Diapers and Dragons

Thursday, June 4, 2009

When Friends Confront

This morning two of my coworkers, who happen to also be friends, came to talk to me out of love.

And you know what that means.

As soon as I saw them at my door with those tell-tale Oh-Honey-We-Love-You-But-We-Gotta-Talk looks on their faces, my heart started pounding and my face flushed and a million possibilities passed through my head--very much that little kid Holy crap what have I done lately that would get me in trouble think think think THINK brain: was it that? Or that? Or this? And how would anyone KNOW? sort of panic.

They are two lovely and loving women, also English teachers, who have been working with me closely for years and are among the very few people at work who actually know the truth behind the drama this year. I mean, I've caused all manner of rumblings among the staff and along the grapevine, what with the whole tons of absences and then disappearing-off-the-face-of-the-earth thing back in December and January. Not to mention, you know, the angst.

It's been a bad year. I just realized yesterday that I've been in the marital trenches, so to speak, for six months now. That's two-thirds of the school year.

No wonder I scored a ridiculous stress level of 309 on a stress test (Actually, I scored 325 but took off a couple because I figured maybe minor changes didn't count). Apparently I should be lying in a hospital bed somewhere.

Anywho, my friends came to me to express their concern, and the concern of others, about my taking over the position of department head this fall. They assured me that this wasn't because people didn't like me or want me as DH, but that they were very concerned with my stress levels and how close I am to burnout and want me to be able to focus on what is important right now.

And apparently there is now another teacher who is willing to take the position next year, with assistance from various members (I love that my department is so willing to share responsibilities), which means that I no longer need to feel like it's my duty to step up because no one else can or will.

And they're right about my needing to lower my stress and focus on my top priorities. So I will not be department head this next year. We'll see what happens after that.

I have mixed feelings, truth be told. On the one hand, I could have really used the sizable chunk of money that would have come with the position. I could have paid off most, if not all, of that nasty line of credit balance hanging out there. And there's the whole ego thing about being head of the department. On the other hand, it's not exactly a fun job.

OK, it's a horrible job. It's lots of work, lots of stress, lots of organization (and I'm SO good at that--not), lots of meetings, and not a whole lot in the way of warm fuzzies. More like icy drafts from Hell.

I think mostly I hate having to face the humbling reality that I can't handle that extra responsibility right now. That's part of My Problem, you know, that whole admitting-weakness thing. I'm used to being all WonderWoman on the outside, able to tackle anything the Big Bad World throws at me. While inside I'm trembling in a corner terrified that people will find out I'm really WhinyWimp. Or at best, mediocre.

I may not like it much, but I am grateful I have people in my life who will come talk to me out of love. I need it.

Even when it hurts.

8 bits of love:

Aludra said...

Making tough decisions that are ultimately the exact right choice - THAT is being wonderwoman. It's easy to say yes to new responsibilities. Usually when you say 'yes' you think it's just your life that is going to have extra stress, and it can be selfish to say 'yes'. It's hard to know when "No" is the correct answer. I just want you to know that you did the right thing for you AND your kids AND those lovely ladies. There's nothing mediocre about doing the difficult and right thing. /cheer

Monica said...

Are you, perhaps, like me? Are you able to give your friends and loved ones excellent advice that you might have trouble taking yourself? I don't know you -- but I suspect that if a friend of yours were in your position, you would be telling her all of the things those lovely ladies told you. Good for you for listening to them. Now, pretend you are someone else, and give yourself the same advice. And Aludra is right -- by making the right decision, you did the harder thing, and so, the more "wonderwoman-y" thing.

Plus, I am married to a former HS english teacher/department head, and yeah, that job sucks. You should be doing a jig that it's off your plate! :)

The Kampers said...

oh man...do I know what you are talking about! I want people to think I have it all together, and there isn't a crack at all in my armor! I think that's called Pride...hummmm...one of those stealthy downfalls...

So glad you have friends who are coworkers and who are real and love you enough to help! Hang in there!

Heidi said...

Saying "no" DOES take a lot of courage, actually.

Good for your friends for giving you advice that you needed. Good for you for taking it!


Arby said...

I watched the older, experienced English Department Head retire, turning over the reigns of our department to a younger teacher with a decade of experience. These two women had one thing in common (besides no major distractions on the home front), they had ice in their veins when they needed it. The rest of the time they were as friendly and helpful as you'd want. From my perspective, they could have that job. The extra money wasn't worth the hassle.

I will say a prayer for you. I hope that your stress level drops and that those major distractions you're dealing with on the home front heal.

GingerB said...

Type A folk like us should be careful about taking on too much. I agree with your readers, I hate someone to see the chinks in my armor, and work is easier that way but my personal life lays my soul bare. I have to be the head dude in my office and it drags me down, but I keep at it because I am a martyr and I know that all those I manage would suffer if I made someone else do it. So I sufer. Don't be like me! I shouldn't be like me. We have wee little kidlets and need to care more for ourselves and families. TM, you made the right call.

LoriM said...

Good for you. I took a less interesting (still clerical) job, with less pay, a couple years ago - because I had to - and it has turned out to be really good for me - and more interesting than I expected, with unexpected opportunities to grow AND less stress. For my season of life (middle age; hormone imbalances, etc.) - less stress was a good thing.

Mackenzie09 said...

O teacher mommy. It's really good that you found a way to release some stress and that your friends are more than willing to help.

I will come and visit you next year (no doubt) and help you out by bringing double chocolate muffins =]... those damn things are, indeed, very persistent.

Smile chickadee, the world hasn't crumbled, at least not completely, yet.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Wait! Where Are You Going?

Wait! Where Are You Going?
Clicky Web Analytics