Archive for the ‘employment’ Category

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Describe a Moment of Change

June 7, 2017

And how you dealt with it.

Or at least I hope that is what the question was. Now that I think back, I hope it didn’t read a Moment of Challenge. But I think my answer might still apply.

I had my first of what I hope will be two interviews for a 12-month position at the school board. This was one of the questions.

My answer?

A chuckle. Then I answered, “I go through great change every 75 days!”

I spoke about how the girls and I work as a unit, stronger together. I spoke about some times getting only 12 hours notice. About putting myself aside to help my daughters adjust to life without the Chief. For 21 years. I talked about how we as a family have discussed the ramifications of what a 12-month job would mean for us, especially while the Chief was at sea.

You have to have routine but you have the be flexible enough for the changes that pop up. Or challenges.

Next up I hope to be one of two candidates called in on Friday for a follow-up interview with the Big Man. A decision will then be made either late Friday or on Monday before the School Board Meeting. Sigh. I hate waiting. Good thing T1 is getting her wisdom teeth out and I have that and house cleaning to occupy my time.

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De Ja Vue

June 1, 2017

I don’t speak French so hopefully that is the correct spelling.

This time last year I was anxiously awaiting news on a job I thought I was a shoe-in for and I convinced the Chief that an 8 year-old borzoi NEEDED me to adopt her.

Long story short, my current position (not the one I had applied for in May) is being eliminated as the school no longer meets the requirements for the federal funding. Yesterday I just got word that the other position is coming open again. I am definitely jumping at the chance. I’m not sure how the whole transfer thing works but I was told that every effort would be made to secure a new position. Hopefully, fingers and toes crossed, this will work this time.

Second, someone posted pictures of a new foster greyhound on the group FaceBook page. He is adorable. Yes, I said HE. A big goofy 4 year old male. I brought T1 in to see his pictures and she agreed–we should try to get him or another male. I pretty much submitted my application that moment, same as last year. The Chief is just laughing at me. A male. And he should be going back to sea before he has a chance to train this one and get him integrated into the pack with Simi-Ruthie (borzoi) and Hedwig (greyhound).

I know. We just lost Crookshanks at the end of March. Is it too soon? Simi and Hedwig are finally getting along. Simi still has issues. Are we upsetting the delicate balance by bringing in another dog? We definitely can’t get another female who might challenge Simi for alpha status.

I have never had a male dog before. I’m excited.

De Ja Vue. Nerve-wracking. Exciting. Stressful. Impatient. I am all those things.

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Sincere Reflection

May 3, 2017
I am biased. I think the new catch phrase is “implicit bias” and as a new para-educator I am supposed to be looking at that.
I am prejudiced too.
I think I resist even admitting those two things because usually someone will also throw in that I am closed-minded, racist, bigoted, Bible-thumping, hateful and hate-filled.
But I was having a conversation (if you want to call it that) with another parent volunteer the other day and at the end of it, I felt convicted and rightfully guilty.
It started simple enough. I was propping my feet up because they were swollen and hurting and as a responsible and reasonable adult I could not take any meds to allievate the pain and still drive my child around. This began my discourse into my current medical state–a journey that began last December when on the job I picked up pneumonia. This parent I was speaking to had indicated a fairly decent amount of medical knowledge so I knew she understood when I named my condition and the medications I take that weaken my immune system. And I know everyone understands that a school is a cesspool of nasty germs.
My assignment at the time was a difficult one with the most challenging students. I actually learned a lot about myself–that I could do something I never had the intention of doing before, that I could be an advocate even if I didn’t have the license or title behind it, that I had things to offer.
But none of that matters if I say, “This has been a horrible year for illness and THOSE PARENTS, you know, they send those kids to school so sick.”
I think that is the moment I lost all credibilty and respect in my listener’s eyes. It didn’t matter what else I said. Because after she let me ramble on about how the pneumonia turned into three back-to-back sinus infections followed by tonsilitis and now because I couldn’t take my necessary meds I was in the worst flair since I was diagnosed…. she told me she had one of those kids. Not school-aged yet, but she was one of THOSE PARENTS.
Usually I reserve my bias and prejudice until I have multiple interactions to form an opinion. I am an introvert that avoids anything that makes me uncomfortable so I gravitate to what I know. It doesn’t mean I fear or hate or whatever people that are different from me (be it looks or lifestyle or status). It just takes me longer to get to know others and feel comfortable. Often I really have no opinion or feelings either negative or position about people I meet.
But my negative bias, prejudice, opinion, comes from a negative experience. I would like to say often I give people and experiences multiple tries before I write them off or have negative bias and prejudice. But not always. Rather than expressing any kind of sympathy or understanding for THOSE PARENTS, I blamed them for my current medical condition and swollen, painful feet.
Just by labeling them THOSE PARENTS.
And I can’t even say it was the pain talking. I had used the phrase before. While I may have had nods of understandin from those listeners–I wonder how many were thinking, “Wow! I can’t believe she said that!”
I don’t think there is any “politically correct” and un-biased way of saying parents who send their children to school put many at risk without really considering that maybe, just maybe, some of those parents (and children) do not have a choice. I have sick leave that, while precious given my health, I can take and not worry about losing my job. What if THOSE PARENTS don’t? My children are healthy–what’s the phrase “neuro-typical” and in fact are high achievers. I’ve never not known what to do with them, really. Only once post-op did I call the grandparents to come get them because I couldn’t physically take care of them yet. What a luxory!
It is okay to have opinion. It is okay to have and to exercise judgement. It is okay to have a preference for what we like and do not like. But when we do not “walk a mile” in their shoes and we say things to separate ourselves from individuals or groups just because we had an unfortunate experience… we are biased and prejudice and we may not even know it.
And I did not like the mirror held up to me because of my own actions. And she didn’t have to say a word.
I truly hope I learn from this and grow in compassion and understand how my biases and prejudices shape me and influence what I say and do. And I hope that I will be better and set a better example for my children.
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My daughters and I have had conversations about race and prejudice. Sure I don’t know what it is like to have anyone look at me in fear and distrust because of the color of my skin but please don’t make a blanket statement that I have to be racist because of the color of my skin. If anything, I’d say I’m “situationally biased”. If I were to find myself in a dark alley–I’m not looking at your skin color; I’d be fearful of anyone I’d meet in that alley from the smallest Asian man to the tallest white woman. I’d even say I’m probably a classist–is that a thing? Again, it doesn’t matter the color of your skin if you look the part. Are you dressed like a homeless person or a contributing member of society? Are you dressed like a prosti-tot or an honor student? Are you dressed like a thug or like a entrepreneur?
And it is these attitudes that I need to temper and soften and give people more benefit of the doubt and stop seeing it as me (or us) and THOSE PEOPLE.
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Well, That’s That

