Saw this article today at cnn.com I am a devout Christian. I’ll stop comfortably shy of ‘Bible Thumper’, because I just can’t cotton to people who switch off their brains on a routine basis……and Bible Thumpers like to call ‘Evolution’ STUPID! Hmmmmmm, like they bring something better to the table?! But, I digress…………
I admire this young woman and her mother. The thing I’ve always said about bringing religion into schools is: You’re fine with it as long as it’s YOUR religion. You can have a GREAT school, providing a great education for kids, and not endorse religion…….yes, it can happen! When I read this article, I can see the people (I was born not too terribly far from where this school is located)….using good old Jesus talk as a mean, awful weapon. Don’t misunderstand: I don’t think Christianity is always meant to be about holding hands and sharing jelly beans….but this young woman is going to this place to get an education. This is America. If she doesn’t believe in God or even if she simply doesn’t want ‘God’ (again, the Louisiana-flavored God) in her classroom……that’s fine…….heck, its better than fine! She shouldn’t have to put up with mean stares. She’s not going to churches, standing outside on Sunday morning giving mean stares to people as they leave church!
It hurts to see people who (allegedly) believe in the God you believe in behaving in such horrible ways. Please don’t lump all of us into the same pot…….that’s all I’m asking.
At the moment, I’m a part-time graduate student. I’m FAR past my 40th birthday and grad. school was suppose to’ve been very much in my rear view mirror by now…….but I digress. I have a stable job, and except for a brief period a good while back, my employment situation has mostly been pretty stable as an adult. Anyway, a bunch of my coursework is built around Human Resources-related topics…….and right now, we’re talking about something known as ‘Need’ theory and ‘Expectancy’ theory……..these are old, stalwart parts of the world of human resources. So, I’ve been thinking about stuff like why we work and (you guessed it) what we hope or expect to get out of work, yada-yada-yada. It’s funny how, in big parts of our lives, we hope for ‘stable’ work and/or a ‘steady’ paycheck……that is, of course, a big thing for most people. I’ve been laughing, lately though, about how shortly after I get that very thing, I tend to gripe about how bored I am. Work is just so DARNED BORING sometimes. Weirder still, I’m not sure I’d even want the stress of a so-called ‘exciting’ job! I just rarely ever feel ANYTHING that I’d describe as exciting at work. It’s just a grind…….and for what?! I wouldn’t say I’m feeling depressed right now…..just laconic, really.
I read an article today (at LinkedIn) about a manager refusing to engage in ‘Stack Ranking’ of employees. It was a good article, and although I’d heard of it, I was really unaware of how the practice worked. I work for a state agency, and I’ve heard that it’s been used here (but heck, raises come so infrequently around here, period….that it rarely even comes up!)
But, it made me remember something I used to do when I worked in healthcare administration. I used to like to do the old ‘Memo’ containing ‘Supervisor’s Expectations’ with many of my employees. It wasn’t ‘negative’ per se, or really even meant to be ugly, but now, with many years of life and working under my belt, I’ll say this: I wouldn’t do that kind of crap nowadays….I just wouldn’t. If you’re a good manager, and you know how to motivate people, just through talking and chatting, your people should know what’s expected of them…..without a silly memo.
It’s demeaning and as a minimum, pedestrian, to treat your people like that.
I work in Texas. Child Protective Services is really in the news these days around these parts. We read lots of things (positive AND negative) about families and children in the press since an (apparent) need for more spending in that department is present.
This is silly…..but I just feel grateful for all the good things my Mom did for me when I was a kid. I really miss her…..she died many years ago. But I just really miss her and wish I could hug her and tell her ‘thank you’ today for all the great stuff she did for me while I was growing up. The music lessons, the money for school trips, the clothes, the cooking, the shopping, the doctor/dentist/orthodontist visits, church, weekends, hugs, laughter, an attentive ear…….and so much more. Thank you, Mom. I miss you every day. When you were alive, I thanked you…..several times……but I just wish I could do so VERY LOUDLY today, right here where I am.
I generally don’t get too carried away here in terms of mental health stuff, but I thought I’d toss this into the ether as it might help someone out there. I could make this a REALLLLLL-LLLLLLYYYYY long post but I’m busy and not in the mood to do that right now.
