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Thread: I'm too weird to fit in anywhere

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    Sweetie28's Avatar
    Sweetie28 is offline Mark's girl
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    I'm too weird to fit in anywhere

    Hello, everyone. It's been a while since I've posted here. Things are going okay except I am having such a hard time on the job front. I have been working at a preschool and it looks like my time there is up. People think I'm weird because I have such a hard time smiling. I think I am being normal but to others I guess I come off as sad... I am very panicked knowing I need another job to keep us afloat. I am always worried when I get criticism if I am trying hard enough and doing what they ask? I have such a hard time relating to other people and when I think I am interacting with the kids I am told I am not. I am so unsure of any career I could have unless I work minamum wage jobs. I nearly have my master's degree in education but I am very downhearted about even getting a teacher's assistant job as I've been searching three years. I do something in interviews that comes off as weird. I guess it's because I am not a bubbly Barbie type. I want to just break down and cry because when I get a job I want to work hard. Right now I am looking at other jobs thinking maybe I should go back to Wal-Mart or something even if I have to work nights stocking.



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    degausser is offline Senior Member
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    Sweetie, as I recall awhile back you thought you were on the verge of an Asperger's diagnosis. What ever came of that?

    I don't think you should give up on your dreams just because of your social issues.

    Have you actually been terminated yet? Or have you just been counseled?
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  3. #3
    Azureth is offline Banned
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    I know exactly how you feel. Even in office jobs you're required to "be social" or else employment may not be long. Pretty stupid how people can otherwise be amazing hard-working workers yet just because they prefer to, you know...actually work instead of wasting valuable time treating work like some kind of social gathering yet no matter how good their work is they can be "terminated" just for wanting to do their job instead of mess around.

    It's a real shame that society values social skills so much, much much more than intellectual pursuits, or someone that just wants to do their job without any distractions or what have you. Chances are I'll get an office job somewhere initially (hopefully if I get a cubicle I can sit furthest to the back), then get my degree in Accounting in the mean time.

    I am NOT looking forward to the interview process.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sweetie28 View Post
    Hello, everyone. It's been a while since I've posted here. Things are going okay except I am having such a hard time on the job front. I have been working at a preschool and it looks like my time there is up. People think I'm weird because I have such a hard time smiling. I think I am being normal but to others I guess I come off as sad... I am very panicked knowing I need another job to keep us afloat. I am always worried when I get criticism if I am trying hard enough and doing what they ask? I have such a hard time relating to other people and when I think I am interacting with the kids I am told I am not. I am so unsure of any career I could have unless I work minamum wage jobs. I nearly have my master's degree in education but I am very downhearted about even getting a teacher's assistant job as I've been searching three years. I do something in interviews that comes off as weird. I guess it's because I am not a bubbly Barbie type. I want to just break down and cry because when I get a job I want to work hard. Right now I am looking at other jobs thinking maybe I should go back to Wal-Mart or something even if I have to work nights stocking.
    Sweetie,

    I think you should have a physical and receive formal evaluation for Autism spectrum disorder and depression. If nothing else, you will know. It will either rule those things out, or put you in line for receiving whatever treatment you may need.

    Yes, it's possible that you could have an ASD or mild depression/anxiety, but I think it's much more likely that you're overwhelmed by things with Mark, your mom, and Mark's daughter & boyfriend. You carry a lot for them; maybe it's time you learn how to let them carry stuff for themselves, and revise your expectation that instead of you carrying so much for Mark, he carry a little something for you.

    If you have an EAP that will cover a few trips to a counselor's just to talk about stress, make use of it.

    You have a bachelor's and are working on a Master's--you're not entry-level minimum wage/base pay material. You're past that.

    To augment your income while you're finishing your Master's and caught in the mess of the current job market, have you ever investigated your own eligibility for benefits as Mark's wife? You may be eligible for some Social Security, because you're married to someone who receives SSD. Once you get a good job, don't worry about "losing" any public benefits you may receive--your overall quality of life will be so much better at a job with living wage and benefits.

