Sunday, July 25, 2010

Just spent...

Well, I live five minutes from the beach and haven't even seen it over 2 weeks much less spent time there in the sun. For that it has been 2 days short of 3 weeks. That is how busy and overwhelmed I am. I have been playing tennis to try and beat some stress but really, the stress is winning and taking a toll on me.

I have officially lived down here for 9 weeks. I have been back to Athens once, for Ashley's wedding and back to Greensboro once, for my uncle's funeral. My family has been hit hard lately with my uncle's unexpected death and then my cousin, his son, was burned really badly. It has been sad for my mom and for my grandfather, his wife and his kids, who are around my age. I can't imagine losing a father, or a brother, son,'s really reminded me that we are never guaranteed tomorrow...and how much one person can affect a whole lot of people whether it be their influence, their decisions or their death.

So besides those days that I missed of work I have worked 9 weeks. Only the first week (and then 2 days) have I worked WITH my boss. Since I came back from the wedding I have been feeling around in the dark, stumbling along, feeling like I have been thrown to the Lion's den (but that the lions are just circling, causing me fear and anxiety, but not real harm). But I still come home RAGGED every day! I don't think I can live like this anymore! I have written desperate emails and the only response I keep getting is wait. Wait until the director comes back, wait until we get more kids, wait until...until what? Until this place literally falls apart in front of you because it is! Because I am about to lose my temper and FIRE everybody all on the same day and we will have to close the next day because we won't have enough help. Or we wouldn't have any food to feed the kids because I have boycotted Wal-Mart. Or fired the cook. One of my desperate emails stated that if someone didn't get in there to help me I was about to be going to McDonald's and buying 50 Happy Meals for the kids and calling it a day. That got some attention, but showed just how fed up I was!

I have said that I would rather have started from scratch than come into somewhere established and be in a management position immediately--because I don't even know how to work the phones! I wasn't set up to succeed at all and THAT just continues to wear on my soul. Even if I had been 100% confident, the only one in charge, director, owner, biggest boss ever at another center before here...every center is different and I would have a lot to learn. The computer system is new, I HATE dealing with money, I'm not familiar with policies and procedures (IF there even are any for a given situation...) and so HOW can I enforce them? This is a big problem with my employees.

My employees are like nothing I have ever experienced. Most days I feel like I am baby-sitting for them as well, having to go behind them and check to make sure they are doing everything they are supposed to. Did you give them their bottle? Doesn't this baby need to be in a crib? Is the medical form up to date before you give that child medicine? And there are 17 of them! I can't do that all day! They either are responsible enough to get what is expected of them done or they find a new job! There is a lot of the irresponsibility and immaturity, but then there is a big element of disrespect. They walk all over me, taking advantage of my leniency... because generally as long as the kids are taken care of I don't mind HOW it gets done, but they can't handle that.

They have to be told specifically what they cannot do. Like go to lunch and not come back for 3 hours. Well she was "stuck at the bank." I am sorry, but anywhere I have ever worked any responsible employee would look at their watch and see that they were going to be late would leave and have to go back later. "But I called." Well what am I supposed to do? She's already there. She knows she get's one hour for lunch, she knows she could get in trouble for being late REGARDLESS of calling, though that was considerate... So the general manager, the lady who is over even my director, has come in to help me with employee problems. She says, write them up.

But I don't know how to write them up, where is it written that she should only take one hour for lunch, where is it written that they can only use the TV during these hours, where is it written when they are suposed to turn in diaper charts, lesson plans, cleaning charts and when? And then what if I do write them up. What does that mean to them? How many write ups before something actually happens? Nothing says. What if I write someone up for the same offense 5 times, what if I write them up for several more minor infractions, what about a MAJOR infraction...all write-ups are NOT created equal...but people, I AM NOT THE BOSS (except that I am until the boss comes back) I am just the assistant. I will not fire people, and I really don't want to tell some girl who is older than I am how to act like an adult and responsible employee or she's getting the boot.

I have policies to write, weekly menus (every week (as if weekly didn't tell you that...)) and weekly lesson plans (because the kids aren't getting ANYthing from the "lesson plans" the teachers are responsible for writing and turning in...) I'm frustrated and discouraged. I'm exhausted and I don't know what else to do. I never leave work in the evenings before 6:45 and it is usually closer to 7:45. That puts me getting home at 8...with a ton of work still left to do, work that really, if I don't get it done the next day would be a mess. Rearranging staff schedules, covering several lunch breaks, mostly because multiple staff members call in sick each day.

