Why I hate my job
This morning before work I popped calming pills. The fear of lashing out on adult kids (also known as colleagues) necessitates it sometimes. So much so that I have to count to ten five hundred times a day. Which makes it difficult to tell the educators from the learners sometimes.The struggle is real when you work with a bunch of strong willed individuals. Then again I give them too much credit and they’re not really the reason why I hate my job sometimes. What, with my fluent sarcasm and all.
When I applied for the job the main selling feature was that it is close to home. Three minute drive and I can even walk if I’m that way inclined. Which I’m not. The other selling points were the working hours and the school holidays. Definitely no hardship there. I get to take my youngest to school everyday and have so much left of my day after work which I spend doing work anyways because I love my job. And because there never is enough much hours in my day to complete everything I wanted to do. Imagine that. And then people still have this notion that school secretaries do nothing but look pretty. A job I’m very lousy at or quite good at if your idea of pretty is looking like a school marm.
Between my sisters and I we have a running joke of who is Michelle. When we talk Destiny’s Child, my youngest sister is it. When we talk movies, Gangsters Paradise and Michelle Pfeiffer, I’m it. The school I work at has an unsavoury reputation. Somewhat undeserving now that I am a part of the school and have insider knowledge. Admittedly I shared the community’s prejudice even when I started working there. My kids attend one of the “better” high schools in Cape Town and I expect excellence from them as they don’t come cheap. Walking into my school was a real culture shock and eye opener.
My kids school is not better than my school. My kids are not better than any of these kids either. The school is different and so are my kids, but not better. My kids and the rest of the scholars at their school are privileged. The same privilege that is denied to many children in our community. Not ideal for these kids but seeing them determined not to be defined by their circumstances is freaking amazing. They are resillient and goal driven it makes my blood pump faster and my heart burst with pride. These are my kids not born of this body. I often hope their parents are not blind to this. My wish for them is to become great humans. Well rounded individuals who write their own destinies. My prayer for them is to not be swallowed up with the world and die senseless deaths because of what they deem to be cool. Cool is overrated but they don’t know that now.
The past few days have been emotionally taxing. Since Monday we’ve had incidents involving the school kids. There have been assaults, plenty of calls to SAPS and today the final straw. Gangsters stabbed one of the kids and they made their getaway right past me and my colleagues in the office with their weapons in tact. One of which was a “panga”.
My heart stopped beating for a few seconds. I could not breath.
Those few seconds felt like an eternity. My minds eye could already see the horrific picture they painted. Gripped with fear, I cut the call I was on and contacted the police. A whole twenty minutes after I had already called to alert them to a possible situation because the criminal element was spotted on the premises. Gripped with fear, I half screamed at them to come immediately. Unbeknown to me that the next call would have to be to the ambulance services. Where I would be required to give as much information on the wound and the patient. Squeamish. Old. Me. My kids would have relished this sight. Knowing how I cannot deal with the sight of blood and wounds. Well, apparently I can now.
But arent we supposed to ensure a safe learning environment for our scholars? Where were the school authorities whem this happened? How could we allow it? What is the administration doing about this cancer? Where are your safety officers and you have to get security etc. All of the questions you ask. What I can say is that this is so much bigger than us. Bigger than SAPS too apparently. If we could bippity, bappity boom it away we would. It’s not like it’s an entry on my monthly planner or to-do list for any given day.
Days like the past few days make me hate my job. Where my own safety is a cause for concern. Mostly it’s bearing witness to a fallen youth. The vicious cycle of our communities where kids are sucked up into gang violence. You either become one or you are a victim to them. My heart breaks a little more each time I see this. Parents have become spectators in their kids lives, that’s if they even want their kids.
I have noticed that the kids who get love at home come to school to learn and those who don’t, come looking for love and acceptance. Often found in all the wrong places. Parents seem to like the baby making process and the babies but not a lot of them like kids. Absent fathers have become the norm and sort of expected. Once the “love” for the mothers fade the kids don’t exist. Can we really blame the kids for acting out? The sad part is that we can’t save them all.
Yes, today I hated my job for a minute. Hated what I am exposed to daily. Poverty, abuse, disabilities and violence. Senseless acts of violence. My mind is still reeling of the events and the only reason sleep is evading me is because it involves me closing my eyes and that leads to my mind playing the scenes out on repeat. I am grateful that the injured young man will live to tell the tale. Grateful that no one else was injured today. Thankful that my kids still have a mom. Come to think of it, I feel blessed to have a job with aspects I hate sometimes. I am exactly where I’m supposed to be. There is a reason and a plan. I hate it but I love it.
If you hate your job on the daily and wish for something else, go for it. Until you do find another job strive for excellence in your current position and do the best you can do. Acknowledge the security officers at your building and treat them with kindness. They keep you safe and offer peace of mind even if you hadn’t consciously considered the fact. There are many people who would die for your job. I am in regular contact with these people who crave to have a job they can hate just so they can support their kids and afford to buy their kids proper uniforms. They would love to be able to feed their own kids instead of relying on the school’s feeding scheme to fill those bellies.
Spare a few thoughts for my school when you have a moment. We need to save our youth and we need to do it now. One child at a time…