Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Pinterest: It’s in My Job Description (Apparently)

Who knew you could spend 7 hours on Pinterest and collect a paycheck? That’s not why I took this job years ago; however, judging from how I have spent the past few weeks, you'd think it was. Thanks to a relevantly slow period (is there such a thing in ResLife) and my monster of a boss, Irene, most of my duties have vanished.

Before Irene arrived, I was plenty busy; my supervisor delegated a portion of his workload to me. I didn’t mind it—I earned great experience and it helped pass the day faster. Not anymore! Irene has taken offense to my frank nature and efficient way of doing my job, so she feels I have “not earned the right” to work beyond my job description.

She actually had the nerve to say, at a staff meeting, that I had not grown enough as a hall director and needed to understand “what we do in this office”. She threatened me with “special projects” to help me be a better team player (aka bullshit that bosses say).

This resulted in an over the top tantrum behind my closed office door, complete with thrown pens, crumbled post-it notes, and suggestions for what Irene could do with a goat. Let’s just say I was none too pleased with the sudden decrease in responsibilities. Unfortunately, it has also meant I have less to do since I know what needs to happen over the next few months and have everything set until next August with paperwork.

So, while Irene attempts to assert her perceived power over the hall directors and give extra work to her new favorites, I’ll continue to surf HigherEdJobs.com and Pinterest to find a better job and another 50 uses for modge podge and cereal boxes.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Hall Directors Are Human Too

This week, I am prostaff on-duty. Not my favorite part of the job, but hell, we all have to do it right? Last semester, I was fairly lucky. I only had one drunken student to confront and one false fire alarm. However, tonight, I made up for all the good duty karma I collected. Tonight, I spent two hours with a domestic abuse victim who ended up pressing charges on her boyfriend.

When I arrived on the scene, Kayla, the young lady pressing charges, was trying hard to be calm even though her tear-stained face told me she was one question away from breaking down. While sitting on her roommates’ bed and clutching a tattered teddy bear, Kayla told me about her boyfriend, Harry, and the fight they had just finished.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

...In With the New

Over the past few weeks, my old boss has been shifted to another complex and a new Area Coordinator has been hired in his place. At first, I was excited about a change in leadership, especially since I think a bag of cat treats can supervise better than my boss of 4 years. However, my elation quickly disappeared and was replaced with dread and anger.

The new boss, a rather nasty, older woman with apparent confidence issues, has already told each of the hall directors under her that she is looking to “shake things up”. This past Friday, Irene demanded we each write a two-page summary justifying why we deserve to stay in our current assignment and why we are suited for the RHD position. I have been in Residence Life for longer than she has and this is the welcome we get.

Plus, it is painfully obvious that the only other female hall director in my complex (Emily) and I have large Target-inspired bull’s-eyes on our backs. Despite our open arms approach when welcoming her to our campus, Irene scrutinized every document, every incident report, and every RA request Emily and I have completed for the last semester. But, the two guys on the staff are allowed to do whatever they want without so much as a sideways glance from Irene; they have been told to “do whatever is necessary to run a smooth staff and hall”.

I can already sense a battle brewing. Why can’t women get along in the workplace? Why is that some women feel threatened by other females who have no ill-intention and simply want to learn from their experience? Irene could have learned a lot from us, and we could have learned a lot from Irene. It’s about to get real ugly up in here.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Its Okay to Help Yourself

First of all, I apologize to my readers for being away for a few months. Things in life got a little heavy for my liking, and writing took a back seat. Things are finally settling, and it seemed like a good time for me to return for a bit.

The job market has been tough. I know you're thinking, "no shit Sherlock". Sorry, I had to state the obvious. After spending too many hours to properly count on applying for jobs, I have nothing to show for it. I interviewed for a few Area Director positions at ACPA. However, nothing happened.

I have been in the same hall director position for five to seven years. I have stretched myself beyond my professional limits. I have taken on new responsibilities beyond my job description to gain unique experience. Yet, nothing I have done has led to the next step in the residence life field.