This summer, while away on vacation, I had some time to do a little thinking about a few things…..to take stock of where I am and what I’m doing in my life. I’m in my mid-40’s (and sliding rapidly toward my LATE 40’s!)…..so these kinds of thing tend to happen around this time in a person’s life.
I make my living in the field of social services, which as anyone knows DOESN’T tend to reward workers in a large monetary sense of the word! A good number of years back, I spent some time in healthcare administration….and made EXCELLENT money, but it was VERY stressful on me and my family. Here’s the critical thing: I had several flavors of superiors (‘Senior V.P.’s’ blah-blah-blah….you get the idea). I generally DID NOT feel like I was cut out to climb the ladder and become one of those types of corporate talking-head type guys…..fine, great, groovy. In my self-talk, I might say: ‘I’m just not that type of guy.’ …….and hey, that’s perfectly fine. HOWEVER, during my ‘epiphany’ I came to realize that, in very subtle ways, I’d been insulting myself for NOT TRYING TO BE one of those kinds of guys. I’d been tormenting (so-to-speak) myself for not being one of those conquer-the-universe type guys! On one side of my brain, I knew what I was/wasn’t…..but on the other side of my brain, I spent a lot of time calling myself a ‘loser’ etc. That’s really twisted……..and so strange to me that I was just ‘deaf’ to that. To continue this thought further, I’ve often been a ‘You’re OK, I’m not OK’ kind of person. I lean toward…..’Everyone else is on a cruise’……’Everyone else is getting promoted’…..’Everyone else is getting a raise’ in my mind……..all the while, ignoring the people who’re failing/struggling left-and-right!
So, here’s the deal: Life is hard……..FOR EVERYONE! That neighbor of yours, who’s always doing great…….he isn’t……….trust me on that. Everyone you know is struggling, and clawing and huffing and puffing their way through the day JUST THE WAY YOU ARE. One of those guys I know (I respected him, and still do today)……he experienced HUGE amounts of success in a company I worked for. Then, one day, his wife couldn’t pick up a dish. He took her to the hospital, right during the midst of his perfect life and his perfect kids (each of whom belonged on a magazine cover)….and his amazing house and his incredible salary…….to learn she had a massive brain tumor. She died 18 months later, at 42…..and his world got turned upside down….his beautiful, sweet, intelligent wife, who adored him and their kids. I don’t glory or revel in that….I care about that guy……but life didn’t hand him perfection……’cause it NEVER promised that it would to begin with. No one gets perfection…..no one.
Many people, even those in their 20’s are known to say, ‘Man, I’m getting old!’ or the old chestnut, ‘Man, getting old sucks.’ But I’ll tell you what’s been on my mind here lately: The realization that I seriously AM getting older. I’m not quite in my ‘late 40’s’ just yet. But I am at that place where a lot of people find themselves…….haven’t remotely achieved the degree of career success I’d hoped for, don’t have nearly the money in the bank I’d hoped for, my marriage is so-so, my life is way too busily wrapped up in a mixture of tedious logistics and boring drivel. My business card has ‘social worker’ printed on it, but ‘guy who types numbers in little blocks displayed on a computer monitor’ is what it should read.
I honestly don’t feel like I’m in a mid-life crisis (I got that out of the way YEARS ago). I just can’t believe I have so FEW YEARS left to live. In my working life, I’ve tasted of both success and failure (as most have)…..but I’ve sort of flopped down in some sort of gray zone nestled between the two……and, in a manner of speaking, that’s OK with me. ‘Settling down’ is good for child-rearing years and I’m nuts about my kids. Work-wise, my wife is actually going through a much more painful spot that I am…..and I’m perfectly fine just grinding it out for a while so she can re-gain her footing, I really am.
It’s just hard realizing that I’m not that incredible anymore–notably, I probably never was, but for a while I THOUGHT I was (as most young people do)! I mean, I’ll nearly be an ‘old man’ in about 20 years…….20 years!!! How can I be 20 years away from being almost-old?! Geez, I’m rambling. To be continued……….
I’ve never been a huge fan of Psychology Today magazine. As a social worker, I find much of the stuff to be wacky, wonky babble that teeters near the line of astrology more than science. However, I stumbled upon this article today: No autism epidemic
Simply on the matter of thinking like a proper scientist, it’s a good article.