    Look beyond daycare and school districts for opportunities--you might find something in the state, non-profit and faith-based sectors. Catholic Charities, United Way, Boys & Girls Club, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Community Action Agencies, St. Vincent DePaul...

    Or, go to a small business development center when you've finished your master's and put together a business plan & start seeking grants for opening a place of your own!

    MM
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    "Our past is a story existing only in our minds. Look, analyze, understand, and forgive. Then, as quickly as possible, chuck it." ~ Marianne Williamson

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    (((HUGS))) Sweetie, not everyone is social, and that's ok. Not every job site is social, either. Many workplaces encourage camaraderie because it improves employee morale and employee retention. But not all workplaces require "Wednesday Night Happy Hour" gatherings, either.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sweetie28 View Post
    I am always worried when I get criticism if I am trying hard enough and doing what they ask?
    Have you asked them to clarify exactly what they think you are doing wrong? What about what you are doing right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sweetie28 View Post
    I have such a hard time relating to other people and when I think I am interacting with the kids I am told I am not.
    Again, ask for clarification of what makes them think you are not interacting with the kids. Let them know that you believe you are, and give examples.

    In both cases, you could be doing A B C completely right, but what they are looking for is more of X Y Z. But how are you to know that if they don't clarify? And how are they to know you need more clarification if you don't ask?

    This could also just be a bad workplace, which has nothing to do with you. I've worked in a couple of toxic workplaces. It takes a huge toll on your self-esteem and self-efficacy. Working at a toxic workplace can cause as much emotional stress as being in an abusive relationship.

    I think because of this, you are selling yourself short. I know this because I do this, too.

    Either way, it seems like this workplace is not a good fit for you. Just because this one place isn't working out does not mean that you will never be able to work in education. I was once told, as I was let go from a VERY toxic work environment as an admissions person in a nursing home, that I should not have a career in health care because I am not competent. I felt horrible and I felt as though I couldn't do anything right.

    Well, I eventually found another job as a receptionist at a chiropractic office. They LOVED me there! I worked there for over two years and I still have patients come up to me on the street and hug me and tell me how much they miss me there. Even my former co-workers and the D.C's that work there miss me. They miss the way I handle tough patients, they miss how accurate I kept all the medical records, they miss the eagle eye I had for making sure everyone's exams and visits were kept up to date. Basically, EVERYTHING that the nursing home told me I did wrong, I did PERFECTLY at the chiropractic office!

    Sweetie, you will find that, too. Whether you are on the Autism spectrum or not, you will find something that is a good fit for you. There are people on the spectrum who are able to find and hold down fulfilling careers. There are people with all sorts of mental illness who are successful.

    Don't let one stupid workplace keep you from working toward your dream.
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    Azureth is offline Banned
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    Quote Originally Posted by MissMuffins View Post
    You have a bachelor's and are working on a Master's--you're not entry-level minimum wage/base pay material. You're past that.
    In this economy unless you happened to be very skilled at something few others can do a bachelor's and even a master's is not beyond that. There are TONS of people out there that have degrees like that; even many with years of work experience, yet most are having to settle for a lot less - including minimum wage.

    Not saying she shouldn't go for it but that's not necessarily true.

  7. #7
    Sweetie28's Avatar
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    I have been diagnosed with anxiety disorder and depression (and PTSD) and take medication for that. Luckily Mark's daughter and her fiancee have moved out and have their own place so it's feels a bit easier to breathe. I actually have asked what it was that they wanted to see improvement on which she said more interaction with the kids. She says I do not seem cheery enough (which I am usually cheerful, but I don't come off that way) so I am pushing to be better. I am exercising my face muscles making them "smile." I have a new therapist that is certified to give tests on autism except I do not have insurance any more. My boss told me everyone dreads working with me which hurt me quite a bit.



