This trainer is not what I needed this week!

Thanks to all my friends who read my post Monday and let me know that you have faith in me. I appreciate it!

Yesterday and today were better days, for the most part. In addition to the post I did write Monday, I had planned to complain about one of my training cohort members, but then I learned something about her that explained her behavior and made me very glad I had not publicly posted my thoughts. It reminded me that all too often I make snap judgments about people and contrary to my popular belief, I am not always right.

Something I am going to post about is the trainer we have for this section of training. Our training is broken into several sections and for each section we typically have two trainers. Each section usually has two different trainers than the section before it. Up to this point I have liked all the trainers we’ve had. Then we began this week of training.

Now, I am going to preface this with the fact that I only know this trainer as a trainer. I have no idea how she is as a person outside of the training. But perhaps training is not her forte. Here are the things that are getting under my skin this week:

  • She did not read our ground rules. On day one of our training we were asked to develop ground rules and each trainer was supposed to get a copy and read it. Contained in these ground rules are the fact that we have a cohort member that is allergic to citrus fruit, so of course we prohibit citrus. Also in the ground rules is that we need to limit (not eliminate) sidebar conversations. More on that later.
  • She is way too authoritative. She may have been with the agency a long time, I think she said something like 16 years, but that does not mean we are not adults and don’t deserve the respect of an adult class. Some of her methods are more in line with teaching middle or high schoolers.
  • She shushes us. Yes, we can get a little loud at times. We are a group of 26 people and the stuff we are discussing is not stuff you just sit back and say, “hmmm, that was interesting.” These are topics that require some processing and discussion. Being the adults we are, we realized on day one that we would need this processing and discussion and we decided a ground rule would be to limit the sidebars because eliminating was not realistic. This trainer is notorious for saying, in a derogatory tone, “Come on guys,” or just “Guuuuys” when she feels we are too loud. I don’t think I could even attempt to tell you how many times she says it in one day or how many eye rolls she gets because of it. One of our cohort members even tried to explain the ground rule to her (since she didn’t bother to read them), and she pretty much ignored her.
  • She repeats things. Half an hour ago she may have gone over the physical signs you need to look for in sexually abused children. Guess what, it’s 30 minutes later and we’re going to go over the physical signs of sexual abuse again. Pretty much verbatim to what she previously said. It’s not for emphasis or making sure we get the point because she does it with little things too.
  • She doesn’t attempt to find answers. In every other training we’ve had the trainers all told us to ask any question we might have. If they did not know an answer, they would find out for us. If this trainer doesn’t know an answer, she will just tell us she doesn’t know and then gloss over the fact you asked her anything.
  • She hides behind a higher power. Today we needed to bring our laptops to the classroom to begin learning the state’s electronic system for data entry. This part of the training was to take place in the afternoon. Most of us got our computers out in the morning so we could figure out spacing on our tables and cord alignment. After watching a video, the trainer says to us, “What did SoSo say about computers during class?” (SoSo is one of the big dogs in the department.) She gives us all a look you would give to a 3 year old you were admonishing for stealing a cookie before dinner. “She said absolutely not,” the trainer goes on in her ‘you did a no-no’ voice. “I’ve seen people fired for it. If SoSo came in here, she would look over your shoulder, pat you on the shoulder, and take you out of here. I’ve see it done.” Um, okay whatever. I’ve seen SoSo twice since we started training and while she is a top dog who knows she is a top dog, I don’t see her firing someone for having their work-issued laptop out during a work-related training. If trainer lady didn’t want us having our laptops out during the first part of training, she simply could have said that rather than trying to threaten us with SoSo firing us.
  • She says one thing and then does another. Going back to the authoritative thing, she insists on everyone raising their hands to speak. Fine, but it’s not always going to happen when you have a large group of people passionate about their work and what they are learning. So on Tuesday, we are discussing something and she is enforcing the hand raising. She says to us, “Some of you who are not speaking up need to start talking.” She tells one of the training observers that they need to watch the class and let her know who isn’t speaking up. Well, I had not said much of anything up to this point, so on the next discussion point, I enthusiastically raised my hand. I was prepared to comment. She didn’t call on me. No big deal, I thought, I will comment on the next point. Again, my hand goes up. Again, trainer lady calls on the same select group of people who were previously doing all the talking. Well, okay, next time, I think. One more attempt and one more denial and I was done. Forget it, if she is only going to call on the people who already do all the talking, then she can’t ask for other people to speak up.
  • She lied to us. We had a little competition yesterday at the beginning of our discussion on sex abuse. We were separated into groups and had to come up with words people might use for different body parts, for example, breasts. The point of the activity is to show that there are many terms we could hear while working in the field and we have to be prepared for them and be able to use the terms when talking with children and not be shocked or laugh. Anyway, my group scored the most terms and trainer lady said she would bring us a prize that afternoon or the next day (which would have been today). No prizes were had. This is not really a big deal, but combined with all the other stuff, she is just grating on my nerves. Treat us like children and we may act like children. I want my prize, dammit!

