A No-Good Very Bad Day

Today was a no-good, very bad day.

It started with being 15 minutes late to work, then two of my appointments didn't show up... which wasn't that big of deal, but then my last appointment the department chair sat in and, unfortunately, it was nerve-wracking with lots of different issues thrown in, and I made a couple of mistakes.  She was, in my opinion, mean and overly harsh with how she communicated with me about my shortcomings right after the appointment, and I ended up crying.  I know I should not have taken it so hard but it really hurt my feelings.  I (and other adjunct counselors I know) try really hard with the students in individual appointments and teaching, and put in lots of extra hours planning for class, and really get no recognition or appreciation for it.  I get paid well, so there is that.  But anyway, it made me feel bad about myself and just really sad.

I will fully admit that I do not receive criticism well.  I'm trying to develop a thicker skin and I think I've made a little headway, but today I was not so tough.  We talked again later, after my class, and I apologized to her for getting so upset.  She admitted she tends to be a harsh critic and that she should not have led with the comments she did.  I said that there is definitely more I need to learn, but that the appointment was not representative of my typical work.  I have seen several students a day,  two days a week all school year and I've done well and become increasingly confident.  Different issues come up in general counseling than came up working in Career Technical Education, such as more transfer issues and processes such as TAG, where students apply and are automatically admitted to a UC.  Anyway, as mentioned, I have more to learn, but she could have communicated the criticism in a much more constructive way.  :(

Going forward, I really want to work on this sensitivity, and also my fear of criticism.  I really hate it.  I'd rather be slapped in the face.  It somehow feels like when I'm being criticized, they are saying I'm a bad person and there's something very wrong with me.  It's like I can't separate my "performance" from my true self at these times.  I know this goes back to my Dad and how he communicated... he had a way of showing anger or frustration with something I did that he didn't like in an intense, controlled way that made me feel in those moment like he hated me and was disgusted with me.  Yuck.  Not a good feeling, especially when I did depend on my Dad a lot, as my one parent (there was my step-mom but as mentioned, we never had a true parental bond or closeness), for approval and love.

The fact is (I'm saying this to myself - so listen self!) that I am an adult now and I have innate value and worth outside anything anyone could say or think about me.  I KNOW I care about students and have worked very hard to answer their questions and support, advise, and teach them.  I wish I performed better under pressure but I love myself anyway and forgive myself for not doing as well as I would have liked today.  I hope over time, the department chair and other powers that be will come to know and value my work.  If this doesn't happen over time, then likely this college is not the best place for me to work.  I'm hopeful it will, but I'm going to continue to look for and apply to other positions, both full and part-time, at other colleges.

Thanks for listening!  Tomorrow is another day... and I have my trip to Oregon this weekend to look forward to.


Mega-Stressful Week

Happy May, Everyone!

I just got through a mega-stressful week with my counseling interview Wednesday.  I was so stressed and nervous and had to acknowledge it in the interview when my hand was shaking when I took a drink of water.  The content included normal interview-type questions, plus a role play, plus a 10-minute teaching demonstration.  I practiced the teaching demonstration a lot - it was on one of my favorite subjects, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality assessment - and think that I did quite well on that part.  I felt I rocked the questions, too... but the role play?  Not so much.  I just plain didn't understand the setup and that I was supposed to look up information and make a sample Education Plan ahead of time.  So, in the interview, I was deprived of a catalog and obviously didn't have access to a computer to look up information, which is completely unnatural and not a fair representation of my abilities.  I'm kicking myself because I know NOW what I should have done and wish I could go back.  Oh well.  I did as well as I could without knowing the specific class information.

I think regardless of what happens, it was a good idea that I applied and interviewed because: 1. They know I care about the job and have ambition; and 2. I got some good practice should I choose to apply again.  Also, through working with the counselors this semester in students services (as CTE counselors, we worked in a separate building across campus from student services), the interview process, and then today working as a team on the annual Super Saturday registration event on our campus, I feel a sense of belonging and like I am getting to know people better and feel more comfortable around them.  That makes work more fun!

The week was also stressful because it was the last week of normal class for the course I'm teaching, and I crammed almost 30 student presentations into two days.  It was intense, but also kinda fun.  Oh, and I was skating on financial fumes because so many bills came through last month.  Thank God, it was the last EOL payment!

In positive financial news, I think I mentioned I'm going to get quite a few hours this summer, and I'll also be teaching three Counseling orientation classes, which are either taught over two shorter days or one long day.  It will be nice to make more money, aided by the fact I do not have to pay my almost $400/mo healthcare payment over the summer months, as it's divided over the rest of the year when they know people are working.  Many people don't work in the summer and the campus will be more quiet.  I'm looking forward to the more mellow atmosphere.  I'm nervous to teach the orientations, which I've not taught before, but I sat in on another colleagues class which helped.  And it's only one or two days - 6 hours - so how bad could it be?  I have a PowerPoint I can fall back on if need be and I can do some fun interactive activities, as well.  Okay, thanks for listening as I talked myself into it!  :-)

After my class is over, at the end of this month over Memorial Day weekend, I'm going to drive up to Oregon again with Zoey.  As usual, I can't wait to see my nieces and nephew, who I can tell from pictures have grown a LOT.  My littlest niece has reddish/strawberry blonde hair and is such a little cutie.  And my older niece and nephew are playing sports and looked darling participating in a recent Easter egg hunt.  My mom is soldiering through her chemo appointments.  Twice now she's had to go in the hospital when her temperature spiked.  I guess on chemo it's easy to get sick and much more dangerous if you do.  She was in for at least a week this last time but is now home.  She and my dad actually went to stay at a special hotel and go wine tasting for their 40th anniversary this weekend.

I kind of miss my EOL program, but my local "pod" got together this last Monday at one of the women's house and caught up with each other, made some art/creative scenes (like visualizing what you want), and ate dinner.  It was nice.  There are more events on the horizon, including a reunion get-together on June 7th up in Sonoma and a book group that starting up.

I'm still working with my last-assigned "buddy," K, exchanging mini-coaching sessions every two weeks.  So that helps keep my feet in the water.  I'm trying to motivate to eat and drink more consciously and up the health factor another degree.  I would like to drink kombucha instead of Diet Coke, but I will say that it's a hell of a lot more expensive!  He's also supporting me in envisioning the relationship I want to have with my Dad, as well as with my birth Mom.  Even though she passed away when I was young, I love the idea of creating space to connect with her and feel gratitude for all she gave me and the special relationship we shared - I think it would be really valuable for me to be able to tap into that on a regular basis.  He is a very sweet and loving guy, and I think I am supporting him, as well, through helping him with a work transition, his relationship with his pregnant fiance, and sharing coaching/career counseling tools.

I have a f#*kload of student papers to grade before Tuesday.  Wish me luck!  I do have a nice brunch scheduled for tomorrow with a friend.  Hope you all are having a fun weekend.