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    SheLikesKitties's Avatar
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    When I was taking a Public Speaking seminar way back then, I was told I was too serious. I was like "no way". But they filmed me, and I was not only too serious, but hunched, so I could see I was not doing what I was supposed to do to cause a good impression.

    I am sure your problem is more body language than anything else, can you somehow film yourself so you can analyze your posture and facial expressions and see where you can improve?
    You know it's love when the pain of being apart is greater than the pain of being together.

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    Azureth is offline Banned
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sweetie28 View Post
    I have been diagnosed with anxiety disorder and depression (and PTSD) and take medication for that. Luckily Mark's daughter and her fiancee have moved out and have their own place so it's feels a bit easier to breathe. I actually have asked what it was that they wanted to see improvement on which she said more interaction with the kids. She says I do not seem cheery enough (which I am usually cheerful, but I don't come off that way) so I am pushing to be better. I am exercising my face muscles making them "smile." I have a new therapist that is certified to give tests on autism except I do not have insurance any more. My boss told me everyone dreads working with me which hurt me quite a bit.
    Out of curiosity are you the type that can genuinely be happy about something but outside you don't show it as much? I'm like that. I've been to fairs, amusement parks etc. and, even though I enjoy them, I don't show it the way most expect. I've had people ask me if I am down or something.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pinkunicorn View Post
    Have you asked them to clarify exactly what they think you are doing wrong? What about what you are doing right?

    Again, ask for clarification of what makes them think you are not interacting with the kids. Let them know that you believe you are, and give examples.

    In both cases, you could be doing A B C completely right, but what they are looking for is more of X Y Z. But how are you to know that if they don't clarify? And how are they to know you need more clarification if you don't ask?

    This could also just be a bad workplace, which has nothing to do with you. I've worked in a couple of toxic workplaces. It takes a huge toll on your self-esteem and self-efficacy. Working at a toxic workplace can cause as much emotional stress as being in an abusive relationship.

    I think because of this, you are selling yourself short. I know this because I do this, too.

    Either way, it seems like this workplace is not a good fit for you. Just because this one place isn't working out does not mean that you will never be able to work in education.

    Don't let one stupid workplace keep you from working toward your dream.
    What she said!

    My son has a very "staid" demeanor and dry sense of humor. A hearty chuckle out of him amounts to PMPROFLMAO from someone else. People are ALWAYS after him to smile--just like they're after a thin person to eat, or a heavy person about being overweight. It's annoying as all-get-out. Babies, little kids and animals love him, because he's authentic.

    How do the children in your care react to you? It may very well be that the person who's saying you don't interact well is threatened by your rapport with the children and your level of education.

    WHO is giving you the feedback re: how you interact with the children--a peer, a formally appointed workplace mentor, or someone with supervisory responsibilities? A lot of equals in the workplace take it upon themselves to be informal advisors to people who have less time in that office, as part of establishing the pecking order. Just because a person has worked there longer doesn't mean they know what they're talking about, or doesn't have issues of their own.

    Did that person clearly state their expectations and give specific examples of how you did not meet those expectations? If not, you have every right to respectfully ask for clarification.

    Has the feedback been formal or informal? Even if it's been formal, remember: just because it's formal doesn't mean the observation is correct OR a formal action was the right way to handle the situation. My only write up at my current workplace was total BS and the HR director knew it just as much as I did, but by God my former supervisor was committed to letting me know that she could write me up. Two months later, my request to have supervisory responsibility for my position (and the equipment and budget that go with it) transferred to another department was granted, and I was informally advised by someone who was involved in making the decision that my former supervisor *may* be a little bitter about it.

    Under different circumstances, I think the suggestion to record yourself interacting with the children in your care would be a good one. In your present environment, it may be more hassle than it's worth with releases and all. If you could do it as a project for one of your courses, that might be ideal.

    When I was enrolled in a course titled "Teaching Composition", one of the assignments was to record a session with a student writer then do a self-evaluation of the session. I was surprised that I sounded annoyed with the writer, because that's not how I felt. I was, however, annoyed with something that was happening in the background.

