Can’t shake the fear…

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Fright Night.” What’s the thing you’re most scared to do? What would it take to get you to do it?

I am not the person who likes to skydive, rock-climb or bungee-jump. I am also not the person to jump off the high-dive, scuba-dive, or go on roller coasters. I can’t explain why but I just can’t do it.

My few experiences with roller coasters have left me feeling like my heart was going to explode and I was going to die.  I also felt this way when I have tried to slide down a very high waterslide. The anxiety is terrible and I don’t know where it comes from, even with Boyfriend nearby. These feelings have only gotten worse with age. The last time I tried a roller coaster was when I rode The Cyclone at Coney Island. I froze during the short ride with my brother and I completely detached from the experience. My brother said that I made noises he couldn’t describe, and that he felt bad for me while he giggled through the ride.

I’m not sure why, but Boyfriend and I took the train and stood at the top of Pike’s Peak on our first vacation together, and I was ok. I was nervous, but I was able to get past these feelings and enjoy the beautiful view atop the mountain. Boyfriend and I took the ski lift during a summer trip to Jackson, WY a few years ago, which I did after saying my prayers, and I ended up being fine. I took this ride to prove that I could do it. This was a day after I had an anxiety attack which prevented me from riding the Incline Railway down into the Royal Gorge (Colorado), which Boyfriend really wanted to do and was understanding about. I trust him and my Brother and believe when they say I’ll be ok, but I just can let go of my fear. I may be missing out, though I would rather feel safe. Anxiety is not fun! Maybe is it because I didn’t climb trees, learn to swim until high school, and was not really encouraged to take risks so it was not part of my development.

What has helped you get past your fear of something, such as heights or deep water? Please share any suggestions in the comments.

© 2015 blogdaysofchrell

If you leave… I will be soon.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “If You Leave.” Life is a series of beginnings and endings. We leave one job to start another; we quit cities, countries, or continents for a fresh start; we leave lovers and begin new relationships. What was the last thing you contemplated leaving? What were the pros and cons? Have you made up your mind? What will you choose?

The most recent decision I made about “leaving” was taking a new job in Austin, TX and giving notice to my current job. Deciding to leave a job is something that I have done before, and I left for a better opportunity. I had been a residential case manager for chronically mentally ill adults for three and a half years. I left to become a Juvenile Case Manager with better pay and a chance to build on my experience, and to overcome my burnout. I am leaving my current job working with chronically mentally and medically ill adults to again work with juveniles. I will receive better pay and benefits with new opportunities for training and growth but I am starting over again, and I will be fighting morning traffic. I However,  will have three day weekends to recover from my long days! I am happy to be  joining a successful, already established program after working with back-to-back new programs, especially one that still has bugs to work out.

I am making a few trade-offs because I miss doing the kind of work I did for seven years. It gave me daily opportunities to help youth and families and give back to the community. I was a positive adult in the lives of many young people, many of whom came from single parent families, low-economic status, and negative brushes with authority. The work was not easy but I liked being able to listen to them, talk with them, and help them set goals while learning from their mistakes. I welcome the daily opportunities to do this again. I know that the new job and my former youth job will be different in many ways but I am hoping to be inspired again. I considered the commute, leaving the team short-handed and how important a pay increase is. There is no room for advancement and only small incremental raises, and no longer felt that my current job and I are the best fit for each other.  I hope the best for the team I am leaving and I am grateful to have gotten a job after moving to a new place two years ago, but… it’s time to move on, just as it was time to move to a new place and a new life.

I believe that you sometimes need to make a change, or many changes, to be happy, to feel inspired, or to be appreciated. There are times when you do what you can until you can do what you really want to do. I think that you have to realize that life goes on with or without you, whether at work, at school, or in your community, and that everyone leaves to start over at some point. Maybe it’s your turn today,  and tomorrow will be theirs. It is hard to feel like you are leaving people behind, but you have to do what you feel is best!

© 2015 blogdaysofchrell

!!!!!!!??????….. Punctuation

courtesy of Arvin61r58 /Clip Art
courtesy of Arvin61r58 /Clip Art

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “By the Dots.” We all have strange relationships with punctuation — do you overuse exclamation marks? Do you avoid semicolons like the plague? What type of punctuation could you never live without? Tell us all about your punctuation quirks!

Seeing this prompt made me think of that Seinfeld episode where Elaine gets mad at her boyfriend Jake Jarmel for not using an exclamation point on her phone messages. As a big fan of the show, it was hard to pass up a chance for a Seinfeld reference!

I like exclamation points, though I try not to over use them. Sometimes it is hard not to, especially if you are expressing something about which you feel strongly. I will occasionally use emoticons, if appropriate, but not in place of words. When I use emoticons in text messages, it is usually at the end to cap off the message. If I am writing a letter or a message long-hand, I will draw the exclamation point with an inverted triangle and a circle under it to really emphasize it.

