Saturday, August 31, 2013

It's all in my job description

As much as I've been talking about work on this here blog I don't like to share toooo many details because of the paranoid side of me thinking about who could potentially read this.  But it has been such a HUGE part of my life lately that I wanted to chronicle some of this time in my career so I can remember later.

For those who don't know, I've basically been with the same non-profit for many many many many years and my job has changed and evolved almost on a yearly basis.  Most recently it was thanks to my "brilliant" idea of creating a proposal to restructure and improve the quality of one area I was supervising-our child care center.  So by choice, my position that previously supervised multiple areas in our department, turned into being the director of our center.  Some people thought I had been demoted and didn't understand the change but it's something I thought long and hard about and for reasons I will leave out here, felt I had to do-for myself and for the program.  My title stayed the same and in all honesty, it's 100% more work, so in my mind it was not a demotion.

My boss had to talk me off the ledge on several occasions when I'd have my, "oh shit, what have I done" moments and my, "I'm not sure I would hire MYSELF for this position," moments.  Each time I was reassured that I was capable, that I was doing a good job, that it was going to get worse before it got better, that much of what I experienced was "normal" for any program going through a change of leadership, and that I was being my worst critic.  Let's also add insomnia, anxiety, tears, and more to the list of what I experienced (insomnia still but not as bad).

That whole, "it'll get worse before it gets better," part?  Yeah, that happened...and again, due to paranoia I have to leave out many juicy details but in a nutshell the worse part included:  staff turnover, come to Jesus meetings, phone calls at all hours of the day, millions of interviews and at times no interviews when I was so short staffed.  (It took months but I am currently fully staffed, thank God.)

It is a position that I know a good deal about, but in so many ways am learning as I go.  The biggest lesson:  everything is in my job description like-fixing a freezer, getting rid of fire ants, cleaning up vomit, fixing a toilet, taking care of a water leak, and taking bunnies to the vet.  Okay, so thankfully I have a maintence person to actually do the fixing of things part but I get the honor of being the first contact.

And then the hardest and saddest thing I've faced in my career happened.  One evening I got a phone call letting me know that one of our kids had passed away from a freak accident at home.  I am not a good enough writer to eloquently write about the experience but it was life changing.  I have the honor of still working with the parents and sibling who experienced this tragedy and wow, just wow.  They are amazing.

I'm lucky to be able to serve families like this and it's a big part of why I'm able to say we successfully completed our first week of school.  I have no doubt that it will continue to be challenging but I'm proud of us so far. 


Maggie said...

Oh my gosh... my heart just stopped. that's the worst thing I can imagine. I'm so sorry, Jessica.

Ann Price said...

Thanks for this insight and I hope things continue to improve. So very sad about the child and I really hope that is the first and LAST time you have that happen. My thoughts are with you and the family.

jessica said...

Thanks girls. I feel like I should clarify about the sweet child who passed away-it happened at home due to a freak accident. The family's amazing strength and the sweet sibling still in our care is one of my biggest motivators to creating a great program these days.