Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Bookending August - from the start of training until the end

…is it safe to come out of hiding yet?

Hoo, boy. Two weeks. TWO WEEKS of training, and I still think we have some staff members who just aren’t ready. And that’s on the professional level. The grads? The first-year RA’s (hi, Jane) and AF’s? They’re much better trained than you might think possible (well after two weeks, they’d bloody well better be). And yes – there are going to be some glitches or areas we could have/should have/needed to go deeper into training with them, but overall? I’d give the newbies a good solid B for a training grade.

Now that people are starting to move in, this will either rise or fall PDQ.

I’m still enjoying my new job. Few (if any) people know this, but I was all but ready to chunk this whole “college” gig and become a “civilian” – someone whose life and calendar is not measured August-May but instead operates January-December. I was burnt out, unhappy with a great many things (but – and let me be explicit about this – NOT the students I worked with) and feeling unsatisfied and ready to jump ship.

Funny. God never mentioned to me that I was both emotionally and spatially tethered to this population I serve. He made it pretty freaking known to me that I was not tethered to the job I was in, and that I needed to break said tether before it choked me and the whip-back from the chord struck me in the eye and blinded me to Him. But separated from these students? Feh. God’s not really let me LEAVE the college scene since I graduated with my Bachelor’s Degree back in 1994, so why should He start now?

For as much as I joke about how I get no respect (again – hi, Jane) (just kidding), I definitely get and feel loved by a lot of the students here at UM. Whether it’s the growing (!) population of That-Thing-At-Eighters, the random students who know me from the multiple hats I’ve worn here at UM, the students who know me from church…it’s very weird, because I have never hinged my satisfaction in life on being popular (had I done so, high school and college would have been unmitigated hell). I’ve never measured my worth by what others think of me. But this is probably the first time in what feels like my entire professional career that I don’t just feel…complacent in my profession, and look to get energized by the students I interact with. If nothing else, the position I am in will cause me to have GREATER interaction with a variety of students, and not just the same ones over and over again.

Here’s a great telling moment about my level of happiness: I’m not preoccupied by trying to find and fit (FOR Him, more often than not) where and in what way God will use me (like He really needs my assistance in trying to figure that out). Usually, I was always trying to find the “Okay, God, how can I turn this situation to YOU” in terms of my work experiences. Now? I’m genuinely just letting Him fit me in where He needs me to be instead of me trying to shoehorn Him into my life. Trust me – there is a difference, and there is a lot of freedom in relinquishing control, or in letting go of the façade of control that we think we have.

If you understand the difference, you’ll understand that freeing feeling.

I’ve been trying to remember if I have had a moment professionally where at the end of the day I could kick back and say that I liked my job. Granted, the benefit (and problem with) hindsight is that we tend to either rose-color some situations and tar the others, or to only remember the bad and leave out the good. And I’m not so naïve that I’m not aware of the fact that I’m still in the honeymoon phase of my job.

But honestly – I can’t recall the last time I stopped and looked at what I was doing and said that I like my job. Not just “This is a good project” or “I’m glad we’re involved in this initiative” but the mundane, day-to-day of it all is something that can and will bear the mark of “This was a good day.” I have colleagues I care about, colleagues who are genuinely interested in my success, and for the first time, this care for my growth as a person and a professional extends past the relationship (or lack thereof; see “Jobs, Former”) I have with my supervisor.

It’s like it’s a God thing. First comes deliverance. Then followed by a period of wandering and resting. Then finally on to something greater than I could have imagined.

And the most interesting bits are yet to come.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Just a few warning shots over the bow

Tomorrow (8-7-08) we start RA (Resident Assistant) and AF (Academic Fellows) Training.  "What," you may ask yourself, "the heck is an 'AF?'"  The AF's, my kind people, are the lovely group of residential student staff members whom I shall be working with this coming year.  What they do and why we need them will be the point of this year's training...so I can have a more concrete answer to the whole AF conundrum in about 14 days.  

Yes.  The Training Schedule is 14 days long.  My colleagues from UGA just fainted.

Please don't ask what the training schedule looks like and entails.  It reminds me of my first year at UGA, which in part explains why I am up before 5:00 EST and drinking gallons of coffee.  Not enough people know what the reference to my first year at UGA means, so I feel safe in mentioning it here.  Maybe one day, when you're older, I'll let you know.  

So, because of Training, updates will come with tiny little bumps (if at all), so here are a couple of quick and fast notices:

- my dad starts chemotherapy on Friday for 4-6 months (depending on how his body takes it and reacts).  That is literally all that I know right now, so questions about the type, what his bloodwork showed after the radiation treatments, etc. will be kind of lost on my at this time.  I'm so frazzled that right now, all I remember is that chemo starts Friday.  My mom is uncharacteristically optimistic, so that's a good thing.

- how do I like my new job?  Ask me in a month, after I've started to get a handle on what all the crap it entails.  Every day opens a new door, and some times I like what I see on that other side.  Other times?  Eh.  Still...

- save your money and don't go see The X-Files movie if you're expecting anything X-Files-esque.