Me? A Good Sub?

OK, this has come up twice now, so I thought I should blog about it. Last week a student at the end of class said, “You’re a good sub.” He was a very nice kid as he helped with attendance and then put up most of the chairs in the room (last class of the day for that teacher). I said thank you and told him he was a good student. As for internalizing the compliment… well, it was all disbelief. Why would he say that I was a good sub? The class was average, my attitude was average (for me) and by average, I mean I had to raise my voice but I didn’t send anyone to the principal’s office. So why me? I discussed this in therapy today. My therapist asked why would he tell you that if he didn’t mean it? I’m sort of stumped on that one.

Then there was today. For my last class, a girl came up to me at the beginning and said, “Ms. Monday, you are my favorite sub. Can I have a hug?” I was shocked (again) and I gave her a hug. It wasn’t until later, when I was telling my husband about it, that he pointed out that maybe I wasn’t supposed to hug her. Maybe it is against school rules. Now I am going to worry about that all weekend. So I was having a great day until that little worry came up. Now I don’t know what to think. Hopefully it won’t be a problem, otherwise I’m out of another job.

Oh well. I’ve still been complimented on being a good sub twice now in the past few weeks. A few more times, and I might believe it. Maybe I was meant to teach secondary school after all.

MP3 Players are Lollipops

I learned something while subbing today. For a teenager, the right to listen to your mp3 player, or more likely, your phone, is like giving a little kid a lollipop for being good. That’s right, teenagers respond to bribery just like anyone else, and that bribery is music. You might desperately want to tell them to sit down and shut up, but you can’t, so you say the next best thing, which is please sit down and be quiet but that really doesn’t get you anywhere. However, threaten to take away their music, and they will quiet down.

I also got some supportive chats from the nearby teachers. One of them said the most important button on your phone is this one, and he pointed to the office. He said, it’s like John Wayne toilet paper. It’s rough, it’s tough, and it doesn’t take crap. He told me to use that button whenever they give me trouble and send them down to talk to the principal. Right now I feel fired up enough to send the whole class down there, but everyone assures me that it doesn’t take the whole class, just a few students. Man, I have to get up the courage to do that.

I have another day of subbing tomorrow. Wish me luck!

© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

A Preview of Winter

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The past few days have been very cold here. Not very cold compared to the North, but cold compared to the late summer we have been enjoying. Nights in the 30’s and days in the 50’s.  This shouldn’t happen for another month or two where I live. The days are growing shorter. I’ve been running the heat for two days and even turned on the space heater today. (I hate the cold.) It’s been kind of grey and overcast and I’ve been sleeping a lot this weekend. I’ve felt tired and achy – is it the winter blues already?

Winter is often unkind to those suffering from bipolar or unipolar depression and seasonal affective disorder. It probably affects many other mental disorders as well. So when I look out the window and see a cold, grey sky, I feel like I don’t want to move from under the covers. I know what winter means. It means a cold house because I can’t afford to run the heat too high, and freezing feet and fingers because I have poor circulation. The holidays are coming and that just reminds me how isolated we are from our families, or at least I am. There will be sweets that I cannot eat, gifts I cannot afford to buy, and depression I cannot avoid. We won’t get snow, we will get ice, and driving will be difficult. Not that I have anywhere to go.

I have a feeling that I will be unemployed all winter. I’m going to do my best to hope for at least some part-time work. My unemployment checks will be running out soon – probably next month – so I hope my mortgage refinance happens before then. I’m not looking forward to this winter.

The weather is supposed to turn warm again in a couple of days. The last remnants of summer.

© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Unhelpful Employment Office

I shouldn’t be too hard on the lady, she really is trying to help.  Maybe there is a grain of truth to things, which is making me feel uncomfortable.  Let me start over.

I’ve been working with this nice lady from the employment office, who I will call Carol.  She is very perceptive and a bit of a counselor.  Her job is to help people find jobs.  She teaches a class on job hunting (it was a requirement for me to take it) and one of the things they talk about is going door to door with a resume in hand meeting receptionists and finding out about the company, then leaving your resume with them.  There’s a story about an IT guy who lost his job and found a new one within three weeks by going door to door. (So to speak.)  She’s telling me to do this too.  Right.  When I have a very specialized background?  She also said that I need to focus my job search in order to focus my resume.  She’s not going to help me with my resume until I can determine what fields I want to focus on.  I feel helpless.  If I knew what the hell I wanted to do, wouldn’t I be doing it?

Research: yes, I enjoy it, but do I love it?  No, love is too strong a word.  Am I any good at it? Yes and no.  I’ve always been good at some aspects of it but poor at other aspects of it.  I’m not a good organizer and sometimes I have trouble thinking outside the box.  Yes, seriously, a bipolar who can’t think outside the box.  I get curious about things, but then my curiosity fades and I’m bored.  (I am so easily bored.)  I don’t know if I am really any good at research or not.  I love analyzing data and looking for trends, which then lead to answers.  Is that research?  Yes, but you need to have an idea to explore in the first place.

