Saturday, October 20, 2012
My job classification within my department got a band-aid, “if your new (unknown) manager or Dean allows telecommuting, you can get one-day of telecommuting as compensation if you continue your employment with them after 90 days. If you decide to stay with IDD, you will also receive the same opportunity.”
However, there was no mention of where the mysterious 32 laptops for those “non-senior employees” would come from. I am 1 of only 12 people who have a laptop and I’m not handing it over like it’s a piece of bread. I became a senior employee over two years ago by earning it through countless hours of giving 300% and I’ve maintained the top being in the top 25% for over two years… you are going to pry this piece of plastic from my lifeless fingers. In fact, you can only have it, if you hand me something better.
Next, was the instruction to fill out a preference sheet #1-11. You have to decide your “preference” based on which college division you thought would pick you or if you really wanted to stay with our department. It’s hard to consider doing this without knowing which college division values your work enough to pick you for as their preferred #1 or #2 new positions allocated to their teams (and they could only pick 2-3 people out of 44… without contacting you directly.)
I should have called my dad on Wednesday when I first got the information, but it coincided with my mom’s death, I was overly emotional and I just didn’t want to make his day even more of a burden. At least I had Zach’s birthday to be happy about, right? Well, except I was so demolished by the day, I didn’t sleep that night and just worked through the night because I need to not obsess about impeding doom.
I won’t lie… Thursday morning, I went into strategist mode like it was survivalist mode. I qualitatively surveyed random samplings of my competitors/non-threats, just to figure out that the advice my dad gave me at 6am that morning was the best strategy. Sigh, I wasted four hours determining I just needed to be straightforward. I have tip-toed around Deans and Executive Management for 4 years and that was not who I am. I know who I want to work with and they are the best, or it’s not worth the risk of losing what I already have. Should’ve done what dad suggested that morning, because 35+ years at General Electric playing the politics of being a smart and experienced man, without a piece of paper, makes you a darn good strategist.
So sent an email, met with the director, met associate director and said the truth. I got truth back, they already had a list from the college divisions who their 2-3 picks were and their placement is based on when the numbers are a match. With the email already sent, the play was in motion.
Then wait, anxiously.
I got an email at 7:51am Friday morning confirming a match in numbers. So, all I can say right now is if it’s true: my life, my daughter’s life and my husband’s life, got a whole lot better overnight. I will still contribute the same, spend the time, and even work harder... but be in an environment, where I will be respected and trusted based on my performance. I won’t actually say anything officially until Wednesday when it is announced because… I am sort of in disbelief and feel like it’s too good to be true.
My Brookline class felt a little more secure that they would still see their Professor every Friday, same time, same place.
So being high on life, chanting for it to be true,
I get a brick to the face out of the blue.
A former student calls my phone, I answer knowing the number and he is screaming in the phone at me (now I haven’t seen him or talked to him months) and only continued to answer his calls because I was trying to be pay forward the favor, similarly as one Professor did by just believing in me, when I hit rock bottom. So I know he has several severe “emotional disorders” and at first, I was more worried about what he might do to himself… so I tried to talk to him.
He goes off on a rant, saying he is going to blackmail me… but couldn’t answer the question – what is it I did? or exactly how blackmail would work? (When you know you haven't done anything wrong it's kind of impossible to get blackmailed and more impossible for someone to logically answer the question.) He was seriously talking crazy and in circles (without me even able to speak) then hangs up.
So I call him back, calmingly asking him, please talk to me, tell me what’s going on. Then he says, he is going to call the cops and tell them I sell drugs. At this point, I was so confused and alarmed because the law enforcement in Arizona is intimidating even when you know you are innocent… because I was speechless, he hangs up.
So again, I call him back and proceed to try to get the screaming, raging, lunatic to stop and ask him to please just tell me what’s going on. He starts bawling over the phone, saying that I needed to call his girlfriend and make her let him in her house. So I persuaded his to disclose his location, he is apparently outside of his girlfriend's house, found her with some other guy, and she won’t let him in and somehow this is all “my fault… not hers, not his. Mine.”
At this point, he threatens to hurt me and my family and... hangs up on me again. So, I relocate myself and my daughter to our “safe room” because the student does knows where I live. Then, I start searching online to find out what the official policy is for Maricopa Community Colleges if the professor receives a threat. At one point, before class a year ago, I had to talk him down because of the emotional disorders, so I didn't call 911 because I believed that I could do it again. However, I went into accountability mode - I didn't want this lunatic showing up or hurting anyone, so I try to contact Maricopa Community College Safety.
I called six different numbers including Maricopa Emotional Safety’s number……… over twelve times. No one ever answered. Glad I am so safe as a faculty member. (Sarcasm.)
Zach is aware of the situation and decides to go buy smokes. (He is seriously never alarmed by anything, with I was that confident.)
My phone rings again, it is the student again. Now I am directly pissed because he's affected my evening with my family (after obviously a long emotional week). So he got an unexpected verbal whiplashed, I proceed to tell him how he has two choices to make on how the rest of his night is going to go. 1) He’s going to stop acting like a crazy person, leave that location immediately, shut up listen to me and apologize to my daughter for ruining her night or 2) I’m call 911, the cops are coming for you, not me, and your going to jail for threatening me. Concluding with, choose what you do next wisely, because a Professor with no criminal record is a lot more reliable than a person who is screaming crazy talk in the middle of the damn street.
