to someone who is, how can you begin to understand what decisions they might want to make, let lone now incredibly difficult that journey toward becoming their true selves actually was.

Are you religious? Don’t apply your theological interpretations to someone who follows a different faith. And if you don’t believe in God – don’t invalidate someone who does.

Are you straight? Then why do you spend so much time thinking about how wrong it is that someone might be gay, and why assume that their love for another person is different than yours? Or that your faith will condemn them, when they may believe in something entirely different. Stop looking at love from a purely sexual lens because news flash. There’s more to relationships than who and how frequently you sleep with someone. And stop pushing your beliefs at someone who has developed their own.

Understanding nuances

Look, I know that this is a polarizing topic. I know that my opinions are probably unpopular ones. But I’m not being unreasonable by wishing for a world that allows people to freely represent themselves as a genuine part of the conversation.

I’d love to believe that everyone could live and coexist with one another, I’d love to believe that this country wasn’t built on the blood of immigrants and the bones of natives AS WELL AS the backs of people who fought for our freedoms in various capacities. I’d love to believe that we could all simply respect each other and that people could believe in all people being created equal. But I know that’s not true. So I can’t be surprised that this is happening. And why be mad when it’s not happening to me? Well that much is simple. It’s not about me – it’s about keeping those whom it does concern out of the conversation because frankly, no one should decide who gets to be heard and who gets silenced. And if the United States was actually the greatest country in the world. Maybe we’d do a better job at acting like it.

Prepared but not panicked

Remember when we were kids? When our mom or our teachers told us to play the quiet game? Remember how hard it was to take that seriously? Remember being that person to end the game because you knew it was crap? Well the way I see it, the recent outbreak of COVID-19 is very similar. Why? Because while data shows that social distancing is proven to reduce the spread and break the curve of highly transmittable diseases like this one – people my age (early to mid 20s) can’t or rather won’t seem to comply because they either 1. don’t take it seriously or 2. they would rather risk it and party.

So let’s change the rules of the quiet game. Let’s make it a little more serious.

Say you are in a classroom and suddenly there is an intruder drill. Do you stay quiet? Do you comply with the rules? Of course you do. Because there is a threat to life and a threat to the way of life that your family and friends know. You stay quiet and lay low in this instance because if something happens to you or if you make a lot of noise it effects those around you.

The way I see it, going out and partying right now – When organized sports are shutting down, when the economy is struggling, and when you have older parents at home is selfish.

Now let’s get one thing or rather a couple things straight. I’m not saying panic – the last thing we need to do is panic (or buy tons of toilet paper) but this is not a game and this is not a drill. There is an intruder in our country, there is a virus that threatens the way of life we know and with it has come a choice. We can lay low and quiet ourselves for a couple weeks to mitigate its effects or we can make noise and party and break the rules and it’ll last longer.

In a lot of ways the past week has been a test of immediate gratification – and young people are failing because they think or know that the risk to themselves is low.

In other words why wait til the cookie is cold to eat it. If I burn my mouth so what? I’ll be fine in a week – so what’s the worry?

The problem with this is that some of us. People like me. Have older families. We have friends that are elderly who have pre existing conditions. We have people whom we wouldn’t dare come into contact with because if we are a carrier, the last thing we want is to threaten them.

Some of us are taking this game seriously because we know that by doing so it will end sooner and we can go back to our lives, our jobs, and our parties.

Look I’m never here to tell you what to do. And I’m not a doctor so I don’t know how bad this really is or how bad it can get (although Italy is a good indication). But I do know one thing. I’d rather give one month of my life up to lay low and mitigate harm than take months from someone else. I know that I am a believer of how bad this can get if we aren’t smart and that I plan on doing my part in all of this even if it really sucks for me.

In this time of uncertainty it is important to be prepared not panicked and hopefully, if we all do our part – everything will go back to normal before we know it.

Stay healthy out there.

Post grad grumpies

At 23 I have already perfected the art of settling. I have a good job, good friends, money in the bank and food in the cupboard. I have some stuff I don’t need and almost all the things I do.

