March 21, 2012

The Road and My Place On It

Today has been difficult. From start to finish, it has been a challenge. I woke up later than usual, and didn't get out on the road until 7 a.m. This put me a good half-hour behind in starting my day, and once I arrived at work, I realized that I was not going to be able to make up for the lost time. I ended up coming home at 3:30, like normal, simply because I was exhausted and tired with what had taken place.

I spent the morning working with my new and potential students. I have 8 REG'd now for April, with 4 more waiting to be financially cleared. This will make 12, possibly 14 if my two long-rollers finally get a move on and finish their paperwork. I have had to work hard to clear these students, and I have spent a lot of time walking to class, to workshops, and even having to reprimand one for not completing a required orientation class, and thus, losing her start date. It has been a tough month, and today, was no exception.

To top things off, at 1:00 p.m., we had a weekly staff meeting. I was hopeful that it would be different, but it was more of the same. The same old coaching on how to enroll students, how to have a conversation, and how to get a "referral." I know that this is important, but it is so "sales-y" and that always has been a fly in my ointment. I simply prefer the soft-sell, the friendly way in which you present options and allow the user/student to make their own choice. I don't believe that my conversations needs to be structured or coached.

Both managers, old and new, are into coaching. This is what a manager does at UOPX. They coach you on what to say, how to say it better, and they how to say it differently. I get tired of the coaching, and I feel that it is so anti-development. This is how companies develop leaders -- through coaching. I am not sure who bought that line, but it was probably Tony Robbins or someone like that who feed the masses, and it is not part of the lingo of our culture. I prefer the straight talk, being genuine and honest, and listening to people. I also believe in giving advice when asked, and then offering options to help people decide on their own. I am about self-empowerment, and people development that is internal. This is what develops naturally, and frankly, you can try to make a turnip into an apple with all the coaching in the world, but at some point you gotta realize that this vegetable just aint going look or taste like a fruit.

This is how it is at my job. We are coached on how to be super conversationalists, how to have a discussion that is student-centric. We want to explore motivation, and we want to help students discover why they want to go back to school. Just saying "to get a job" isn't good enough. No, there has to be a deeper reason, and more pertinent response.

Most of my students want to get a good job. Some want a specific career, and some don't know -- they just think they need an education. I am OK with these differences -- they represent the various walks in life. Not everyone is on the same road at the same time. We are all journeying at our own pace. I respect that. I understand it. And, I accept the fact that we are all unique individuals with individual stories to tell.

I also accept the fact that not every student is touchy-feely, and not every student want hand-holding. I have students who just want the facts. I have student's who want to cry over their assignments. They are all different, and I accept them for who they are and where they are right now. I am happy to do it, and I like that I am not putting a mask on my face. I am who I am, and what you see is what you get with me.

It has always been this way with me. When I was in my own business, I would tell clients that I am their only contact -- there was no other support team. I was it. If they needed me, they could call me. I was there for them, and I was their go to person.

I am still that way, but now, I struggle because I am being asked to do things differently, and that goes against my grain. It is not aligned with the way I think or work. I am successful in my job, but I am successful for two reasons: 1) the Lord blesses me daily; and 2) He provides students for me to enroll (I do the work, He motivates the students to contact or accept the call).

The last months have been a drain on me. I am frustrated with the process, with the emphasis, and with the constant "coaching" that resembles nit-picking. It is like pick, pick, pick -- do this, do this, do this. I don't want to be told what to do anymore. I am happy doing what I am doing, and it works.

Today, I cried at work. It was the first time I really cried, and it felt so good to take off my mask. I have had this mask on since I started there. I have tried to be Miss Polly Perfect, and I have succeeded. I am well liked, my peers look up to me, and now two managers and a director have told me that I am a shining star (in not so many words). However, with all that said, I dread going into work, and I dread making the phone calls, and picking up the phone. I dread the "one on one" with my manager, and the CWEB calls that tell me I didn't meet expectations (always on discovery). I am failing at the SSP and the SSE (processes my school uses to rate performance). At this rate, I will never be promoted.

Furthermore, today was an eye-opener. We recently had our mid-year reviews. There were hundreds of advisors up for promotion. I assumed that if you were progressing (doing your job well), and had completed your required training, you would get a title change. Guess what! I found out that today there are only limited positions open, and with hundreds's applicants, it just makes sense that not everyone will get a promotion.

I am not too shocked with this news -- I have seen it coming for a while. The new career progression changes and the way we have been trained in the process has made it pretty clear that they were going to be limiting how employees are hired, are trained, and then promoted.

I came home weary, and wondering about my future here. I am glad to have a job, this is for certain. I cannot live without this job, so I am not going to jump ship willy-nilly. I am also not going to take the first opportunity that comes around to me. No, I have decided that the only other job I would like to test out is teaching. I have wanted to be a teacher for nearly 35 years, but I never did it. I am now about to graduate with my Masters and I have decided that the next opportunity will be to try and get a teaching position at the community college (or another college).

Moreover, I am now considering that this will be a viable option for me, Lord willing. I cannot get hired on my own, and I am not going to even look until He tells me to do so. For now, I am going to remain at my job, wait things out, graduate with my Masters degree and then watch as the Lord opens doors for me. Until that time, I have decided that I am going to be myself. I am going to stop worrying, and I am going to stop trying to be someone I am not. I am myself. I am me. I like me. I can do my job as myself so long as I don't try to be someone else.

As I consider this path, I realize that I am a non-traditional learner and a non-traditional employee. I don't fit corporate America. I don't fit into the big machine. I am a little cog in the big wheel, and I simply don't fit well. I am good at what I do, and I do try my best each day -- I am just not the "company man." I am God's woman, I belong to Him, and I am seeking to please Him. This means that no man will ever be pleased with me because my profile, my work ethic, and my abilities stem from Him, and are founded and developed through His Merciful Grace. I am God's handiwork -- His handmaiden, fit for His service and created to worship Him. Amen, Alleluia, Amen.

No comments: