Putting your feelings in writing is a good way to not only release stress, but it can also help you get to the root of the problem and serve as a point of reference for recovery.
So here goes:
December, I was hopeful and feeling up to the challenge of my new position at work. I accepted the position because it would pay the same as my old job, but give me twice the hours, I was promised my own office with a door, and I would be able to do all of the fun parts of my old job. As the job was explained to me a month or so in, I was supposed to be getting $400/month for activity planning and resident involvement. This could be art classes, games, birthday parties, and so on. I was super pumped to get started.
Then I hit my first big obstacle: find a meal provider to give daily meals from the clubhouse that isn’t Meals on Wheels and have it ready to start in two weeks.
I searched. I was turned down. Funding for these things is hard to come by and the application process is closed until 2019. Basically, the only gig in town was a program that also runs Meals on Wheels, and their funds come from the same place that had already turned me down. I was desperate, though, so I reached out to them. Thankfully, they had been eyeing our location for a while and were up to the task. It was then my job to contact residents and get a count for how many meals we should have delivered.
Second obstacle: conduct a survey with a cold…or flu?
In an attempt to get as much work done as possible before leaving town to celebrate her birthday, my boss brought to work what I thought was a cold, and by the day of her departure, I was ill also. I decided to phone as many people as possible rather than going door-to-door. About a quarter of the way through, I lost my voice. I hoped I would feel better the next day, but it was still gone. I sent a rough estimate to the program director and apologized for being unable to complete the task.
By that night, I had a fever and had to admit it was the flu. Luckily, it was Friday and I had some time to recover.
While all of this is happening, I’ve got another situation on my hands: three art events weekly with no funding.
There had been no more discussion about the activities budget or how the funds would be made available, yet I was supposed to start all these art events in less than a week’s time. I made an Amazon wishlist and shared it around my social media accounts to see if anyone would donate to the cause. Thankfully, we got enough supplies for the art lessons right away.
A bit later, I was instructed to make an Amazon wishlist for my regional manager so she could have the supplies sent to me. She said this would be the way we handle the activity money, and we could use petty cash to buy the cakes for the birthday parties.
It’s not a bad way to handle it, but it did make me feel very untrusted.
This week has been a crippling blow to the whole ordeal. Only half my sign-ups for the meals showed up on Day One, and half of that number showed up for Day Two. Then we find out that the contractors have decided to start on the clubhouse remodel next week, extending to nearly the end of the month. We will have no place to conduct any of the activities I listed on the first calendar, but it’s not like anyone was showing up anyway. Poor attendance and unreliable schedules are going to kill this whole activity planning venture. I didn’t think we would start the activities until the clubhouse was remodeled, but it was very important that I start the events THIS MONTH. Now I have to cancel most of them.
The final bit of news that has me feeling disillusioned with the job is the office remodel plans. I was looking forward to having my own office so that I can close the door to take calls, because sometimes it’s very hard to understand what my residents are saying. It’s even harder when there is already noise in the office. I was looking forward to having my own space to recreate the office sanctuary, have my own quiet music, my own room fragrance and decor. I wanted to create a relaxing environment for people to come when they need help. Instead, it sounds like we’re just getting the same office all over again with a little corner designated for each of us. What do you bet my corner shares the wall with the new fitness room they’re putting in place of the laundry room? Clank! Clank! Clank!
Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a fine job, and I do feel like I can make a difference here. I just feel like I’m underperforming and it isn’t necessarily my fault. I also feel like I was promised a lot of things that have been taken away, and it’s hard to know if the changes happened because the boss plays up the impossible before she knows what’s feasible, or if it’s a reflection on my performance. Both are equally possible.
It’s just had me thinking a lot lately about the changes, not necessarily for the better, that have happened away from work because of the new schedule. Weight gain, neglect for chores, no energy for hobbies I used to enjoy. Those changes have contributed to my lowered self-image.
This has been helpful, actually. There are definitely areas I know can be improved, and there are things I should pay closer attention to. As far as the job, I have to shake off any earlier ideas of what it could become and just take it at face value. There’s really no reason to get down on myself when I’m trying my best. I see that anyone in my position would face the same obstacles.