From the outside looking in some might be jealous, some would criticize my apparent lack of gratitude, and others would chose not to care. From the outside looking in you would assume I’m happy – and I should be – but I’m not.

But why?

Well, Im quickly realizing that the problem with having a good job at 23 is that both ourselves and the world assume that we should be grateful. But if you know you deserve more out of life a good job can feel a lot more like a bad boyfriend (partner). Where you know the relationship is toxic but you’re grateful for the opportunity to be valued and loved. And isn’t that exactly what settling is? Being grateful but knowing that something isn’t right?

At this point in my life I can’t say I pushed for many of the opportunities that have come my way. And it isn’t that I haven’t worked hard on this that or the other, but at the same time 9/10 times I didn’t ask to end up where I am – I just shrugged and said yes. And until recently I’ve come to think that this was normal. That, this is how we adult, this is how we grow up. But it’s not is it?

To break it down: a post grad perspective of what I assumed life after college and grad school was supposed to look like…

We find a job, count ourselves lucky, take it graciously, settle in to daily routines and then, like an arranged marriage we expect and hope that we will fall in love with what we do. (This situation more often applies to people who don’t know exactly what they want to do out of school or don’t end up working somewhere like Disney or Google or Pinterest or what have you) And for a lot of people, or at least the ones I follow, the jobs they have found after graduating have seemed to click. These people for whatever reason seem (externally at least) happy. And of course, maybe this isn’t true or maybe it is – but on behalf of those who are struggling to love what we do and those looking at their job like a relationship they’ve settled into – I don’t think that this is what life is meant to be about.

So yeah, at 23 I’ve all but perfected the art of settling – or at least it feels that way. And for a lot of things and a lot of reasons I should be grateful and I should count myself lucky. But I guess the problem with that is that when you know you deserve better and when you know you can be so much more – the post grad gratefuls can feel a lot more like post grad grumpies and for me, that’s not something I ever dreamed of doing.

Service and Self-Care

Love more, stress less!

Through my national service, I’ve learned that service is more than the day-to-day of what your site asks for. Service is building relationships, increasing morale, and creating a legacy; it’s  learning more about yourself.

(Picture from healthpsychtam.com)

As AmeriCorps Leaders, we try our best to make the most positive impact on our host sites and on the people we serve through them. We spend time training and learning how to provide for our communities but it’s important to not let ourselves get burnt out.
At my site, the faculty and staff periodically host socials where we can check in with one another and try to have a sense of humor when construction at school gets disruptive. Just the other day, the Missoula Alliance Church came to one of these socials and gave us all free lattes to help keep our energy levels up as we engage with middle schoolers. It’s the little things that help us ground ourselves amidst hectic times. 
Other than free lattes, I have a few tactics I use to assist me in maintaining my mental health:

1. Practicing gratitude and meditation
This has aided me in my ability to help myself when I’m alone at my site. Breaths are like little love notes to your body so letting yourself breathe is a good start to your self-care routine. The same goes for gratitude, reminding yourself why you are here, how you got here, and what good you have in your life can make a bad day more manageable. There is so much to be grateful for!

2. If you are an outdoorsy person like me, hiking can create healing: 
I go on hikes when I’m not serving to help me relax. Hiking allows me to exercise, access more companionship, and take in good ole’ Vitamin D. It provides a space where I can just let nature nurture me.

3. Write down what you feel
: In AmeriCorps (especially as leaders) we are encouraged to journal about our experiences. This can be quite cathartic. It gets our thoughts and our struggles out of our heads and onto paper making everything much more manageable.

4. Reach out: 
You are never alone so please don’t be afraid to reach out to those around you in an appropriate manner (do have boundaries for yourself and respect people’s limits). It can be hard to start service and not have a big social circle right away. I’ve found that joining MeetUp groups and talking to other leaders can be great ways to start building friendships.

