Gut instinct or stick list?

Sometimes, is best to go with your gut instinct, or just go to the Stick List?

Minerva [the library aide] has been away ill all week, and I was solo for most of it, then someone with the power decided they would arrange for an untrained casual to come in “to help me catch up”. Kind thought, poor execution.

I tried to circumvent, but the arrangements had been made, and unlike the real world, they wouldn’t renege on the deal. That’s what I get for working for a religious school – they have a Christian spirit. Who would have thought that, in the modern workplace? Sssshhhh.

I know that most people think that people who work in libraries sit around reading books and magazines all day, but in truth a lot of very detailed work goes on in the background, both physical and technical. Sending me a person who knows next to nothing in a moment of crisis is not a help. She is a lovely woman, and wants to be helpful, but there is no way I am going to allow her to mess with Minerva’s systems. You saw Minerva, she eats casual employees for morning tea, if they last that long (she is my kind of woman, but only if I am her boss).

The time to send a casual employee is when we are not pushed to the edge and have time to train people; otherwise it is a little like trying to teach someone to swim while you are all drowning.

The casual is a very pleasant woman, but she wants to work in the library on a permanent basis. She mentions this every two minutes. The pressure from her repeating her want is almost worse than the fact that she can do little to assist me without me showing her first.  I have taken to hiding in my office, which is not easy as it has glass walls. At other times I have banished her to shelf reading, which is one of the most tedious jobs in the world, up there will counting the grains of sand into an hour glass.

The fact that there is no vacant position and no plans for another library aide in the near future is not deterring her. I told her to find out about studying a library technicians course, as that is who I would be looking to hire if I have any input, when the time comes. I would need someone who has some real IT skills, to maintain blogs and web pages, and of course catalogue books, websites and electronic resources. I hope she takes the hint, because she is starting to get under my skin. STICK LIST annoying.

Let’s be honest, the best way to get a job is to take every opportunity to impress while you are on the job. I have been quite happy with the work that she has completed, but there is just something that my instinct is  trying to tell me – that she might be one to slacken the pace once through the door. I can’t cite evidence, but my Flamingo Dancer instincts just suspect something.  High alert!

What makes it more difficult is the fact that she is also one of the parents. We have to remember that she is a customer as well as an employee and I do wish they wouldn’t employee parents in this manner. We need to be careful what we say, as they are in the parent cohort and of course the gossip spreads like a virus, so we say no evil, which in itself is an added stress.  Worse still, it means I have to do extended periods of nice, and we know how I deal with that, don’t we dear reader? Not well.

So TGIF and a rejuvenated, hearty constitution to Minerva!

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We all have a path to take; sometimes it’s hidden under a damn big pile of weeds though

I can not tell you what a difference knowing I have secure and permanent employment has made to my mindset. In 2008, I was made redundant from the Basement of Discontent, and I know I chose to retrain as a teacher, but I feel as though I have wandered in the wilderness ever since. Four years of constant stress and poverty, living from contract to contract; never any income across the summer break. I believe, however, that I did the right thing in going back to university to study full time at the age of fifty, and I am sure that I would never have achieved the security, nor the job satisfaction that I have now, otherwise.

I feel so much lighter as though a burden really has been lifted. I also feel confident and finally have belief in my knowledge and abilities. If only employers realised what a burden they place on the contract or casual worker. If they want productivity to increase they need to offer security to their staff.

It has been a long road, with so many ups and downs, broken dreams and hopes but now I feel as though the tide has turned and that good times are coming our way (yes, I am trying to see how many clichés I can put into one sentence!)

As I have said previously, I finally feel as though I am contributing something to my community, I have the joy of working with people that I really enjoy working with, and I am happier than I have ever been in any workplace. At this moment, I feel a very rich woman.

Just remind me of this when I start to complain in a day or two, as no doubt I will, for we forget our good fortune all too easily.

Did I tell you that I found a knife carved from wood under one of the couches in the library? The deputy principal called it a pretty good imitation of a “shank”, all I know is that it had a pretty sharp point and with a bit of tape and paint would have passed for the real thing. I bet the student was disappointed on the way to rob the 7/11 to discover they had dropped their wooden knife.

If only they turned their talents to good…

word salad

I woke up one morning early last week to a Paul Simon song and now the lyrics “who am I to blow against the wind” have been on repeat in my incredible brain ever since.

So, here, have it in your head and maybe it will leave me alone!

The song was in the back of my head all week and what a week it was. My aide was away ill for two days, then I had to rush off to a job interview, which led to an offer of full time permanent employment at the school I have been teaching at all year (it was only a year contract to end of November). When the other school phoned to check my references they decided to finally tell me I am doing a “fantastic job” and that they wanted me to stay permanently. As I have been very happy there, and better the devil you know and the devil you don’t I agreed. And kids are kids wherever you go!

So maybe not blowing against the wind was just the attitude I needed. But now, it is all yours. Listen to it once, listen to it twice, just take it out of my head!

