Intrepid Girl Reporter

Friday, 5/7: Mother’s Day
May 7, 2010, 6:46 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

One of the most irritating things about working in youth development, and specifically about my job, is how we seem to be expected to have this sort of endless well of patience and kindness and optimism. The complaints received never seem to start with, “I know you’re trying,” or “This is a challenge for all of us.” NO. They are just complaints. And after days and days of having to sweep and take out the trash and explain to children that no, if you don’t share people will not want to play with you, we’re expected to be fired up about the next thing, constantly finding ways to inspire and new cheers to learn. I’M TIRED. I DON’T WANT TO GET OTHER PEOPLE ENERGIZED. I WANT SOMEONE TO TRY TO ENERGIZE ME. Where is my cheerleader?

Perhaps this all sounds a bit whiny, because it is. It’s been a long week; we had a higher number of injuries, multiple children wetting (or otherwise) themselves, more obscenities from small children and more complaints about how hard the job I make everyone ELSE do is. Child and Family Services laid off one hundred people this week, which meant that yesterday when I called the Child Abuse Hotline, I was put on hold. PUT ON HOLD. THERE WERE SO MANY REPORTS OF ABUSE THAT I HAD TO WAIT IN LINE. I got to call them again today for a separate incident. I wonder when they will start to recognize my voice.

Perhaps the trickiest thing about this field, though, is the sense of martyrdom that tends to come with it. I’m preparing to enter a field of work that does not involve kids for the first time since my disastrous stint as a Hollister employee, and more than anything, I can’t shake this guilt – the sense that I must be leaving because I can’t cut it, because I don’t care enough. Yes, what I want to do involves kids directly, but it won’t be direct service anymore, and it will certainly be easier than this. In my head, I see the teacher who hates me the most, pursing her lips and saying, “Some people just aren’t cut out for this.” I made all that up in my head, of course, but that’s the mentality I have – that this field is for heroes, and who walks away from that cape?

I think this is all just a reaction to the fact that I’m going to be leaving a line of work that, more often than average, offers instant rewards. Tremendous ones. But I’ve had it with people yelling at me and children throwing around the pieces of my games. I love them, but I just don’t know if we can be together anymore.


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