5. Remember, everyone is different:
 It’s okay if none of these techniques work for you, just remember that your mental health matters! Not only is it incredibly challenging to help others without helping yourself, but your physical health can actually start to deteriorate when your mental health is poor. Stress weakens your immune system, so finding ways to achieve both basic and luxurious self-care is super vital for your service work and personal life.
Think of fulfilling your needs like a pie:
Each time you eat one piece of it (or fulfill one part of it), you get to have another piece. Needs-fulfillment pie is possibly even better than regular pie (stay with me here) because when you finish it, you feel rejuvenated instead of lethargic and too full to move. In my experience, as long as you have a balance with your service work and your self-improvement work, you’ll never be too full; rather, whole.
Here are some resources that have helped me and maybe they can help you! I’m mental health first aid certified and I want share things I actually use/listen to/read regularly:
And as always call: 1-800-273-8255 or text 741741, and look up resources in your area with this link: https://twloha.com/find-help/. You are loved, valued, and never alone. I hope this article helps you or someone 

PS. I originally posted this on Montana Campus Compact’s website and it helped a lot of people so I thought that it would be fitting for my first post here !!

What i Learned in Year One

Its been almost a month since i ended my first year at my first job Finally working the job that i dreamed about during those late night capstone revisions and early morning red-bull fueled walks to my assistantships. Its hard to believe that i made it here and there are still days where i look on my door and see my name with a masters degree. For those of the readers who don’t know, i am a Residence Hall director, i work as a advisor for a residence hall and have the duties of keeping students safe while also developing them to become better humans. Its been a fast paced couple of months with too many lessons to count. However finally i have the time to process it all.

Now that the summer months are upon me and i finally have time to reflect and start to develop some sort of standards and operating guidelines, or my handbook so to speak i try to write to this page what i believe i have learned and stuck with me for next year. This isn’t a manual that is meant to be published or one that many will follow because, well, its not for them. I write about this to make a digital testament to myself of how far i have come since starting this job. Its sometimes hard to write a list like this, because some of life’s lessons you have learned you want to share with the world and others you want to lock the secrets of success away so you don’t let it go and let anyone else find out. However, i don’t think these are secrets to most, but to me they are new discoveries of myself and my role.

The Things i learned in Year One:

  1. You’re gonna make some dumb mistakes, but it shows you’re human, use it to connect.
  2. Imposter syndrome is fucking legit, but its also a trap, you’re meant to be right where you are.
  3. Don’t compare yourself to your mentors, they were there developing how you could do something, now you have to find your own way to answer everything.
  4. Even when you mess up, it wont change people’s view of how you get your shit done.
  5. Ask a lot of questions instead of sitting around. When you learn you plan, when you plan you know what to do. You’re young in this field might as well take everything and filter it as you go.
  6. Don’t forget about your friends, even with a full time job you should take time to see them, they miss you.
  7. Have patience with stupidity, they may never get smarter but its better than you getting dumber in the process
  8. DON’T EAT AT THE SAME 2 RESTAURANTS, YOU’RE GONNA GET FAT (Unless you work out, then go ahead)
  9. Sometimes you need to put your head down, do your job and go home. Other days, make sure you pick up your head, you might miss something.
  10. You’re gonna have days where the soul and flesh aren’t willing. All you can do is sit, process it whether that is yelling on a car ride in the night or taking a smoke break. Then pick yourself out of the dirt and get on with the day.
  11. Don’t let yourself get personally involved in a conduct case, it clouds your judgement.
  12. Anger gets you no where, be kind but don’t let anyone get in your fucking way.
  13. Remember when you play the game of politics you either win or you make bad enemies
  14. Just remember the ” little people” will be your best foundation and best resources. Keep them on your hip
  15. Support your co workers, they are your only entertainment and its better to not piss them off.
  16. Trust your staff, they trust you and they want that reciprocated.
  17. Stop acting old and talking about experience you had, this isnt story time
  18. The golden rule still goes a long way even when you are 24.
  19. Theory is nice and all but youre gonna make something up on the fly to explain the impossible.
  20. You are only human, and there will be dark days ahead but you can be super human on multiple occasions.
  21. Dont take it personal when a staff member quits, it was never on you and they dont blame you for leaving. Just be supportive.
  22. Enjoy the job, this is what you dreamed about in classes and capstone. As the saying goes, Drive it like you stole it.
  23. They look up to you, even when you are upset they look up to you, take up the mantle and be the leader they need you to be
  24. Dont drink redbull until you are on duty.
  25. Be the RD you know you can be, fun but stern. Dedicated but direct, hard nosed but understanding.

