Thursday, July 30, 2009

Disappointment and rejection

About three weeks ago I went on a job interview. The interview seemed to go well from my perspective (I generally think they do). I called last Friday and they were still making decisions, but at that time I was still "in consideration", which started my weekend off with a hopeful feeling. Yesterday I got the impersonal form email that the position had been filled and thank you for your interest. I couldn't help but to feel disappointed. And rejected. Yet again.

I know you can't take this kind of rejection personally. And I don't. Mostly.

In the past two years I have been on nine interviews. Maybe that's not alot, maybe it is. (not to mention I have sent out probably over 100 resumes through, not sure where in cyberspace those actually go--have emailed out probably close to 50 copies of my resume, and mailed out around 10 hard copies--which doesn't sound like many!!) Out of all nine interviews I have never had a formal offer of full-time employment. One place offered me to work as an independent contractor part-time, but I would have to keep my current job to have benefits, and working two jobs just isn't want I wanted to do. I look back on all of the positions, two were working as college counselors, a career direction I have really wanted to take all along. I am sure I lost out to someone with more relevant experience, as most of my experience is working with kids. Two positions were working at a medical group, two were at agencies working with kids with developmental issues, two were working at another social service agency, one was working in foster care. All were somehow different than my current job, a different setting, slightly different population. Different hours. Just different. I know different isn't always better, but when you are getting burned out and feeling stuck where you are at, different sounds wonderful.

My whole goal is to find a job 1) with better hours and no on-call responsibilites 2) where I can work more independently and have more say in how I manage cases, not have a supervisor micro-manage me and can actually feel like I am using my clinical license 3) have opportunities to gain new and different experiences and to actually move up and not stay at the same level I have for 5 years now. These frustrations make me want to forge ahead, but with so much rejection and disappointing results I am losing my motivation. And after all, a month ago I was just lucky to have my job. Right?

I remember feeling this same sense of rejection when I was applying for graduate school. Foolishly, I applied mostly to Clinical Psychology Ph.D. programs, even when I told they were highly competitive and with my B.A. from Eastern Illinois, not the most prestigious of universities, it was unlikely I would get accepted, even with a 4.0 and all kinds of other honors and accomplishments on my application. So I eagerly awaited news, anxiously emailed contact people asking when decisions would be made. Started receiving disappointing emails and letters in the mail. The worst was from the University of Illinois. I had been emailing them back and forth asking about when they were making decisions, until one day in my inbox it read loud and clear "APPLICATION REJECTED." I am serious! My opinion of the high and mighty U of I changed that day. Eventually I was accepted into two Master's programs, and I took the one that offered me the graduate assistantship and tuition waiver. And now I realize if I didn't go to ISU I likely wouldn't have worked in Bloomington and likely wouldn't have met my husband. So it was all meant to be, right?

As I look back, I think, well maybe this job wasn't meant to be, maybe it wasn't the job for me. Sure, it was better hours, working for a hospital/medical group. But it was a longer commute (15-30 minutes longer), working all with teenagers, which definitely has major pro's and major con's. Or maybe I am just really meant to stay where I am at for some reason. Somedays it's not too bad, I have some pretty cool clients now, but once they are doing better we have to close them anyway. So many co-workers have come and gone since I started I feel I only have connection with a handful.

As the Clash said, "Should I Stay or Should I Go?"

I want to go, nowhere else wants me.

Is the grass really greener? At this point I just want to be able to stand on that grass and find out for myself.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Pet peeves and general rants

Happy Friday!

Do you notice how people are never quite happy with the weather? It's always either too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry. Luckily here in Illinois if you don't like the weather just wait a day and it's bound to change, or so they say. It's been an unseasonably cool July here in Chicagoland. Personally, I am enjoying this bought of slightly cooler, drier weather. I know it's July and it should be 90 degrees with 100% humidity, but hey, I don't have a pool, a boat, or a million dollars to spend air conditioning my house. Plus I just love being able to sleep with the windows open!

On that note, just a few general rants to start off my Friday. Today is the last day for some of my co-workers. About half of the people initially who were given lay off notices were called back due to changes in the state budget, which was a blessing. However, for those leaving today, the feeling is bittersweet.