I say, “well…” He says ok I will go home.
So I say, “I will call you in 15 minutes and you better be ready to listen and fucking apologize for this shit.” I hang up.
10 minutes later….
He calls me, says he’s home, and proceeds to bawl and apologize a million times… he had biked to his girlfriend’s house, where he found her not alone, she wouldn’t let him in because there was another guy there and he thought if he could get me to call her I could persuade her to let him in her house.
He bawls some more. I am silent.
I tell him what he needs to hear “If you ever do this shit unprofessional again, I will call the cops on your crazy ass because I have only ever tried to help you with kindness and respect. If you need to talk because shit happens, you manage your damn rage and make a civil phone call because I am not your enemy... but pulling another stunt like this, will make me your enemy.
The only reason, I continue to give you guidance, is to help you through your problems in a positive way. You do not want me as your enemy. You get what you give, your actions are mirrored, when you involve others. Negative actions will only ever get you a negativity response.
I will not tolerate you bringing me or my family, into your personal matter. I will not tolerate threats of violence or whatever you lie you rationalize during your emotional rage, in an effort to blackmail me because you think I can convince someone to take action. I also will never take action on anyone over anything on your behalf, especially when I know you are emotionally enraged and unstable.”
He apologizes to the room while on speaker and says he knew it was wrong. (This lasted for 30+ minutes, while I listened with bleeding ears.)
So after the craziness, Zach went to bed, Nina and I watched tv… I decide to vent through writing until 2:30am because I’ve dealt with a bit too many surprises this week and I am a little shaken.
I just hope that everything next week goes better than this week, because I'm not sure how many more bricks to the face I can take, without having to take a time out for sanity.
Monday, October 8, 2012
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Saturday, July 28, 2012
While I was at New Year's Gongyo at the Phoenix Convention Center I was inspired by the Taiko drums, dancers, chorus performers. I decided I was going to join the dance group with Nina, I've grown to love dance and my dancing myoho sisters... I have actual proof I have become happier in my life.
My first performance was for Daisaku Ikeda Week and it's changed me... Learning hula helped me to connect my heart with my mentor. Before my performance I chanted sincerely and I could feel the interconnectness of humanity and the universe around me. I will be continuing with dance and continuing to enhance my efforts to "be the change I want to see in this world."
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
What I see= frustration, unhappiness, suffering from a loss almost a decade old....
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Today’s TinyBuddha blog got me thinking and reflecting about recent decisions I’ve made. Very recently, I got caught up in this conundrum of wanting to achieve success in something based on the happiness of an experience long ago.
Let me be more specific, when I was in high school (and middle school) I was very involved in the performing arts. I sang in the elite singing group, I was cast in major and minor roles in musical theatre and plays. I loved learning the dances, singing, helping build the set, and creating the aura of performing arts. I did everything I could and stayed involved through most of my pre-college career.
Recently, since my daughter has become more involved in the performing arts – it has made me want to participate again. It brought back the passion of dance, music and song. I joined the SGI-Phoenix United Colors of Kosen-Rufu dance group with my daughter in January. We would both go to practice (and even though she is only 4-years old) she would mimic the dancers with all her heart. Somewhere along the line, I confused my priorities. It became more about me learning the dance, than what it was originally intended to be (an outlet that both my daughter and I could share happily).
There’s not really anyone here to blame other than myself, I established unachievable priorities and lost sight of what was really important… spending time with my daughter dancing. When I lost sight of that objective, I also lost sight of my personal confidence. I began to compare myself to the other dancers (even though they had been dancing for over 7 months, I felt my 4 month commitment should compare). I set unreasonable goals because I thought (well if I could do this 10 years ago, why can’t I now?). Needless to say, I ended up realizing after a conversation with several people – my lacking confidence in myself, ultimately seemed to be rubbing off on everyone else.
So this week I’ve spent a lot of time, trying to figure out where I went wrong. Here’s what I’ve got: first, remembering why I joined the group to begin with: for my daughter and I to share something very special; two, comparing myself to others was very immature of me and three, bringing my lack of confidence and sharing it (unintentionally) was hindering the mission of the group. Finally, I realized that the performance and competition was never about me. (Duh! Right?) It was always about letting my daughter do something she loves: dance.
"Competition has been shown to be useful up to a certain point and no further, but cooperation, which is the thing we must strive for today, begins where competition leaves off." ~Franklin D. Roosevelt
So determining where to go from here, was what I thought about from the moment I realized my priorities had been skewed. First, I’m not quitting dance but I am removing myself from the competition mindset, this was an activity for me and my daughter to share.
I’m reminded of my daughter’s Disney movie called Lilo & Stitch. Lilo (a very young independent Hawaiian girl) says to her new pet (Stitch) after he is playing destructively… “Why don’t you make something instead?”
