The most frustrating part for me is the fact that, because the program is generally understaffed and right now down an office person even from that, we are being asked to do data entry and administrative updates that should not be on our plates. It doesn't really make sense for them, either, to pay counselor salaries for this type of work. Oh well, to be honest, I'm just grateful to have a stable job and to work my full schedule again after sparse hours this summer. And it feels great to know the students – at least most of the ones on my caseload - from last year and feel a greater sense of comfort and belonging in the program.
In other work related news, I gave notice at my nonprofit. As you can imagine, I have very mixed feelings about this. The camaraderie and acceptance I felt there most of the time was unparalleled. The pay, however, was paltry, and the time and effort spent commuting from my new home was far more than I initially hoped. I barely got through last semester, and a couple red flag experiences showed me it was not sustainable, especially considering that I'm teaching a class September to November. I will really miss my colleagues there and miss the friendships, connection, and sense of emotional safety. The gifts I will take with me when I leave at the beginning of September include:
- Friendships that I truly hope will last over time
- Feeling safe enough there to talk through feelings and inevitable differences that came up, and experiencing growth as a result (i.e. Being more proactive, and knowing that I thrive as an employee with individual recognition and appreciation from my supervisor).
- An agreement that they can call me to fill-in over the summer or holidays etc. when whomever they replace me with can't work - basically being a substitute for that position.
- A vastly greater awareness of brain injuries and how they affect people's lives, as well as their loved ones. More empathy and understanding for those who have had concussions, traumatic brain injuries, and strokes.
- An inner feeling of fulfillment, knowing I made a difference in people's lives.
I will definitely not miss the commute, and it will help me to focus and prioritize my college job, which is really my bread-and-butter income. Depending on how much bandwidth the class takes, I may even have time to work towards landing a few career counseling clients in my new area.
Next week, regular high school and college class schedules begin – last week was just welcome week – and I also have my visit with the placement social worker. It seems like the wait for this visit has been forever, for some reason. I need to clean the house over the next few days, which I hate doing, but it's for an excellent cause! After that, I will be waiting for a placement!