Its a job i take great pride in; i can not thank those who gave me a chance to prove myself in this field. I can’t wait to continue to learn and add to this list with a redux next year about what i learned in year two.

The Lights Go Out; Burnout at Its Finest

Its a go, go go kinda world where we are in the finest of clothes but not the finest of minds. What a world we live in where the deadlines are sometimes the endgame, the only thing that matters after all. We balance our work and our dedication to the individual tasks that we are assigned with the delicate inter-workings of our basic human needs and desires. Our minds go until we tell them to take a breathe and decompress from all the stress we inflict upon them unfortunate for them we rarely do. We tend to go until the light and energy is depleted and we work with our emotions which barely have anything in the tank to operated.

I know in my role, i invest a lot of time and emotion in to the work that i do. As a person who is in higher education, my emotions tend to bleed into the role and it is my job to realize it and to stop the metaphorical bleeding. Its tough, there are long nights and early mornings, long calculated ideas and short off the cuff reactions. It gets to me ever so often. I tell myself to talk it out or not to invest too much into issue past the 4:30 whistle, there is a catch. i have the hooks in too deep, i’m too invested and it takes away from me. I cant always get out my own way and that can break my confidence from time to time and make me second guess if i’m some imposter and shouldn’t even be here. There are just sometimes i feel like a candle, burning the wick away.

Burnout is a real thing we all talk about it but really never do anything until its too late. We want to ignore the fact that the wick is burning too fast and still light our way with it. This hasn’t ever help one soul, if anything by ignoring the burnout you create an accelerant to the issue. To acknowledge the issue is to make the first steps in creating a slower burn. I think we all conceive the notion that we can reverse the damage by burnout and in fact that isn’t how you can solve the issue. We all burnout from time to time, that is inevitable but its what you do when you see it coming that changes the path of the person and there isn’t one correct way to go.

I have seen people ask for time off, change areas or even go to a different job because they felt that would make them happy. In the end, you need to be happy with the things you do that is one of the best ways to prevent burnout. There will always be things that frustrate you in your line of work but what needs to make you happy is the things at your core, what makes you come back for more each and every day for work. If you don’t have it you’ll find it somewhere either where you are now or where you will be going. Happiness is what we try to strive for but we sometimes just need to work a little harder to find it. I will have to take this journey very soon, the one where i can establish my core and figure out if this is what i want to be doing, is this worth all the emotional drainage? Am i even Happy? It will take a while but i think that i will find what i’m looking for very shortly.

If you are burning out, don’t feel like you are alone in this issue. Many of us fellow awkward adults are debating this many a times a day and some have found their answer and some are just starting to look. All you need to do as a start is to think. because i don’t think you should let the light burnout quite yet, you’re gonna need that soon.

Why children are the best hype team you could ever ask for

need a quick self-esteem boost? hang out in an elementary school for a day

Think I’m joking?  Let me tell you a bit about what I experience at my job…

To start, kids see everything.  And believe it or not, they understand everything too.  It may be in a different way than adults, but they understand.

And they REMEMBER.

Upon first meeting, you might be greeted with a “whoa, you’re really pretty,” and “wait, how are you not married?? You’re so pretty!” and so the first few minutes of the school day turn into life lesson time.

After that, they’ll ALWAYS comment when you change your hair, or your nail color, or wear different shoes, or get a new sweater (or wear the same one two weeks in a row – oops).  But they will also always tell you how much they love having you around.

Seriously, they’ll always compliment you.  It might be 30 seconds after they threw a pair of scissors at you, but they’ll do it.  How many of your adult friends do that??

(hopefully none of them throw things at you.  if they do, please find new friends).

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When you’re absent for just a day and you come back to swarms of “where were you?” “why didn’t I see you” and “I missed you!” And when they see you leaving for the day they holler from across the room “bye! I love you!”

