On my lengthy drive to work Monday morning, the radio personalities were polling listeners about the top 5 worst things that a friend could say to you after a bad break up. The most common taboo lines included things like: 'I didn't like him anyway, You can do better, He'll be back, Best thing that could have ever happened to you, and We should have a girls night out.' Although it's been a while since I've been through a break up, things are constantly breaking in my world. I ask the kids regularly, 'Who broke this?' Honest answers are hard to come by, but I ask anyway. I just referenced the adage 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it', last week. I was referring to our dishwasher that was replaced about 5 years ago by my folks as a gift . . . despite the fact that the older washer was still functioning. Loud and ugly, but functioning. The new, fancy, costly dishwasher had lemon-like qualities and broke down constantly. Bummer. Last week's break down sent me over the edge, and I raced out and replaced it. No actual 'break up' experience of late though.
As I approached my exit off the expressway for work, my stomach lurched a little. I reminded myself that if this was the end of the line for this job, it wouldn't really bother me. This mind set did the trick for me. I relaxed, and so did my stomach. For several months the hiccups in my part time job were hard to overlook. I work at a Catholic School as an Advancement Director. Aspects of the job included marketing, PR, and running an Annual Fund. I was encountering enough red tape to re-coat several fire engines, making it difficult to accomplish much of anything. No approval to get the baby bibs screen printed with my cute catch phrase meant I was unable to distribute these gifts to newly baptized babies in hopes of building future enrollment. My goal to pole current school parents in order to gather testimonials for marketing materials was refused. My attempt to run another annual fund was not given consideration. The vibe was annoying, and I had basically decided that I wouldn't return after the much needed summer break. A long commute was hardly worth driving if at the other end the work was unsatisfying and unappreciated. The red flags flapped so hard I practically had to duck to avoid being hit in the face.
One of my responsibilities included posting school activities on the school Facebook page. After I hosted a mom and tot play date on the school's playground one morning, I uploaded the photos to the computer and prepared to post them. Facebook flashed a message alerting me to the fact that the password for my log-in had been changed last week. Seriously. I visited with the principal and asked him if he was interested in me returning next year. He delivered some bull story about how he'd have to examine his budget once the teachers confirmed that they were returning or not. This information has already been communicated to him. Contracts have been signed. His lengthy response concluded with: 'At this time no, but that could change.' He shared that the 8th grade teacher would be assigned to social media and marketing next school year. This explained why I literally bumped into the dynamic Skipper and Gilligan duo at my off site, monthly marketing meeting last week where they expressed excitement across the table from each other in loud whispers over the marketing concepts being introduced. (Skipper = over weight principal, and Gilligan = the gangly, 24 year old, male 8th grade teacher). His closing remark referenced how busy I was and that I had to deal with sick kids at home from time to time. Oops. Was he really so clueless that he didn't realize these comments are unlawful? While I had no problem with the school 'going in a different direction' or making budget cuts, I struggled with the ill treatment I received after dedicating three years to the position. Besides the sneaky Facebook password change, I realized that they had unlinked the twitter account to the Facebook page thus crippling my PR posting on Twitter. Were they worried I would post something inappropriate on either site? Being treated as a hostile employee who had been caught defacing school property was a bit unnecessary and bazaar.
Three years ago when I started in this position, I never dreamt that I would stick it out for this long. Not including my two and a half years as a dedicated high school employee at Burger King, every job I've held has been classified as a newly created position. Translation: we aren't sure what this job will entail, but we need a warm body and we will figure it out as we go. When the description fails to match up with the actual responsibilities, I search for a better fit. Coach was serious when he asked me if three years (with summers off) was the longest I ever worked anywhere. Currently my substitute teaching gig pays almost the same as my advancement job minus the commute and the red tape. It also allows me the flexibility to choose my work schedule on a day to day basis, which is obviously great for dealing with sick kids.
It dawned on me as I drove home that the break up comments mentioned on the radio that morning were equally relevant in a job termination scenario.
'We should have a girls night out' I'm never opposed to a girls' night out, but I'm also not down-in-the-dumps enough to require a night of rehashing the negative aspects of the job with girlfriends. Coach and I did take the kids out to dinner that night. We had a gift card/coupon that was nearing it's expiration. I also hadn't devised a gluten free dinner menu since my Celiac disease diagnosis. (I admit to eating the same crock pot pork recipe for about 10 days. Certainly pushing the envelope on 'fresh'). I hadn't revealed the job loss situation to the younger kids, but there must have been some conversing about it on the way home from the restaurant. Mini yelled from the back of the 12 seater van, "Mommy, did you really get FIRED today?" I chose the 'eliminated position' term when I clarified whatever the older boys had been sharing with her.
'He'll be back.' The Skipper eluded to a possible need for my services in the future with his 'that could change' comment. Although I am very confident after the way my final days were handled that that would never happen, my hope is that he loses my number.
'I didn't like him anyway' Any boss that admits that teachers are upset when a newspaper edits a story and jumbles up the facts, isn't worth liking in the first place. In January I submitted an article to the newspaper about a few of our teachers who were either nominated or recognized with an award. The newspaper printed the story with major errors after an attempt to edit it. The teacher who was nominated appeared to have won, while the winning teacher was simply nominated. When I arrived at work, the Skipper admitted to me in a less than gentle way that the teachers were upset. Of course if he had bothered to read the article that I shared with him prior to sending it off to the paper, he would have been able to diffuse the situation by assuring the teachers that it was not my mistake, but the paper's.
'Best thing that could have ever happened to you' I've been wishing for more time to write. I hope to focus more on my blog now that I have a few extra days to dedicate to it . . . if my kids can stop getting sick all of the time. Wink, wink, nudge.
'You can do better' I do believe that given the right set of circumstances a lucky employee would be fortunate to have me. At this point I will wait for that employer to come along, but I refuse to pound the pavement in search of the perfect boss. Fingers crossed that the blog builds to a regular gig, because I have sworn off newly-created-positions.
After my recent 'break up' experience, I found breaking up not so hard to do!