So I got to thinking and decided, yes that’s exactly what I’m going to do! I’m going to create a Future Division Performance Group Summer Camp. Ironically enough, I asked two people to help and within the hour – both people were onboard. That was my first signal that I was making the right decision. Second, I’ve spent the last few days coming up with ideas of how this production will be, it will be free to all SGI Future Division members (because my daughter and the youth are who I care about the most) and it will let my creative juices run free without the nagging feeling of competition. It is the truest commitment I can make to SGI, which brings me back to Lori’s quote today:
“What we must decide is how we are valuable rather than how valuable we are.” ~Edgar Z. Friedenberg
Monday, April 16, 2012
Over the past week since I’ve returned from vacation, it’s as if all of the walls I constructed to protect my heart have come crashing down. I have had too many high and low moments.
Finding out my favorite blog TinyBuddha.com published my post was an amazing experience. Realizing my message reached more than 500 people was amazing, I felt on top of the world. Then it all came crashing down, I lost my keys to happiness.
I’m sure this is a combination of not being able to afford to go to the doctor to treat the lung infection I have, but more so – it’s the heartbreak of realizing as much as I have chanted for the privilege to be a part of the Ikeda Youth Ensemble, I am merely just another person who failed to be selected.
There are hundreds of dance teams who did not make the cut, but my feelings are different. My dance team made it, only I did not make the cut. It hurts the most, because I was the resounding voice who always said SGI Phoenix would go to California. But because I work five jobs, take care of a person with a disability, and a very intelligent four-year-old. I couldn’t make the time to learn the dance prior to the video submission – so I thought I would support the group in the only way I truly could, by recording the dance. All along I knew in my heart, I would master the dance and have a chance to go to California, in fact, this was one of my own delusions.
I spent most of Saturday night, yesterday and today, crying to myself. Crying because I am not strong enough to handle this…. What’s wrong with me? I should be proud of everyone who worked so hard to go and they are getting to go. I guess I just felt like I had worked hard too, but no matter how I devote my heart and work towards goals they slip by as quick as they were once announced.
"A reformer is one who sets forth cheerfully toward sure defeat." -Lydia M. Child
In Ms. Child’s perception, I am the reformer. I offered help by volunteering to video the group instead of focusing on learning the dance to get the opportunity to go. I created this false delusion all on my own.
I am frustrated by my false delusion, now I see myself as the one who didn’t make it because I didn’t have the spirit of a lion. But on the flip side, no one sees what I go through every day. No one knows I work 60+ hours a week, am the sole provider for a family, I dedicate much of my spare time to helping college students find their way, many hours for non-profit organizations and countless others whether I know them personally or not. I become their bridge to happiness. You would think being so many peoples links to happiness would help me find happiness, but as I wrote for TinyBuddha, everyone loses their keys and mine are lost.
I portray a very strong person, but in reality, I am human and I am weak to my own demons. Some advice on this matter I received from a friend was “to make it a cause to learn the dance anyway, to learn it with all my heart and soul.” That’s a given, but learning the dance doesn’t make the heartbreak go away and being a caring person for everybody else doesn’t lead to personal happiness – although I hope one day it will.
I must face reality as did Buddha, when he saw death, disease and dying… it is inevitable… and you must face the reality. Unfortunately, I’m not a part of the team I thought I was. Though I love each and every one of the dancers and will continue to chant for their success. I will unfortunately, probably always see this as a personal failure.
I am the one person who failed. I guess I have always known that since I never got one of the costumes to dance in. Now if I can just find my way to exhale.
Countless hours of daimoku I am sure.
Thursday, March 29, 2012
I’m getting really excited about my upcoming vacation. It’s been quite the challenge, saving the money, securing the time off, finishing all my current projects at work (early in some instances), finding subs for my on ground teaching, finding time to pack, managing my leadership roles in advance - so I don’t have to check my email every two minutes, and much much more. Let’s just summarize it by saying: a lot of planning and re-planning came into play.
I already know it’s worth it though, just from watching Nina… and her excitement build up… she’s about to burst I think. She just can’t wait to meet her cousins and aunts on Zach’s side of the family. It’s been a decade since he’s seen them, not to mention Nina and I have never met them (with the exception of Internet connection).
Obviously, she can’t wait to meet the Princesses and Fairies at Disney World as well… I can only imagine how the adventure will be in her eyes. I remember my visits to Disney as a child vividly; I remember all of our family trips… the drives were long… but definitely worth it.
I think it’s going to be quite the journey, taking our dogs, driving 31 hours, seeing my dad in a baseball tournament for seniors.
Then there’s the whole purpose of the trip… Reigniting the vows I made five years ago. Ironically I recall a quote by John Steinbeck, “A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.” I don’t know if I ever thought I would get married and but once you make that commitment you can’t give up – ever. No matter what... but I have to say if five years seems like forever, forever surely is eternity. I love you Zach.
Listening to: “Romeo save me, they try to tell me how to feel... this love is difficult, but it's real... don't be afraid, we'll make it out of this mess... It's a love story, baby just say yes."
Anyway, I’m scatterbrained with excitement – I can’t wait to catalog this journey. I know I will remember it for the rest of my life.
“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” ~Henry Miller