From time to time, they’ll call you ‘mom’ or ‘dad,’ and get embarrassed when they realize their mistake.  Just last week I had a first grade girl call me ‘mom’ by accident, and when she noticed, she just said “well I love you like I love my mom, so same thing, right? anyway can you help me read this word?”
Unphased.

Sometimes they’ll just tell you they want you to be their mom instead of who they have now.  Then you need to discuss how they love their mom and just wish for you to be in their lives, which you MUST promise you will be ‘forever and ever’ before turning back to the task at hand.

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Or when you get to work with your hair up and no makeup because you just couldn’t get out of bed in time that morning, and a student says to you “how do you look so gorgeous today?” and you cant help but smile.

Because they aren’t just your normal friends being polite, they genuine believe it.

Maybe there’s that preschooler who ALWAYS asks to see what color your coffee is (because that one time you brought in matcha tea and it was green, her face was absolutely priceless).  And eventually they notice when you come in lacking said coffee cup, and ask if you need to go run out and get one before we start class because they know how much you love it (and how it keeps you ‘happy’).  So the sarcastic first grader offers to watch your class this morning while you run to the coffee shop – as if you’d let him be in charge for but a second.

When they use their free time to write you a book (with only pictures, of course) but their face lights up with pride when you smile and ‘read’ it with them.

Do your adult friends write/draw you personalized picture books for fun?  No?  Hmm.

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Or when you finally change out of that sweater and wear colorful clothing, your whole day is filled with 2nd graders saying “I like your pants, I like your shoes.” They, naturally, start mimicking each other so you end up with 15 kids spending 3 whole minutes of class just telling you how much they like your outfit.

When they see you in the morning and their tiny little legs wind up and start running over to you, huge smile across their face, and you brace for them to ram into you in an attempt at a big hug.
How many of your adult friends give you running start hugs so you can embrace and lift them off the ground, all while giggling like it’s the best thing that’s happened to them all week?

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With my job, some days I have to be a caring mom.
Some days, I have to be the strict mom.
Some days, I have to be the typical teacher and make them actually learn a thing or two.
Some days, I have trouble getting out of bed so early in the morning, to wear one of these hats for 25+ children, that aren’t even my own.
But by week 2, they feel like my own, and they make me want to get up every day.

They have their tantrums, and defiant moments.
They have their sick days and sneeze on your face.

But they never fail to do some small thing, a small act of kindness, a small sentence or the tiniest hint of showing you how much they love you.

You – their surrogate parent.
You – their caretaker for almost 10 months of the year.
You – the one they come to and listen to and love with their little hearts, because they know you love them right back.
You – who knew you wouldn’t be able to get through they day without at least one of them making you crack a smile.

Because as much as we love our adult friendships, working with children gives you the most adorable, no-strings attached hype team for life.

And I think we could all stand to learn a bit about this kindness and love from the tiny humans.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

It isn’t about Looks

Some hypothesize that attractive people benefit from their looks – and while it would be ignorant to outright declare that wrong – it is also completely wrong to assume that looks grant total liability on your entire life’s successes.

Today one of the most detrimental things to say to a young woman or girl is that she is beautiful. Part of this is because no one wants to be one thing or labeled as simply beautiful. In other words a young woman dares to be intelligent, strong, and beautiful. 

Considering the controversy it is also important to talk about beauty not only as a weakness but as a theoretical strength.  Truth is, as a woman, some assume that looks can give an extra nudge toward landing that ideal position – but that only gets you so far. Women in today’s workforce have to be strong, intelligent, stubborn but not difficult, and powerful to land a job – so while looks may come into play (if they do) the way one carries herself is what determines the roles she will play in business.

Here are three tips to rock an interview and be remembered –

  1. Dress the part – I was in an interview once and my bandeau fell down half way through, my interviewer did not notice (thank heavens) but wearing something that makes you confident and keeps you covered is key.
  2. Walk in with a purpose – know the role you are interviewing for, be confident and most importantly, be yourself. Despite what we are made to think – they are not hiring your resume… they are hiring you!
  3. Ditch the heavy makeup, go more natural – how you look matters but being comfortable and competent doesn’t mean having a face that doesn’t match the rest of your body. trust your skills rather than your looks.