Needless to say, this has not been the easiest week of training. I am getting sick of being away from home and now I have lousy trainer to top it all off. Boo!

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Did you read my email?!?

I know I am probably guilty of this too, but something that just really irks me is when you email someone and they reply with some stupid answer that doesn’t even address your question.

For instance: earlier this week I received an email from the school I was planning on enrolling at for a library science degree. I was a bit surprised since I had made the decision to defer my enrollment and thought I was set for a year. This particular email was about the financial aid form I submitted. Apparently, I had not indicated enough credits per term to be considered for financial aid. The email requested I complete a new form, which was attached to the email, and send it in at my earliest convenience. Okay, I thought, no big deal. I will just complete a new form and send it back in.

I put it off for a bit while I did other internet things: reading other emails, browsing through my FaceBook news feed, catching up on my favorite blogs. Then I went back to the email and took a look at the form. The form states:

To be considered a full-time student you must be enrolled for at least 12 credits (undergraduate students) or 9 credits (graduate students). To be eligible for federal loan funds, you must be enrolled at least half-time. Students enrolled less than half-time are not eligible for most federal funds.

How do you interpret this? The way I interpreted it was that I had to be enrolled for at least 9 credit hours for the school year to be considered full-time and that would be more than what was needed to be eligible for federal funds since it was full-time which is more than half-time. This may be totally off, but I read it several times last night and each time came to that same conclusion. There are 4 terms in the school year, so on the original financial aid form I submitted, I wrote I was planning to take 3 credits per term for a total of 12 credits for the year thinking I would be exceeding the requirements stated on the form.

I still planned to get a new form completed and mailed in, but I was now confused since the email from a guy who’s signature says he is the Assistant Director for the Student Resource Center/Financial Aid stated that I needed to be enrolled for at least 4.5 credits per term to be considered for federal funds. I decided to reply to the email  to see if I could get clarification on the issue. Here’s my email:

On the financial aid form, it states that to receive aid a graduate student must be enrolled at least half-time and that to be considered full-time, graduate students must take 9 credits. Is this 9 credits per quarter or 9 credits total? I was reading that I would need to be enrolled in 9 credits total, and the 3 credits per term would fulfill this requirement since there are 4 terms and I would then be taking a total of 12 credits. Your email and the actual form seem to say two different things to me.

I am also deferring my enrollment. How does this affect the need to redo this form? Thank you for your assistance.

And here is the reply I received today (again from the Assistant Director for the Student Resource Center/Financial Aid):

Thank you for your e-mail.  Under federal guidelines, a student must be enrolled at least half-time per term in order to receive federal aid for that term. If you are planning to defer your enrollment, then you will want to fill out the revised form indicating the number of credits for each term that you plan to be enrolled.  Once we have received your revised form, we will be able to process your financial aid based upon your specifications.  Please feel free to contact the Financial Aid Office if you have any questions!

Well, Mr. Assistant Director of Financial Aid, I did ask you a  question and you kind of just glossed over the entire thing even though it was the bulk of my email to you. Yes, I understand that there appear to be Federal guidelines in place dictating how many credit hours I need to take, but why does your financial aid form seem to contradict this? If it doesn’t contradict the Federal guidelines and I am confusing things, why did you not explain things for me?

It is probably a lost cause to again email Mr. Assistant Director of Financial Aid again, so I guess I will place a call to a person and actually speak to someone. The entire thing is most likely a lost cause since it is very unlikely I will qualify for any financial aid no matter how many credits I am taking.

5am this morning

I know some people allow their pet cats to wander around outside uninhibited. I have friends who do this, and it is their choice, but I don’t agree with it. I have two beautiful boys and I cannot imagine them out there in the big world wandering around. Too many things can happen to them – a car smooshes them, a wild animal gnaws on them, a wild teen lights their tails on fire… So, my boys stay inside and the only outside they get is our screened-in porch.

This morning at 5am I awoke to Clover making what sounded like licking noises. I thought he was licking the window; perhaps some humidity had condensed on the inside? This is the spittiestcat I have ever had. (side note – why is sluttiest a word and spittiest is not?) He uses his tongue for everything. When he is scared, he sticks his tongue out, when he wants to abuse his brother, he licks his hair into spikes, when he’s angry, the tongue comes out, and when he bathes, he ends up looking like we dunked him under the facet. So this was loud licking noises.

When he kept doing it, I figured I better get up and see what was going on. As I got closer to the window, I c0uld hear another cat snarling and meowing. Clover wasn’t licking the window – he was doing his nervous, anxious, “I hate that cat outside” tongue thing. Why this little cat thinks his tongue is going to be a great defense, I will never know.

Clover had his head behind the curtain and the shade, so I wrapped my hands around his itty waist to pull him out and he went ballistic! Hissing and wriggling and spitting. Luigi was also pacing around on the floor below the window, obviously not in a good mood either. I tried to settle Clover down and then looked out the window where there was a dark colored cat prancing around as if to say, “Ha! I’ve disturbed your precious sleep. It’s only 5am and my day is complete!” Damn cat! I banged on the window and made hissing noises myself. It didn’t get upset, but it did jauntily saunter away. M. woke up enough to ask, “What’s going on?” and then went right back to sleep.