As summer wound down, I started the slow decent into depression as I realized I was once again beginning a new academic year as hall director of Xavier Hall (pseudonym) instead of settling into a new, higher position. Like many of my colleagues out there in higher education land, I felt frustrated, cheated, and angry. Had I not done everything "they" suggested to further my ResLife career? Had I not sat on lots of committees, volunteered my time with other departments, and apprenticed with the Operations office for a semester? How could all these years of self sacrifice and constant professional development fail me?

Needless to say, after a solid month of intense misery and self-loathing, it was suggested that I see a therapist to deal with these feelings. I found out just how much anxiety can accumulate by living for years in a toxic fish bowl. Although I am still disillusioned with my career and wish I could live/work somewhere else, I am learning to better handle the stress of my disappointment.

For all you readers who are struggling to find purpose in your career, take solace in that you are not alone. If there are bigger issues and you still have anxiety about your job, your living space, or your future, please don't be afraid to reach out. We all are trained to take care of others, yet a lot of the time, we forget to help ourselves.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Fifty Shades of Shit

Before I launch into my usual rant, I need to be very clear, I have NEVER read Fifty Shades of Grey, nor will I ever. However, I know enough to make my stomach turn whenever the book is mentioned. A colleague of mine told me the basis of the plot and it by no means encouraged me to experience the series.

In a world where 80% of women under 30 have been sexually assaulted and every 2 minutes someone is raped in our country, why on Earth is a book that promotes sexual abuse such a big hit? Of course, I have been told this series is about a woman who willingly gets involved with a man who is into S&M and grows to love the spankings and abuse. However, even after he beats the shit out of her in the “Red Room of Pain” and it appears that she leaves him, she returns only after a short period of time.

This series is more dangerous than Twilight. It sends a chilling message that women need to be dominated, abused, and manipulated. I don’t buy the bull shit excuse that women are tired of being in control of their work and personal lives, and this book allows them to slip into a fantasy world devoted to pain and sexual dominance. When did our society fall into this pathetic realm of abuse and sadism? When did women become powerless minions of abusive men? When did women become the weaker sex—for real this time?

As a survivor of a sexual assault and several abusive relationships, I weep for the young women who read this abhorrent series and believe they must surrender their rights, their personalities, and their independence to keep a man. I weep for survivors of rape and abuse, because this series glorifies sexual assault as “romantic” and evidence of love. It is obvious the author has never been raped, never been hit, and never been in fear of her life from an abusive lover. Or if she has, she is too fucked up for words.   

As a Residential Life professional, I am overwhelmed with anger, grief, and despair over how this book has been received. This past year, I counseled three rape victims—there is no way I would describe their experiences as romantic. Their rapists were not misunderstood men (like Grey) who were simply confused about how to express love. Abuse is not sexy. Abuse is not erotic. Abuse is a horrific blight on our culture, and it sickens me to my core that a WOMAN is profiting off the glorification of it.

I will be pushing for this book to be featured in our RA training—not for its literary merit, but for the appalling message it sends both men and women. Maybe we can bring a silver lining to the Fifty Shades of Grey clouds hanging over our society. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Game Over. Or is it?

While playing Donkey Kong for the Wii with a few of my Conference Hosts tonight, they asked me why the game would even count down your lives since it saves periodically throughout game play. Even if you run out of all your red balloons, you can simply start from your last completed level and resume the game.

It was at this point, that I realized how I old I am compared to these young ones. When I first started playing video games, Mario Brothers (the original) was the most popular game and the only console available was the Nintendo. There were no memory cards or save options. You had a certain number of guys with whom to play, and if you ran out, you were forced to restart the entire game from the very beginning.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Little Diddy & His Scholarship

Justin Combs, son of P. Diddy/Puff Daddy/Sean Combs, has received a UCLA football scholarship offer. Even though his dad is reportedly worth $500 million (according to the Huffington Post article available here), Justin plans on accepting the money. When the controversy first began, Justin responded via Twitter, “Regardless what circumstances are, I put that work in!!!! PERIOD."

I don’t disagree that Justin Combs is a smart man. The same article said he is graduating from Iona Prep in New Rochelle with a 3.75 GPA. I don’t disagree that Justin Combs is a great athlete since he earned a scholarship to UCLA. What I find issue with is that P. Diddy has WAY more money than most parents of first semester students and can afford to send his son to UCLA, Harvard, and Yale (all at the same time) without taking out a Parent PLUS loan.