I once had a life, or rather, life had me. I was one among many or at least I seemed to be....

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I don't know what to do.
Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019 6:10 PM

"A woman who lives with the stress of an overwhelmed schedule will often ache with the sadness of an underwhelmed soul." - Lysa Terkeurst

So much has happened since I last posted. I'm not even sure where to begin. I suppose I can do the Lewis Carroll thing and start from the beginning. Well, here it goes:

I applied for a part-time job at S.S. over a month ago to be an administrative assistant for the program supervisor. Much to my surprise, I ended up getting the job. My hours were on Tuesday, Wednesday and half day on Thursday. This gave me ample time to continue doing bookkeeping work for my dad on Mondays, Fridays, and half-day Thursdays.

Of course, there were some growing pains, especially since I've grown used to doing my own thing. I never had a problem getting used to waking up at 6:30 in the morning or anything like that. What took some transitioning was having to wear business casual clothing and closed-toed shoes for the first time in years (Yes, I ended up with plenty of blisters on the back of my heels).

My other growing pains: 1. Communicating and trying to to be part of the group, 2. re-learning how to answer phones professionally, 3. learning how to use the phone to unlock the door for visitors, 4. taking part in mandatory staff meetings, 5. getting used to clocking in and out for work, and 6. dealing with a very old and slow computer with a sticky keyboard full of food crumbs.

How I addressed my growing pains: 1. put up with the shoes only in the office, otherwise I slipped my flip-flops on when walking back and forth from the employee parking lot. 2. I forced myself to sit with the advocates at lunch, mainly just listening to their conversations, but mostly directing the conversation so it was mostly about them, 3. after the first week, I was answering the phone like a pro even if I didn't have anybody's extension memorized, 4. just laughing at myself whenever I clicked on the wrong button because eventually I'd catch on, right?. 5. going to the meetings - after all, they were mandatory, 6. arriving to work a bit earlier to boot the computer up so I could clock in on time which made clocking in and out a habit, and 7. after many unsuccessful attempts at cleaning the keyboard, I just "borrowed" one from EOC. Fortunately, the keyboard they had stashed away in the back of a cupboard was the exact same make and model of the sticky one. No one was the wiser.

I met some really great people, which made all the cons of the job worth it. The cons of the job were these: 1. because they are a charity, the supervisor never ran the AC and wouldn't let us open up the windows. I was a very red and sweaty mess for awhile. I actually thought I was going through menopause - that's how bad it was, 2. A lot of the staff meetings revolved around donating money to the United Way or some other fund - which is great if you have the means to contribute, and 3. the employee parking lot was a good walk from the buildings, which isn't so bad unless the weather is bad.

My favorite person I met is Lucretia. She doesn't work for S.S. but for a company that works with S.S.. She shared an office with me, and we became fast friends. My other favorites are Josh and Angela. Heck, I really really liked everybody. For the first time in my life, I felt like I belonged somewhere. I've never had that feeling before in my life. I felt like I had a purpose, that my work was full of meaning, and that eventually I'd whip the place into shape with my organizational skills - something they don't necessarily need but it would help them run more efficiently.

You're probably wondering why I'm talking about such a great place in the past tense. This is why: About two weeks ago on a Monday, I received a phone call from the principal of the catholic school near my house. It's the school that's connected to the church where I applied for the receptionist job. It turns out that the lady I interviewed with gave them my resume and said I would be perfect for the job. I was hesitant to say yes to an interview because I was quite happy where I was in life. When I mentioned that I had already taken a job with S.S., the principal said, "Yes, I know. I've talked to Kit (the boss of it all at S.S. and D.N.) and she had nothing but wonderful things to say about you. She's aware that we would like to interview you for this position and has given us permission." What do you do when you're told that? I said okay to the interview, even though I had no idea what I was even interviewing for.

Come that Friday, I went in and interviewed. Even after the interview, I had no idea what I had interviewed for. All I know is that I made them laugh a lot. I had to sit in the hot seat around a panel of 5 women. They didn't ask me any strange questions like in my past interviews, but they did ask me what I expected from my supervisor. I answered, "Someone who is approachable." And, just like in all of my past interviews, I shared way too much information. I went on and said, "You have to realize that I've spent the majority of my life working for my dad. It's a completely different dynamic when your parent is your boss. It's hard to separate father from boss, so we argue. A lot. Not that I would argue with you a lot." The whole table laughed at that, and the principal said, "I wouldn't argue with Fr. J., either." I took that as her saying she wouldn't argue with her boss, unless she meant that Fr. J. is also my boss. He is the main boss, but I think she's the boss of the school underneath him.

All week, I struggled with what to do if they offered me the job. I had a feeling they were going too because Fr. J., their boss, was one of the people to bring my resume to their attention. I told myself that if God wanted me to be at the school, then they would offer me the job and I would take it. Later that afternoon, they called me up while I was at work doing my dad's stuff and offered me the job. Of course,I accepted it because I had told God I would. I told them I needed 2 weeks to do work for S.S. and they agreed that I could have those 2 weeks.