Keeping these tips in mind I have a challenge for all my ladies and even my mans this week. Whether you are working or in school or looking for a job this week – enter everyday with confidence. Walk into class or work or an interview with a smile that lights up the room, embrace bravery rather than beauty and remind yourself how amazing you are. 

At the end of the day, the world may be trying to label us – but we are so much more than what they see on the outside. Act with integrity and be yourself – because beauty may only skin deep but you are much more incredible than that.

Late Notice

OK. Stop me if you heard this one before. You apply for the job, get an interview (maybe even a second) and you wait to hear back. Then you’re stuck to wait and wait, and wait, and wait, and wait until finally!!!!

They don’t have an opening anymore.

GOD does this bug me!

I am hired and working happily at a place where i love to go to work every day, work with great co workers, and in my biased opinion  have the best supervising role for ten outstanding kids. What gets me going is the fact of how the companies, or where ever we choose to work, they perch you up next to others on a shelf and drop people into the trash as they figure out who’s the best candidate for the job however what i get upset is when good talent is forced to rot on that shelf. You wait for a job that you really want and you are forced to wait even if you send out applications to other institutions or places of work. Its unfair to you, the applicant, when waiting becomes your worst enemy especially after you have the second round interview where you have the most hope of landing the job.

It is not that hard to say no thank you. 

I rather be told upfront that i am not fit for the job or they like someone else. I get to move on with my search and they get their person. It is that simple. It is not like that, you get left to sit up on a shelf helpless until you get a response.  I know many good people who are still looking for a job but they get hung out to dry with the jobs and even tho i am biased, i can still tell who is a good catch for employers. Even Gibbs from the CBS Show “NCIS” has a great rule about this kind of stuff. ” YOU DONT WAIST GOOD” Yet people will waste good until its going going gone.

My favorite thing is now that i am employed, i am getting a lot of feedback from the places i interviewed giving me the automatic HR response. I just mark it as spam at this point. Its not even worth writing back to them or acknowledging it because it is a opportunity that has long passed. I am happier where i am now that i was ever going to be in these other places that left me with a notice that is long overdue.

Now, I am guessing if you are reading this, you’re experiencing the same thing.

What i advise you to do is keep pumping out those resumes and get into those phone interviews. Especially if this is your first real world, post college job you have to be very proactive for that job. If you wait around then you are letting yourself rot on a shelf. Once you apply there will be waiting periods, but this doesn’t mean you have to wait around. Start prepping what you are gonna say in the interview, how you want to look on a Skype interview, or what connections you have to the organization you are applying for that you can somewhat get activated. Basically start the fire and keep your irons in to prepare for what might happen. If the company takes their sweet time with a response and you feel like you are getting stale, take the risk and get off the shelf. You do not have to take this systems crap, you can move on to another place, maybe that is where you were meant to be.

Basically, their late notice is their loss.

Why does it have to be your leash?

An Open Letter to the Service Industry

To the guy who denied my friend a seat in his restaurant because of an allergy…. really? To the woman at the coffee shop drive-through who yelled at my friend when she ordered a hand full of things for a full car of middle schoolers, are you serious?

This summer I have heard more horror stories than ever before. and as an advocate for my friends, I can’t stay silent even if I also understand the other side.

For years I worked on a line at a local burrito shop. We had good customers and bad ones. We had people who cared and people who cursed. We had people who cheated for a quick discount and we had people who paid more than expected to give us a nice tip at the end of the night. That being said, anyone working in the service industry I salute you and thank you for the incredible work you do [mostly without thanks].

But on the other hand, that does not give you the right to take it out on your customer.

SO … while I understand the risks and liabilities of allergies in a food-based business, so do the owners, and as such it is their job to make the proper steps toward the safety of their patrons.

It is never right to attack or verbally assault a customer that has not done harm – it is not a business right to disclose a customers information, to kick them out or use profanities in the presence of children.

So as an open letter to the service industry – it’s not where you eat – its who you meet and sometimes that can make all the difference for your day.