Courtesy of Chris Design/Clip Art
Courtesy of Chris Design/Clip Art

Now that I mentioned Seinfeld , I think it would be funny if a few of the episodes had bold captions like the Batman episodes did. What do you think?




© 2015 blogdaysofchrell

A change will do you good… and so will a vacation

I gave two-week notice to my employer yesterday, and I finalized the new opportunity I mentioned a few days ago. Yay!!! I am very excited about the new job, which will have similarities to my previous job, but includes a nice pay increase, a four day work-week, and ongoing training. The drawback is that I trade a 25 minute round trip for a 90-120 minute round trip and a job in the city. Overall, I think I made the right decision because I really wanted another chance to work with youth, and this is what I will be doing. I will be using my skills and experiences and building upon them.

Most jobs have ups and down, and my recent job was no different. I was hired two years ago for a new program in an already established department that was expanding in a new direction. My small team brings many strengths to the table, but also VERY different personalities and work styles. This has made for some interesting days and several headaches. We all have unique relationships with the boss and with senior staff in the department. Some people get frequent public pats on the back (though someone else did all the heavy lifting), some take frequent sick days, some do things her way. Don’t get me wrong, there a few people department-wide that I really learned from and with whom I enjoyed working and I wish we could have worked directly more often. All of this factored into my decision because it is not fun going to work dealing with one or two of your co-workers only when you have because they are like a box of chocolates. Ultimatley, the program has shown success and we have helped many people in need, but it still needs some work as far as policies, consistent decision making, standardization of duties, etc. I know we are all doing the best we can… and things take time.

So, despite my grumbles, I handled myself professionally because that will be remembered. I gave a full two-week notice, told the boss before anyone else, and had my resignation letter  in hand. I expressed myself appropriately and respectfully, while somewhat defending myself and a teammate, because this meeting was for my evaluation and became my resignation meeting. I was mostly pleased with my evaluation but it also re-enforced why I am leaving. I feel a bit bad to leave the team short-handed but I think each person would also do what was in their best interest. I am contemplating quietly airing my concerns before I leave so it might help the team run a bit smoother, or at least cut down on some of the tension.  I’m not sure if that will look like I am throwing someone under the bus or if it will bolster thoughts expressed by others based on their experience with specific team members.

The past week and a half  has been a whirlwind and I’m sure the next two weeks will be as well while I wrapped up my duties. The best part for me is the 9 days in between ending and starting my jobs, which allows for a long weekend trip to NYC to visit my brother.   I haven’t seen my brother in a year and a half, and his girlfriend and I will get to know each other better. Boyfriend will enjoy few well-deserved days to rest, relax, and work on a few creative interests while I am gone.  I thank him for suggesting that I need to take a break before such a big transition. When I return, I will still have the six days to rest, relax, spend time with Boyfriend, and get my work clothes ready. I will start my new job and have three-day weekends each week, something new for me. It will be a lot of changes but I welcome them.

During another recent post, I mentioned attending the Transforming Trauma workshop given by Laura Van Dernoot Lipsky. Laura talks about having a Plan B for yourself… figuring out would you be doing if you changed jobs/careers. She asks you to consider if what you are doing is working for you, and to think about why you do what you do regularly. These thoughts crossed my mind many times, and they crossed my mind while making my decision. It was very helpful.  Have you switched jobs recently or considered looking for a different job? I guess I’m curious how commute, money, the job entailing work you want to do, and opportunities for professional growth factor into people’s employment decisions. And what gets you to consider getting a different job or changing careers? Is it co-workers or the boss? Un- even treatment/toxic or unsafe environment? Or is the pay and benefits?

I think most people have fleeting thoughts about changing jobs or careers, especially on a bad day, but looking for a job is not fun and can be very time consuming. In the end, the effort is worth it, especially if you find what you are looking for. If you are not happy, please think about what you can do to make yourself happier or healthier in some way.

© 2015 blogdaysofchrell

Things can change quickly… Learn to accept and change what you can’t…

It’s only Tuesday and I’ve already had a busy week. My life will change pretty soon, mainly due to a new opportunity that I have almost finalized. A good friend told me that you never stop looking for job opportunities and other ways to improve your situation, he was right.

Working in social services keeps you on the look-out because things can change quickly, especially when grants, partnerships and government agencies are involved, both for the good and the bad. Some things go through a multi-step process, which takes time. Even working in a social service job, you learn to be prepared for the unexpected on a daily basis. You have good days and challenging days, hard days and easy days, and then there are the days you want to run off screaming. I have had many of those in my life, and definitely in the recent past. Some of these moments were brought on by me, some by my work environment. The Serenity Prayer comes to mind –

Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference.

Changes can be hard but necessary, and a change of scenery can re-ignite your interest and motivation. In my case, I am optimistic that this opportunity will be an improvement for me, my skills, and my future. Wish me luck, and I’ll keep you posted.