October 15, 2015

Well the Chief has shipped out. It was a strange occurrence. I told someone that day that I had never been the one to leave first. In other words, the Chief almost always got the first flight of the day and therefore left at o-dark-thirty, leaving me in bed. But he had a mid-day flight and I had to go to work (my last day of a 21-day assignment). Surely when I was working full-time prior to children this had occurred before but I honestly don’t have a memory of it.

Because the school I was subbing at was only a mile down the road, the Chief texted me about swinging by to do his documents check. When I used to drop him off at the airport, this was always the last thing we did at the trunk of the car–to open up his back pack and his documents folder to verify his TWIC, passport, license, and credentials were all packed and all valid and current. Even when he was leaving at o-dark-thirty I would wake up to check his documents before sending him out the door. I was on a 45 minute break so I went out into the gorgeous sunshine to check his documents one last time.

Callie’s Mariner posted a beautiful piece expressing what many of us are going through this time around called “be safe”. She talks about the routines, the talismans if you will, of the things she always says to her mariner while he is at sea. I guess the document check is sort of our talisman. As I was walking away and he was getting into his rental car, I called back, “Be safe, fly safe. And no hurricanes!” I hadn’t read Callie’s article till later that night.

The Chief texted me from the airport that he almost had a heart attack moment–when he went to pull out his TWIC for his ID he couldn’t find it! He had put it back in his wallet in a different spot! Maybe the change in our routine caused the deviation. We will have to be more careful next time!

Neither T1 nor T2 seems to have any extra anxiety about the Chief going back to sea. We haven’t shielded them from the El Faro incident but I did have to ask at one point, “You do know a ship sank in the hurricane, right?” On the wives FB page “what and when should I tell my children” was a topic of discussion. I have very mixed feelings about it. 1. With the exception of like only two who’s husbands lost classmates, no one on the board had a significant connection to the crew of the El Faro. 2. Many of these spouses were talking about telling toddlers and primary school-aged children of the horrors of being lost at sea. No. Just no.

Too many of the spouses were (are?) so deeply personalizing this tragedy. The fear mongering, the blame casting, the misinformation, the continuous grief expressions are just all really unhealthy and to pass that along to children who for the most part cannot grasp why their parent goes away for stretches at a time is just so unhealthy. And sadly quite a few on the board do not wish to hear any other viewpoints or logic. To me it has ceased to be a supportive outlet and has become quite toxic. Very unfortunate. Through a link on Callie’s Mariner I am going to be checking out a British MM spouse group to see if they are not more supportive and less “dramatic.” I’ll report back on my findings later.

I am pleased to report that T1 seems to have found support from a few of her friends. I don’t know the details of the conversation, if the El Faro came up or not, but when they found out she had gone to school rather than stay home a few final hours with the Chief, they told her she should have stayed home–it was more important than a few hours at school. Okay, most things to a teen are more important than school but the sentiment was appreciated at least by me. I think if they had been a bit younger I would have thought to have them stay home with him for a few hours–of course he had errands to run so it might not have been as beneficial as one would hope.

I’ve had two days off–I had hoped that he would have been here but what can you do? I have a one-day assignment tomorrow. It has been a busy week adjusting to his absence but I know December will be here before we know it. Life move on. But hearing his voice tonight just seems a little more precious and I’ll hold on to that.

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