Friday, June 30, 2017

orphans and atheists not withstanding

This was the last day of work; now summer vacation.

Wrap up.  I gave a big speech before the staff in honour of CE's retirement.  This was somewhat difficult as a.) I do not particularly enjoy delivering speeches - Drama background notwithstanding, I am not a person who especially likes a microphone, b). CE is very special to me and her retirement means I will not see her very often anymore.

However, giving a speech is also cathartic, and I appreciated the opportunity to tell my colleagues how much she meant to me, and how much she (quietly) contributed without them even knowing. The feedback was warm, some in person and some text messages later in the evening.  I appreciated it all, because I am not confident about these kinds of things.  I have no doubt they knew I needed a little feedback.  (The quaver in my voice would have told them so if they were listening.)


The boss is also leaving, and I was invited to participate in that send off, another opportunity I appreciated.  My change in position in the school has resulted in great changes to my relationships with many people.  This is both wonderful and frustrating.  Wonderful to find that people are more human than I thought.  Frustrating that it takes a change in position to earn the right to know so.


CM was lovely.  She gave me her shirt, she gave me some dragons.  She told me my speech was beautiful, she told me some secrets.  Fuck I wish I had gotten to know her before she was leaving.


Monday, June 19, 2017

the evidence shows we are probably not alone

To have a hard conversation with someone you care about is significantly more difficult than to have that conversation with someone about whom you do not.  I teased around the topic with N a few times but could not bring myself to tell him directly that I was going to apply for the position of department leader - because I was assuming he would be hurt.  Today I addressed it directly, but only because the boss sent out the email asking for applicants, and because he was away today, I took the henhouse door and sent him an email instead of talking to him face to face.  It made me recognize that I do care about N, I care about him more than I thought I did.  I do not want to hurt his feelings. (He responded very kindly, telling me it was a good time to apply and that he would support me.  Of course this does not prove he was not hurt by my decision, but I hope he wasn't.  And I hope that I will be able to do as good a job as I want to.)  This is not a fait accompli because the new principal needs to approve my application.  But the outgoing one has offered her endorsement.


I talk about work a lot.  I think about work a lot.  A lot.


Saturday, June 17, 2017


T went home early yesterday, and it troubles me that I did not notice she was struggling to be there.  Or that she had a new haircut and colour.  When she texted to tell me both things, I was surprised by my lack of awareness.  This tells me that I need to slow down and notice.  Efficiency is important to me.  Getting things done is important to me.  And getting things off my desk is important to me.  But so should be noticing, so should be genuine concern, and so should be (buzzword) mindfulness.  Time to slow down and breathe.  Breathe.  And breathe.


The buttercups are taking over the yard, and with the mower broken there is not much we can do about it.  I borrowed a mower last week, but the rain has been relentless and things are growing faster than we can keep up.  Our mower won't be fixed for a couple more weeks, by which time the buttercups may have swallowed the house.  Being swallowed by a buttercup seems like a delightful way to die.  A is for Amy who fell down the stairs, B is for Boris devoured by bears... 


Yesterday I received a rather sharp nudge at the end of the day when my VP asked me if I would be attending a goodbye event for a colleague and I said no, because I wanted to finish my scheduling before going home for the weekend.  She said no, that the schedules would wait until Monday and that I should go and let her buy me a drink.  I did.  I have not had this sort of rapport with administration in the past where one would take interest in my work/life balance or where one would care enough to proffer a bribe.  It is a bit out-on-a-limb-like to consort with the enemy this way, but my revelation this year has been that the enemy is human too, and not so much an enemy as a shepherd; the nipping can feel unpleasant but it is intended to keep us together and safe.  (My view on this has been altered by having an office with a window.)  I drank a Caesar that came with three olives.  I wanted to drink six more of them (I didn't),  and I did not regret leaving the schedules until Monday.


Sunday, June 11, 2017

Would you rather be you?

I wonder if it seems incongruent that I should be busting with empathy for the young people I work with, the ones who struggle with depression, anxiety, and all sorts of other mental illnesses and disturbances.  And yet, I can muster no such compassion for my coworker.  It seems unfair that I should have so little room for empathizing with her, and it makes me wonder why I feel this way.  This list is a compilation of reasons I cannot empathize with M:

- she says she is allergic to everything, but she frequently eats things she says she can't eat
- she doesn't answer her work email for weeks at at a time, but will respond immediately if something free is being given away
- she jingles when she walks because she wears a lot of jewellery
- she lisps when she talks because she is lying (that's patently ridiculous)
- she always applies to go to professional development opportunities that will get her out of being at work
- she does not respond to students' requests for appointments
- she claims to care very much about her career in spite of being terrible at it
- she claims to care very much about being part of a "team" although she does not contribute
- she takes credit for other people's work
- she brings in student counsellors to take on her work
- she does not supervise her student counsellors 
- she complains about being very busy all the time although she spends her whole day with her door shut, not seeing students
- she leaves her paperwork for others to do when she falls behind and then calls in sick
- she seems very very very very happy and seems to have no idea how much she sucks

That's not a comprehensive list by an means but it covers the most important things.  When I look at the list I realize it's largely the last item that makes me unable to care about her apparent mental illness.  It's her apparent lack of awareness that her actions impact others.  The way she seems so pleased with herself and seems to think she's quite wonderful.  It really rankles.  Why?

Maybe it's because I ask myself at least a hundred times a day if I'm doing a good enough job.  Maybe it's because I am oversensitive to how my actions impact other people.  It's something to do with these facts, absolutely.

I'm too irritated to feel sorry for her, even though obviously something is wrong with her.  And that's the problem with invisible illnesses; maybe the more "normal" a person appears to be, the less room there is to tolerate something less.  Maybe that's it.

Or maybe it's the lisping and jingling.  I really hate that.


Friday, June 09, 2017


Today M called in to say she is going on an extended medical leave, for "several months".  M goes on a medical leave every year so this was not very surprising, but the timing is suspect.  She is in some trouble.  She has been making some unethical decisions, and some downright stupid decisions.  She spends the better part of most days with her office door shut, and what she is doing behind that door is anyone's guess.  We know she isn't doing her paperwork or seeing any students, because the complaints don't stop.  But now people from HR are involved.

I hope she won't be back, and that's my honest truth.


Thursday, June 08, 2017

right after the forecast

My principal encouraged me to apply for the position of Department Head for next year.  She said she would advocate for that to happen in spite of the fact that the other guy has more experience.  This was an interesting conversation.  Her vision and mine are very closely aligned, which would, at one time, have alarmed me.  But now I see things from a different perspective because I have been working so much more closely with the admin team.  This leaves me with a difficult conversation to have with N about the fact that I will be applying for a job he sees as his.


There are only sixteen work days until summer.