Tuesday, July 9, 2019

It's Been Awhile...

So, where have I been?  That’s a question that I think I’m ready to answer. now, but, bear with me, this is going to be long…

UNEXPECTED NEWS:
On Boxing Day, I received news that my co-worker and friend had suddenly passed away.  She had just turned 59 on Christmas Day.  When I got the text from another co-worker – “Our dear friend and co-worker, Kelly, passed away….” – my heart hit the floor.  My first response was “Kelly F----?!”.  I mean obviously it was her, there was no other Kelly that worked with us, but it was so unexpected and so inconceivable that I couldn’t yet grasp the fact that she was gone.  The rest of my Christmas Break (working in a school I have 2 weeks off over Christmas) was spent trying to come to terms with the fact that when I went back to work on January 7th, she would not be there to greet me in the morning. I worked with her for 12 years and she was always the first one there.

A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY:
Let me back up just a little.  Our school was slated for closure at the end of the school year and so, in preparation for that, Kelly applied for and was accepted to a new position at another school starting February 1st (beginning of 2nd semester).  I was the School Accounts Administrator and I loved my job, but I decided to apply for her job – Student Data Administrator – so that I could #1) see if I liked it, and #2) give myself the opportunity to further my experience which would allow me more possibilities when the school closed.  I interviewed and was offered the job which was set to start on February 1st.  January would be spent shadowing her when I was able to so that she could teach me the ins and outs of the job.

BACK TO SCHOOL:
Walking up the hall from the parking lot the first day back from Christmas Break was surreal.  I knew Kelly wasn’t going to be there and I was doing my best to hold it together.  But when I walked through the lobby and looked through the windows to the office where I could see her corner of the office and the empty desk that sat there, my heart broke and my tears couldn’t be contained.  It hit me like a ton of bricks. It was true. She was really gone. It wasn’t just a dream.

THRUST INTO THE UNKNOWN SOONER THAN EXPECTED:
I didn’t know what to expect when I returned; would I be continuing to manage my position of Accounts Administrator or moving to the new position right away?  It wasn’t until a couple of days later that I was approached and asked if I would feel comfortable taking on the new position right away.  I felt like I really had no choice but to jump in and begin transitioning to a position that I had no clue how to do.  It wasn’t an easy transition for many reasons – heck, it wasn’t really a transition at all – I honestly felt like I was thrown into the sea without a life raft and left to figure it all out on my own.  No, I’m not being dramatic. 

Not only was it hard to move into her space but it was unsettling as well.  It didn’t seem right to me to be sitting at her desk with her belongings still in the drawers and cabinets surrounding me.  Even her glasses were left by the keyboard.  Trust me when I say that there were many tears as I found item after item that belonged to Kelly.  And the office, which was usually like Grand Central Station, was extremely quiet. Teachers avoided it for the first couple of weeks and even the students were keeping it a distant place to visit. 

ROLLER COASTER RIDE:
The past 6 months has been the craziest, wildest roller coaster ride I have ever been on.  The first month I was often in tears because it was so overwhelming not only being in a job I didn’t know how to do, but doing the job that once belonged to my friend.  She was supposed to be there to show me how to do things but she wasn’t.  I did have the support of some of the data administrators in the other schools but, to be honest, sometimes they couldn’t even help me.  My email signature tag line became: You have to get up every morning and tell yourself, “I CAN DO THIS!”.  It’s hard to explain this job to people who have never done it but I can honestly tell you that before I experienced it myself, I had NO IDEA how involved and intense this job really is.  Many evenings and most weekends I brought work home just to try and keep my head above water.  I had nothing left to give and crafting – although I wanted to do it – was not possible because I really did not have the mental capacity I needed to be creative.

I TRIED IT, I GOT THROUGH IT, AND I’M BETTER FOR IT:
it’s definitely been a love-hate relationship with this position.  I’m happy that it will soon be coming to an end.   I do not regret taking this job because I have learned so much and gained so much more experience.  I’m glad that I was given the opportunity to try it out and now I know that if the position of Data Administrator becomes available in another school, I will not be applying for it.  I tried it, I got through it, and I’m better for it!  These last 6 months have taught me that I am capable and competent of doing things that I never thought I would be able to do and not only did I get through it, but I ROCKED it…or so I’m told, lol.

SAYING GOODBYE:
School has ended, goodbyes have been said to the teachers and students, and at the end of July I will be walking out the doors of the school for the very last time!  It’s sad for many reasons, but one of the main reasons is that I will be saying goodbye to co-workers – friends! – whom I have worked with for the past 12+ years.  We are all moving on to different places.  We will all remain working for the Board of Education, but in different locations.  Knowing that in September I will not be with the same group of people – teachers, Principals, office staff, students – gives me a lump in my throat.  It’s like I’m going through the grieving process of death all over again.  What will become of the school building and the land it’s on is yet to be determined but I know that whenever I pass that corner in the future, whether the building is there or not, I will have many fond memories of my time spent at Sir John A. Macdonald Secondary School.

SO NOW WHAT:
One thing I did not mention is that our Board of Education closed two schools and chose to merge them into one brand new school that has now been built and will be opening this September.  By doing that, it brought about a reduction in jobs.  That coupled with the fact that the Premier of Ontario decided it was a smart move (NOT) to reduce the funding given to Education meant that the Board would need to reduce the number of positions in all areas within the Board.  Determining where I would be placed meant that I had to go through a process that was based mainly on seniority.  Long story short, I will be starting in a new position (Access Control Technician) at the Board headquarters. 

I am going to miss being in a school terribly (I really can’t even imagine it) but this was the best decision for me and my family logistically.  Who knows, maybe one day I will find myself back in a school but, for now, I am going to give this position a chance.  My official start date is August 6th but I’m taking some much needed vacation time first.

CRAFTING AGAIN?:
Today was the first day in a long time that I even felt that I could muster up some creativity.  While I do hope to get back into my craft room soon – especially when I’m off for 3 weeks in August – I haven’t ventured down there yet.  I did, however, pick up my IPad Pro today and did a little doodling using an app called Procreate.  I’m just learning how to use this app but I can see that it might be something I’m really going to enjoy adding to my crafting repertoire.  Take a look at my first attempt:



It’s a simple doodle, but I think it’s cute.  And it was so much fun!  While I waited in the car outside the doctor’s office for my daughter today. and again when she wanted to stop at the mall on the way home, I picked up my IPad Pro and doodled.  I love that it’s a portable craft!!

My plan is to begin creating cards again very soon and I hope you don’t mind if, from time to time, I throw in a doodle I’ve made using my IPad Pro, too.

See you soon!!