[And oh, what I know I know, is that you don’t ever let anyone else set your agenda. You need to do what feels right in your gut and your heart. Take responsibility and be resilient.]

say cheese, eat cake

My adoring entourage paid homage to me, as they should.

One of the office staff, who share part of our library building, baked a cheesecake as a belated birthday cake for me. I was surprised with it this morning, along with a chorus of happy birthday from the people I work closest with.

As I have mentioned before, I have been given the gift of landing in a wonderful school this year, and an opportunity to work in the field that I love (libraries!). The circle of staff that I share each day with are the most amazing people that I have met in a long, long time. They are open, honest, humorous, selfless and intelligent.

It has been a difficult week for us all. We are all still reeling from the shock of our colleague, who also shared the building with us; and I have had my Mum’s health issues (still in hospital) to deal with. I think it was good therapy for all of us to feast on decadent cheesecake and laugh together for awhile. We all stepped lighter for the rest of the day.

Our friend’s funeral is on Monday. They can’t officially close the school, but they have offered the students the choice of staying home, or attending the funeral accompanied by a parent. However, there will be a few students who can’t stay at home and don’t want to go to the funeral. I am one of three teachers who offered to stay back at the school to supervise any students who come to school that day. I felt that it was what our friend would have done, and something I could do in his memory. It will be a sad day for all.

So, a sugar high was gladly welcomed today as was their gift of friendship.

Of course I am Flamingo Dancer, what is not to love?

Monday resolutions

I love my job, in case you haven’t noticed yet. 2012 has been such a turn around from 2011, and not a day goes by that I don’t remind myself how fortunate I am, and to send another wish into the cosmos that the bubble doesn’t burst any time soon; or preferably ever.

When I took the decision to go back to university and become a teacher in late 2008, so late in 2008 that it was Boxing Day 2008, just days away from the close of applications for a January 16th start, I had no idea what would happen. I just knew that it was my last chance to change careers. Time was ticking away and the window of opportunity doesn’t stay open for long after a person hits the age of fifty.

So, how does that fit with my 2012 resolutions? Well, for one it shows that being active in my own life really works, and though actions don’t always bear fruit in the beginning, if you just keep working at it, often if only to take two steps forward and one and a quarter back, just to keep that goal in sight and eventually there will be some pay off.

Every day, now, I get to go to a workplace I have grown to like in a very short time, to a role that I absolutely adore. Not that I wouldn’t give it up in an instant if someone offered me the possibility to retire in comfort, but that is not an option, and in the meantime I am in a worker’s paradise!

My fear is that one morning I will wake up and find that the carnival has moved on without me.

The last couple of years has shown me that things can go sour very, very quickly, and without reason. Sanity does take a holiday from time to time. As a result fear and anxiety sneak in the back door when I am not looking, despite my efforts, and I need to let go of fearful thoughts that cripple and just trust my instincts and go for it. So, that is an aspect of  “change”, my first resolution for 2012, that still needs work.

Fear only binds us to old ways, and bad habits. Letting go of fear, trusting myself  and my abilities to be enough is an end goal, and I have worked on it really hard this past week. Now, when those negative thoughts come oozing through the cracks, I just acknowledge them, decide what is within my control and what isn’t and then let them go. If it is out of my control, why waste precious energy on it? That is what I have learnt this year and worked on this week.

Strangely, it actually gifted me a sense of empowerment, for now, instead of wasting time and energy on hopeless endeavours trying to control everything, I can concentrate my efforts on the things in my life I can control, and the redirected time and energy go into the realm of influence I do have, and I am more at peace with my tasks, and so much more productive and creative.

In fact, I heartily recommend the method: can I control this? No, then let it go. Yes, then what am I going to do about it? It really is as easy at that. Just ask yourself the question – what can I control?

sometimes fortune follows the brave.

This is a Happy Dance

This is Flamingo Dancer doing her happy dance.

Flamingo Dancer is happy dancing because she has a job offer!

And there in lies the twist. I was originally rejected for this position. In fact all applicants were rejected and they decided to advertise a second time, nationally. I wrote them a professional email “polite but assertive” and stated that I thought they had misjudged me, and addressed some of the issues I felt needed clearer understanding.

Well, apparently they respected my assertive action, and considered that I have guts, and so decided to give me the role after all. It was the plum position I really really wanted (please, please, please)  in a private co-ed high school. The library is moving into a new building that is being completed over the holidays. Swish, as my sister would say.

Happy, grateful. Relieved.

Now I shall enjoy the rest of my holidays, as we all know the best time in a new job is in the period before you actually start it and come crashing down to reality!

a little slice of heaven

by Aline of the yumi yumi shop

One of the best things about vacations, even if a staycation, is the pure joy of living in the moment. So far no long lists are chasing me; sure there are lots of things that need my attention, but right now I am allocating an hour a day to special tasks to declutter and clean the house, and the rest of the day will be what it will be. Wants and needs.

What a sense of freedom.

by Aline of the yumi yumi shop