College Teaching: yes, I enjoy it, but I don’t always have the answers.  Students expect that you always have the answer for things.  It took me years to make my intro courses into something I could be proud of, but my upper division courses were always a mess.  I couldn’t even follow things in the textbook – it was worse than being a student the first time through.  How did I get my PhD in the first place?  It must have been a miracle.  I’m doubting my teaching skill as well.  I went to Rate My Professor .com and looked up my scores.  Pretty sad. 😦  Well, sad for someone who really cares about what they are doing.  I got an overage average score of 2.5/5.

I’m not going to find a job teaching now, we’re well into the fall, so that’s irrelevant.  I thought about high school and Carol asked me why I hadn’t applied for my teaching certification.  She pointed out that there must be a reason.  I didn’t tell her this, but yes, there is a reason.  I’m terrified.  I’m afraid I will do it and get the job and discover that I hate working with children/young adults.  She suggested that I try substitute teaching.  It’s $60 for the background check and fingerprinting.  It pays $50/day.  So two days worth of work and I have paid for the background check.  I guess it’s worth applying.  It would at least tell me if it’s a job I would enjoy, tolerate, or utterly loathe.

I mentioned putting on weight.  She said “you know the solution to that, don’t you?”  Get up early, go for a walk, etc.  It will help with the depression, give you more energy, blah, blah, blah.  Like my problems with depression are going to be solved with a walk every morning?  If that were the case, I wouldn’t be on Paxil, Lamictal and Geodon.  And even then I’m still struggling.  No, she doesn’t know the details.  And bipolar is one big detail.

I know she’s trying to be helpful, but telling me about her life and how she tries not to let her impending divorce get her down doesn’t make me feel any better.  I feel worse.  She has a full-time job, kids to raise, etc.  I have none of that and I still can’t get it together.  Tomorrow is another day was her message.  What I hear (emotionally) is that she can do so much more in her day than I can do in mine.  Just writing this post has taken me nearly an hour and I haven’t even started editing yet!  I’m so slow at everything, which is why I don’t work well in a fast-paced environment.  (Although, believe it or not, I do type relatively fast and with two hands!)

So why am I writing all this tonight?  It’s not to bash the nice lady at the employment office.  She means well.  And I think door to door resume submissions might work for some people, but won’t work for me.  I don’t want any of the jobs I’ve already had.  I don’t know what I want.  Maybe it’s time to start my own business, except I don’t think I could handle that either.  What I do know is that my last job was a mistake (except financially) and I should listen to my instincts in the future.  Unfortunately, my instincts aren’t talking right now.

© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Missed Again

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I confess, I had another job interview a few weeks ago. I didn’t tell anyone about it (well, only 2 or 3 local friends) because I (superstitiously) thought that if I didn’t tell anyone and no one crossed their fingers for me, that it might actually work out. I was wrong. Maybe I needed the finger crossing after all.

I found out about the job because of friend of mine works there.  She told me that her boss was saying I was at the top of her list (for at least a week) but then her boss clammed up about the job search.  I think that was the point that I was no longer at the top.  I found out today for sure (from my friend) that I didn’t get the job.  They gave it to a guy.  The office is mostly female, so I wonder if the person in charge was encouraged to hire a male for the position.  The vicious part of me hopes this guy doesn’t work out.  They’ve already gone through two people for this position in the last year and a half.  Maybe that’s a sign that it wasn’t the right job for me anyway.

I’ve got another lead, though it might not work out.  It’s kind of stretching what I know, but it’s worth a try.  Hell, most anything is worth a try.  My dad suggested McDonalds… so maybe not anything.  Starbucks has crossed my mind, but I don’t know how well I would do at a food service job.  It might send me over the edge again.  I have thought about a bank teller job.  Counting out money all day long – go me.  There’s nothing wrong with these jobs, except that I have a fucking PhD and I’m so over qualified for most things that it isn’t funny.  Walmart isn’t going to hire a PhD, not that I’d want to work there anyway.  My options are so slim.  No, I need a new field.  How do I go about doing that?

The work environment of my last job was so horrible that it cost me my mental health.  I still feel like a failure because I couldn’t handle it.  I know that most people couldn’t handle those personalities but that doesn’t make me feel any better.  I was feeling abused there and it triggered all sorts of PTSD for me.  I needed out, just not the way it was handled.  I needed to look for a job so much sooner.  See how I can berate myself for everything?

Anyway, that’s the latest in my unemployment saga.  I hope something else comes along soon.


© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Slipping Gears

I feel like I am slipping gears here.  I can tell by my shower rate.  (This may be TMI, so feel free to skip ahead if you like.)  Anyway, I don’t take a shower every day – usually.  It’s hard to get up the motivation for something as simple as a shower.  Well, I’ve got nowhere to go and no one to impress, so what’s the point?  May as well save the water bill and stretch the soap.  I talked to my pdoc about it, and she said that showers are a lot of work. She also said she thinks people take showers too often. I inferred that meant it was OK not to shower every day.  But sometimes 2, 3 even 4 days go by with no shower.  It’s bad when your husband needs to stress that you take a shower because you smell.  (I warned you about the TMI!)  So my shower rate is a guide to my depression levels.  There are other clues too like my frequency of posting (you may have noticed this) and my desire to work out.  (Which always prompts a shower!)  But I’ve not worked out in two weeks now. My new-found muscles have probably faded away by now. 😦

As for the reasons, well, obviously the unemployment is hard on me.  Job hunting is frustrating.  It’s a real blow to your self-esteem to keep interviewing and failing.  I know I shouldn’t look at it as failing, but it feels like failing.  Maybe there are candidates out there that are more qualified than me, but it hurts every time I get turned down for something.  Take the last job interview, where I didn’t even hear back from them!

It’s all a waiting game for me.  Waiting to hear back from applications, waiting for the right job to come along, watching my rainy day fund (savings) go down the drain as it seems to be constantly raining.  No, I shouldn’t say that – things could be worse.  I could be racking up tons of medical bills at the same time, so thank God that isn’t happening.  But there is a constant drizzle – this unemployment saga.

Technically, I’ve run out of unemployment benefits.  Thanks to the Obama funding, there are extended unemployment benefits available.  My state has an overall low unemployment rate (6%) so the tier 2 and tier 3 benefits are gone, but at least there is still the tier 1 extension.  So long as I am approved for that, then I can keep collecting my $300 a week, which stretches our budget significantly.  The biggest bill we have is our mortgage at almost $1600 a month.  That mortgage bill wasn’t bad when it was only 25% of my income, but it’s quite a drain now.  We will definitely have to sell the house in the spring.  I just hope there are no major repairs that need to be done.

So you are probably tired of hearing about my showers and my job hunt and my income woes, but I haven’t got much else to talk about.  I could tell you about my Skyrim characters but I don’t know that would be interesting to most of you either.  (Takers anyone?)

Writing all this down does help.  I don’t journal so this blog is all I’ve got.  I’ve tried to journal (I know it would be good for me) but I just can’t keep up with it.  I know that it would be great to have a record of my life, but I only write when I’m stressed or really need to express something.  I’ve kept a lot of old emails, mostly from manic or mixed episodes that have negative experiences associated with them, that I should purge from my life.  I keep them because they are a record of where I’ve been.  I don’t read them, but maybe I should.  I think that now that I am on proper medication and fairly stable that it is a time for reflection.  But then again, I’m slipping gears, so maybe I’m not ready yet.

Employment Pre-screening: Going Too Far?

As many of you know, I’ve been on the job hunt for a while now. And in the course of that hunt, I’ve seen some interesting things. Like one company who wanted me to take a personality profile quiz when I submitted my application. Another one stated that by applying for this job, I give the company the right to pull my credit profile both before I get the job and at any time after I get the job. So if I fall on hard times and lose my credit rating, does that make me ineligible for a job? I don’t have one, therefore I can’t get one? Or if I have a job and my credit rating slips, am I no longer qualified for the job?

Employers can’t discriminate on gender, race, disability, religion or sexual orientation, but can they discriminate against you based on some computerized personality screening or your credit profile? Whether I think people are all just sheep and do what they are told, or if I think people are basically good or bad or if most supervisors care about their people – does any of this have any bearing on my skills and qualifications? Are companies doing this just because they can do this and get away with it? What’s wrong with the interview process that companies think they have to pre-screen applicants with computerized quizzes?

You’re asked to be honest, and so I was (screw the questions) but do they really think that someone is going to click ‘Strongly Agree’ with the statement: I have never been angry with anyone. Really? Never lost your temper? With anyone? Ever? Seriously? Have you ever driven over the legal speed limit? Well, since I got a speeding ticket once, I can’t say that I’ve never gone over the speed limit, now can I? What’s the matter, doesn’t the background check tell them enough?

Probably my favorite question of the day is: It is OK to sell illegal drugs to your coworkers if they can afford it. Do you: strongly agree/agree/uncertain/disagree/strongly disagree ?

No, I’m not making this up. I just wasted 30 minutes of my life taking a 100 question assessment, where about 75% of it was about illegal drug use in the workplace and stealing from your employer.

No wonder people can’t get jobs. The pre-employment is unbelievable!

© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.