Fast forward to dinner that night at Applebee's. My parents took me out to eat to celebrate the new job. I was struggling with feelings of abandonment and worry because I still had no idea what job I had interviewed for. We ended up running into the principal and her husband as they were leaving the restaurant. She was very upbeat and excited to have me on board, and said that I would receive a call on Tuesday from Wendy to discuss when to come in and start the application process, and that Wendy was the woman I was replacing.

I struggled with how to tell S.S. that I had accepted the job. I ran into Kit at church, where Fr. J. told me Kit was going to kill him. When Kit approached us, he literally fell to the ground with his hands over his head saying, "Don't kill me, Kit. Don't kill me." At this point, I'm thinking to myself, "am I really that much of a catch for an employer that they would react this way?" I let Kit know, but for the rest of the weekend, I anxiously waited to tell my supervisor. I felt horrible, like I was letting S.S. down. It literally made me sick to my stomach.

Over the weekend, I looked Wendy up. It turns out, she is/was the school's office manager. I had just accepted a job to be the office manager of a catholic school. What in the world was I getting myself into? I have never been a school's office manager before, let alone a real office manager. I don't have the background or expertise when it comes to being the school's HR department.

On Tuesday (since Monday was Labor Day), I had the worst experience telling my supervisor that the school had offered me a full time position and that I had taken it. My supervisor's response was, "I would say that I'm happy for you, but I'm not." She then went into the many reasons she hates the school, which is the school her children go too. For the rest of the week, she treated me with less respect. I get it. I had just taken a job with her and I had let her down. Her emotions were hurt. Mine would be, too. Part of me was mad at her, though, for being so crass. She even sent an e-mail out saying, "Let's wish Jessie well. Back to the drawing board!" It was the part about "back to the drawing board" that I found unnecessary.

Now to insert a random a story here that has nothing to do with my dilemma. That Wednesday, as I was driving from S.S. to the other office, I was in my dad's car because they took the one I drive on vacation. I guess I hit a jutted out curb off Oliver and Waterman because the next thing I knew, I heard a loud bang and then felt the car driving on a flat tire. I pulled over onto a side street, got out, and found a hole in the tire the size of my hand. It looked like somebody had taken a knife to the tire on purpose and cut a big square out. I called my brother-in-law because I wasn't sure what else to do, but he was out of town. He told me to call my other brother-in-law, but his phone went straight to voice mail. I called my parents, who were on their way back from vacation, and they told me to call the dealership. I did, and the dealership was no help at all. They said they could transfer me to a towing service, but I told the lady on the phone that I just wanted to know where to find the jack and spare tire. They couldn't even tell me that and they were a Buick dealership.

I finally found the jack behind a stereo amp and tried with all my strength to get it loose. It was pointless. the jack was stuck. Just as I was about to give up in frustration and cry my eyes out, a little boy approached me and said, "Do you have a flat tire?" I looked over at the boy, and said, "yes, I do." He goes,"You're in luck. My dad's great at changing tires!" I turned around to see if he and his dad had parked behind me, but it turns out I had parked right in front of their house. His dad came out with all the tools to change a tire. Then, one of their neighbors who was coming home from work stopped to help, too. They looked on their phone where to find the spare tire and did all the work for me. In the meantime, the little boy, who happened to be a 7 year-old second grader named Ethan, offered me some of his candy from last year's Halloween stash. I said that was some pretty old candy, and he goes, "Candy like this never goes old." Touche!

He then asked his dad if he could invite me in to see his Lego tower. His dad said it was okay. I went in and saw the tower, met one of his two cats, and learned all about his lemonade stand and how he and his dad make the lemonade. I asked him if the cat I met was a boy or a girl, and he said, "this is an all male house!' I saw the E on the Lego tower and asked if it stood for his name. He said, "yes! My name is Ethan. That's why we call the tower the E tower." I told him my name and he said, "Jessica is a very pretty name." I then told him that my two cats were both girls and that where I live it's an all female house. I told him we should go back outside because I didn't want his dad and neighbor to think I left them to do all the work. In reality, I was thinking, "I shouldn't be left alone with a stranger's kid in a stranger's house." We went back outside and it was all done. I had no idea how to thank them, so I just told them how grateful I was and then drove the car to my parents house and swapped out cars for my mom's. My parents took the car in on Thursday. It cost them $700 to replace both front tires, even though only one tire was flat. I guess you have to replace both.