Also because of fighting. We have had several cases of high school drama folks and it is the stupidest thing. It makes me so mad that I can't even move 5 hours away without escaping the drama. Why can't people just grow up. I don't want to have to rearrange staff members every week because they can't get along with each other, because they don't like working with so-and-so. It ticks me off. I have one who has worked with about every other employee we have and can't get along with any of them. AND I UNDERSTAND...I am [apparently] pretty difficult to get along with. But really? Some of them are lazy and want a co-worker who will do all the work while they do nothing all day; some of them want the lead teacher position and are tattle-telling on the co-worker trying to get her fired thinking she will get her spot...and they think I don't see what they are trying to do! I have decided that I am gifted in working with kids for a reason...because adults I just can't handle...

So everyday my emotions range from feeling like I am not good enough to do this job, that I'm not capable enough, smart enough, quick enough...mean enough...that the people above me must regret their decision to hire me, because I am fragile and not very confident. (But in my defense they hired me as the assistant director, not the director; though I'm sure there isn't a job description for either, I just know I'm doing BOTH.AND they didn't train me well enough to even just do MY job. Of course I can't do BOTH jobs! I'm only one person...and I AM kind of fragile emotionally speaking :/

Then the other hand, when I get so frustrated and angry, it is hard for me not to just get swept away with my pride...I'm better than them, I'm educated in Child and Family Development from the University of Georgia, they are immature, irresponsible and uneducated, of course they are impossible. Most of them are wrapped up in baby-daddy-drama, are unmarried with a kid at least. It is HARD for me not to judge and condemn them, it is HARD for me to love them. I've tried, and I've prayed...but when you take advantage of my kindness and clock in 45 minutes early everyday earning themselves almost 7 hours of over time (time-and-a-half), yes, I lose my patience. I should not have to go behind fully grown women and monitor their hours. Are they working the time they are scheduled, do they clock in more than 5 minutes early? Clock out more than 10 minutes late? Because there is a notice that is posted RIGHT in front of their faces AT the time clock that reminds them. I don't have TIME to monitor 17 other people's times 4 times a day 5 days a week. I need to be able to trust them to do the right thing. So I don't know how to show them Christ's love. I don't know how to even show them my respect. Because they just try to pull a fast one on me if I turn my back for a second.

I haven't talked to some of my best friends in a couple of weeks and that sucks, but some people are staying in touch. In fact I just started a Bible study with one of my friends ;) and maybe that will help things. Maybe our friend Beth will offer some advice on how to combat that ugly pride, how to show love and respect, sympathy and kindness to people who just take advantage of me. How I can better live without praying "to just make it through today, make it to the weekend." Because on the weekend I sleep for 14 hours and try to get enough work done to start the next work week with my head above water...even if that only last for 2 hours on Monday morning.

So if you want to come to the beach, I would love company. If you want to offer advice on successfully managing [difficult] employees, please feel free; and if you want to call me up just to pray for me sometime, I would welcome your pleas on my behalf :) And I would love to pray for you too...I can pray a lot better for you than for myself right now. Funny how that goes sometimes...


  1. i am so sorry Catherine! That is ridiculous that they would throw you in like that, and I have NEVER worked with people that bad.
    I pray that the Lord would grant you wisdom in all the decisions you have to make, strength to endure, peace in the chaos, and joy in hardship. grace, grace, and more grace to you!

  2. oh Ray...I've been thinkin' about you cause we hadn't talked since that last phone convo. I don't have any kind of answers or advice for you but I am praying for you.I meant it when I said you could call me anytime just to unload or tell me about your day. Love you much!

  3. actually I do have some advice....please take ONE hour sometime very soon and take a walk on the beach...when it's not crowded or too hot. You need it!

  4. Yikes!! This stresses ME out!! My only advice for dealing with those girls would be to have a staff meeting or something and just let them know that there are a million people out there who want jobs and you are taking applications. If they want to keep their jobs, they need to earn them, since they're easily replaceable. And get your boss(es) to back you up. And also to take a walk on the beach. I miss you!!

  5. aww Catherine I feel for you (to a small degree). I had to 'manage' employees for my assistantship, and it was the toughest thing I've ever done. I was definitley not cut out for it. Being responsible for anyone's work but my own was very stressful. But God used it to teach me lots of stuff... so hang in there! This too shall pass. Love you!