On another work related note, last week I experienced a week long bought of severe burn out. I heard long ago when I said those magic words "I want to work with kids" that there is a high rate of burn out for clinicians working with children. Last week I felt it--in my aching neck and shoulders, my exhausted body, my short temper, my cloudy mind. My patience was very low. I just wanted to say to parents, "sorry, your kid is a brat, what do you want me to do about it? maybe if you were home more, maybe if you didn't have 5 different boyfriends in 5 years" or "sorry, your kid is hyperactive. You shouldn't have smoked while you were pregnant" (I believe research states this is true, but if not I have enough anecdotal evidence to back this one up) and I wanted to tell a few of my kids "quit whining! grow up! tell the truth! take a bath! bullshit! or WTF???"


Not so therapeutic. Luckily, I never expressed any of these thoughts to my clients. Though, for some of them, hearing the brutal truth may be what they need....therapy is so weird sometimes! I work with kids for several months, maybe a year. Sometimes I see them grow and change, if I am lucky I see their parent grow and change too. Sometimes I see change, and the parent insists there is none. I hear the same complaints week after week, I listen, empathize, give suggestions. Nothing changes. Are we wasting every one's time? I even asked a client and mother this last night. They never said yes. If anything, I try to help a kid recognize their own strengths and talents. I figure even if my client and their parent continue duking it out at home hopefully he/she will remember someday that someone helped them to see the good they have inside. Everyone has some, I do believe that.

On a less serious but more acutely annoying note, I HATE when I leave people voice messages and they either never call me back or they call back but CLEARLY didn't listen to my message. So annoying! You see you have a message, listen to it. Parents of my clients do this all the time!!! I leave messages with appointment times, and clearly they didn't listen to it. I have learned to never leave my parents voicemails on their cell phones. I have shown them each like a hundred times how to check voicemail and they still can't do it. So I leave them a message on their old school home answering machine, which they still barely check, but at least know how.

Also, I HATE when you go on interviews and they say they will call you to let you know when they have made a decision. In my experience, this rarely happens. If you are lucky, three months later you get a form letter or email that says sorry, someone else was better qualified, but best of luck in your career search. I HATE even more when you email or call and leave messages with the people who interviewed you, who say at the end of your interview to contact them with any questions, and they never respond. I guess I wouldn't want to have to call someone and say "sorry, we didn't hire you" but at least you can send a nice, impersonal email! Silence often speaks volumes, but I would rather just know for sure to move on. However, recently I did get a return message from an interviewer that someone else was hired, and I told her that I really appreciated her calling me back. And I did.

Another major pet peeve--bad spelling of common words and misused grammar. I am talking simple grammar, like using words like there and their incorrectly. Or when my boss sends out memos or emails with misspelled words, Word and Outlook do have Spell Check. I know how famous people like JFK supposedly were horrible spellers and still succeeded, and I don't expect people to know how to spell words you would find on the GRE vocab test, but seriously, come on! It drives me a little nutty!

Anyway, so I guess I should get back to work.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Taking time to smell my flowers

A day or two after I took the last picture, I saw that the wildflowers I had planted around the side of the house had finally opened up. This picture doesn't do them much justice--I was delighted to see bright pinks and deep blues and warm purples appear! Next to it I also planted a bluish/purple hydrangea plant which was on clearance, it wasn't looking so good but I hope to use my newfound gardening skills to nurse it back to health. About a month or so ago my husband bought me a set of gardening tools (I think they were on sale with a rebate from Menards. Save Big Money at Menards! He LOVES Menards!) so at least he's encouraging my habits :)
I was also excited today to find growing in my vegetable garden two green tomatoes and a cucumber about the size of a baby's finger. Also a few of the agapanthus bulbs I planted just sprouted stalks and may flower soon...I am dorky for being excited about all of this???

Sunday, July 12, 2009

As my garden grows

So it's been awhile; after finding out I still have a job it seems that I have either been busy working (at my job), working outside on our yard, going to family gatherings, or just sleeping!

So here's the status of my garden/flowerbed. As you can see, the little white flowers are the only things blooming so far, but there's lots of green (which is good! except for the ones we aren't sure are weeds or flowers, so far I am giving them the benefit of the doubt). I was pretty amazed watching my little bulbs and seeds start to germinate and grow. I can't help but be amazed by the simple beauty of nature sometimes, how a little water and alot of sunshine is all plants need to live and flourish.