Now back to the original story.... On Thursday, I went in with all my necessary I-9 documents. I had no idea that when I went in, that would be my first day of training. Nor did I know that I would be asked to come back on Friday and do another day of training. Then she told me I needed to be somewhere on Tuesday for a PowerSchool training session. I looked at her and said, "no, I can't." She gave me a strange look like, "why not?" I then explained to her, "I'm still working for S.S., and that's the busiest day of the week. I'm not going to do that to S.S. I work for them all day Tuesday and Wednesday and half day Thursday." What I should have said was that I work for them full time and can't start training for at least 2 weeks, but I didn't say that. I ended up starting my training and going in for the last two weeks on my days off. It really pissed me off because I was promised I would have two weeks before starting the job.

Two weeks later, and I hate the job. I literally absolutely hate it. Not just because they made me start training two weeks ahead of schedule, but because I'm not really getting trained at all. Here I am taking over a position I don't know how to do, I'm receiving improper training, and I hate it. Granted, I received NO training at all at S.S. and was lucky I figured out my main tasks on my own right away. Then again, I had the freedom to figure out what I was doing on my own. At the school, my training consists of sitting in a chair and watching Wendy do the job. I brought along a notebook and tried to write everything down, but I look through the notebook and it all sounds like gibberish. Most of the work sounds like boring tasks that were thrown under the Office Manager title to fancy up work that nobody else wants to do. I'm bored out of my mind during these training sessions, and I really don't want to be the HR department or be in charge of the crap nobody else wants to do - like keeping track of kids who are tardy or absent and giving them detention even when it's their parents fault and not theirs that they are late.

I also hate the hours. I have to be there and ready to go by 7:15 AM because the school day starts at 7:30 AM. However, on my very first day, I have to be there at 6:45 AM. Why? Because my first day alone is also picture day and I'm in charge of making sure picture day goes smoothly. I have to be the one to check in with LifeTouch Photography and make sure they don't need anything, make sure everyone is keeping with the schedule they were given, and so much more. I am not a morning person. I can't function until 11 AM most days. I am going to literally despise this job. Everybody keeps saying I'll get used to the schedule, but I won't. I will be overwhelmed, tired, and frustrated.

Then there's all these mandatory training days. How many training sessions does somebody need for PowerSchool? How can a program change that much over the course of a year that you are required to go to over 4 different training sessions? I don't want to have to go to them. The only bright side to those days is not having to wake up until 7 AM instead of 5:30 AM.

I asked for a list of the main duties and functions of the job. Wendy said, "it's a job where it's 'and everything else.'" When I showed up on Friday, she actually gave me a printed out list. I shouldn't have asked for it. Every time I read through it, I get this ball of anxiety eating away at my insides that makes me want to scream and run in the other direction.

S.S. actually came back and offered me a full time position. They couldn't increase the pay, but they could increase the hours to 32-36 hours a week. When you take the cost of health insurance and the 401k out of my hourly pay at the school and compare it to the cost of what I'd be making at S.S., there's only a $500 difference. I don't know what to do. I don't know how to tell the school this job isn't for me, while at the same time... I don't know how to accept the job at S.S. knowing that I'd be receiving less money, worse health insurance, and have a higher gas bill. My parents keep saying I'll be making way more money at the school, but it's not true. Not after you take out the cost of insurance and all of that.

I am sick to my stomach over this. My parents are pushing me to keep the school job, and I don't want too. I feel like I'm trapped - at least for the school year. The school already sent out an e-mail to all the parents stating that I was taking Wendy's place, and have invested time in me. I hate this position that I was placed in. I absolutely hate it. I hate the job. I hate the work. I don't hate the people, but they aren't the same as the S.S. people.

All the companies I was doing bookkeeping work for are disappearing. One by one they're going away, so my supplemental income is quickly dying. I don't even know when I'll have time to do the bookkeeping work for my dad. He said I'll be working for him on Saturdays, but I don't want to work my entire life away. I'm already pissed off enough that I don't get a break between jobs. I feel like I haven't had a break in years. I spent 10 years as a caregiver with a part time job, then I spent the last year dealing with the blow-out from my divorce. Once that was over, instead of having time to recoup, the universe throws the fact that I need to find a new job in my face. So I do, and it's all working out just fine when this happens.

I am feeling very overwhelmed. I am beyond tired. I found two white hairs on my head that appeared overnight. I wish, just once, I could catch a break. A long vacation where I am not obligated to do anything for anyone. Perhaps I should sell my house and all my stuff, buy an RV and live out of that for awhile with the two cats travelling the US or something. Maybe do odd jobs on the side to make it from one place to the next. All I know is, I'm not sure my soul is on earth to be happy because every time I almost feel a sense of purpose and happiness, something like this happens.

I just don't know what to do. I wish I could make like an ostrich and bury my head in the sand until my life is over.

In 19 Seconds

Last Five Entries:

I don't know what to do. - Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019
Only Time Will Tell - Thursday, Aug. 01, 2019
But.... - Wednesday, Jul. 24, 2019
I need strength. - Tuesday, Jul. 16, 2019
The Hunt is On - Tuesday, Jul. 09, 2019

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You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You're on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...

- Dr. Seuss