    I have PTSD and take meds for depression/anxiety, too. The things that gave me PTSD pinned an invisible target on my back for bullying-type behavior elsewhere in my life, and "office politics" can be just as vicious as playground & online bullying. The "flat" facial expression observed by others *could* be an indication that your meds aren't quite right for you--are you happy with the way this medication and dosage are managing your symptoms?

    Hang in there!

    MM
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    "Our past is a story existing only in our minds. Look, analyze, understand, and forgive. Then, as quickly as possible, chuck it." ~ Marianne Williamson

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    Quote Originally Posted by Azureth View Post
    In this economy unless you happened to be very skilled at something few others can do a bachelor's and even a master's is not beyond that. There are TONS of people out there that have degrees like that; even many with years of work experience, yet most are having to settle for a lot less - including minimum wage.

    Not saying she shouldn't go for it but that's not necessarily true.
    Until you've completed a degree and had some time in the workforce, I think you need to consider the possibility that your opinions and observations on this set of issues are not well informed and might be best kept to yourself.

    MM
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    Sweetie28's Avatar
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    It was a formal observation by my director. As far as the kids, they like me. I receive several hugs a day and children asking to sit in my lap. The formal observation was that I need to smile more and that many co-workers feel dread working with me because they feel they are running a "one-woman show". After her criticisms at work yesterday I tried to be sure to do things ahead of time and tried my best to make small talk (very hard for me, trust me). I honestly have no idea if I have anything or not. I have suspicions, but that's all I have. My director is very, very strict and she said I could not handle a classroom. I was with two-year-olds and I had to take crayons away from them because they were trying to eat them and she said I cannot be trusted to be a closer.



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    Azureth is offline Banned
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    Quote Originally Posted by MissMuffins View Post
    Until you've completed a degree and had some time in the workforce, I think you need to consider the possibility that your opinions and observations on this set of issues are not well informed and might be best kept to yourself.

    MM
    But I'm not talking from personal experience, I've heard others say much the same time and time again; many from people who do have degrees and had time in the work force. Heck, I read news stories and articles quite often about how many even with good degrees are just taking what they can get. Just look at this:

    http://money.msn.com/now/post.aspx?p...6-4fb05e443d93

    284,000 college grads making minimum wage
    While the number of degree holders working the lowest-paying jobs has fallen a bit since 2010, it's still up 70% in the past decade.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sweetie28 View Post
    It was a formal observation by my director. As far as the kids, they like me. I receive several hugs a day and children asking to sit in my lap. The formal observation was that I need to smile more and that many co-workers feel dread working with me because they feel they are running a "one-woman show". After her criticisms at work yesterday I tried to be sure to do things ahead of time and tried my best to make small talk (very hard for me, trust me). I honestly have no idea if I have anything or not. I have suspicions, but that's all I have. My director is very, very strict and she said I could not handle a classroom. I was with two-year-olds and I had to take crayons away from them because they were trying to eat them and she said I cannot be trusted to be a closer.
    I think your next move depends upon how much you want to remain in their employ and whether or not your intuition tells you that no matter what you do, your days are numbered.

    The "smile more" thing is BS, imho.

    I would want to know how many are "many" without pressing for names, and specific examples of why they feel like they're running a "one woman show."

    What's your director's level of education, in comparison to yours? What is the average level of education among your coworkers, in comparison to yours?

    What's the adult-to-child ratio at your facility? Is it in compliance? And why on God's green earth are they making crayons available to 2 year olds?!

    If I was the one in your situation, I'd plaster a perma-grin on my face and get my resume in order.

    MM
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    "Our past is a story existing only in our minds. Look, analyze, understand, and forgive. Then, as quickly as possible, chuck it." ~ Marianne Williamson

  15. #15
    gorillagirl Guest
    "And why on God's green earth are they making crayons available to 2 year olds?! "

    Yes, why??

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