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.