Fortunately, the cat did not come back, but it made me mad enough that I just laid there for awhile thinking about how much I do not like other cats in my yard. It upsets Clover and Luigi and I am afraid of the damage they could cause. We have that screened-in porch in the back and a cat’s claws could easily rip it up. I am also going to put some mulching in the back and dread finding the steaming log of cat poo I know will inevitably end up in there. These are not thoughts I want to be having at 5am.

I did finally fall back to sleep only to be woke up at 6am by a starving Luigi…

This may be totally awful…

I returned to my old workplace temporarily in May. I’m still working there. There is a person who works there and she is as sweet as can be, but every time she rings back to me, I find myself involuntarily rolling my eyes.

It has to be the tone of voice she uses when she speaks to coworkers. She always sounds so apologetic when she has to call you, even though that is her job – to route the office calls.

Not only is she always apologetic, but she also has to do a 1-2 minute introduction and explain why she is calling you instead of someone else. Or, if she is calling to ask a question, she has to explain why she is asking the question instead of just asking it. I don’t need a back story for everything.

So I give her an eye roll almost every time, but I don’t mean to. She is a nice person – I just wish she would just give me the call/question and let us both move on.

Just a Rant

Okay, yesterday just sucked. Well, with the exception of lunch with a friend, yesterday sucked.

I had my day all planned out – I even typed, yes typed, up a list/schedule of my projected Thursday on Wednesday night. I was excited Wednesday night. Thursday was going to be a good day. Maybe that was my mistake – setting expectations too high.

It started late Wednesday night. I just could not sleep. This is normally not a problem for me. I typically lay my head down and I’m out. Wednesday night there just was no sleep for me. I laid there until after M. had dozed off and finally decided I would read to see if that helped relax me into sleep. It didn’t. I did doze off some time after 12:30 for a bit, but woke up several times. The last time I woke was around 5:00 am and then just waited for M.’s alarm to go off and I started my day. I did a more vigorous workout than usual, because dang it, I’m getting in shape and this is going to be a good day! I got myself ready and got out of the house a little behind my Wednesday night projection.

I was debating between my first stop. Should I go to Target and get some lotion to match my other bath products and pick up a free 20 oz. Diet Coke (coupons earned from the Coke Rewards program)? (By the way, have you tried Dove’s Go Fresh Energize products? So great! I have the shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and deodorant.) Or, should I head to the mall and get there right as they open to avoid crowds? I have an Old Navy coupon for a free tote and I love totes! I also was out of bubble baths and salts and thought I could also check out Bath & Body Works, and perhaps stop in a shop to do some window shopping on the new spring fashions.

I decided on the mall and headed into town. It wasn’t supposed to take long and then I was going to head to Target and then to PetSmart to pick up some necessary litter and treats. All this would be accomplished before my lunch with AB. I got to the mall and made B&BW my first stop. Right away I am accosted by a sales person and their new fragrance which she slathered all over my hands. I can’t complain too much because I did like the scent and ended up buying it in a bubble bath. But I ended up spending too much time and a bit too much money in B&BW. I was also accosted by the same sales person about 3-4 more times with other new products and scents. Luckily, I did not get a headache from all the sniffing.

I then headed to one of  my favorite clothing shops in the mall and did some browsing. All the bright spring colors really called to me – especially the skirts. I really love skirts! But I resisted. There was a vest I really, really wanted and went back to look at it several times, imagining all the clothes I could wear with this vest. It would go with skirts, jeans, button down shirts, plain T-shirts – all sorts of things! I was really trying to justify the $39.50 price tag. But again, I resisted.

It was then time for my actual purpose in going to the mall – the Old Navy tote. I hadn’t been to the mall in some time and didn’t remember which branch of the mall ended in Old Navy, so began wandering and ended up down the wrong branch, had to turn around and try another. I then found the right branch and determinedly headed towards Old Navy. Before ON even came into sight, I was waylaid. I heard a friendly accented voice call out, “Hello. Good morning.” I was in a pretty good mood, so I turned to see who this might be. It was a fairly nice looking guy standing at one of those little kiosks they have all down the center of the mall. “How are you?” he asked. I told him I was fine and walked over, lured by his inviting voice. He asked me how old I am, I told him I am 29, but will be 30 next month. “No!” he exclaimed. “Good for you! You look about 23!” By this time I can feel the heat in my face. My body has betrayed me again and I knew I was all flushed. Now, I know my readers are all inwardly groaning and thinking of how I am being a dope falling for this sales flattery, and in the back of my mind of course I knew that was what he was doing, but hey! Who doesn’t want to be flattered a little every now and then by a stranger?

He was a bit hard to understand with his accent, but I understood he wanted to look at my hand, specifically, my fingernails. This was a bit embarrassing because I am a nail chewer and my cuticles are always rough and dry. But because I am not a frequent mall visitor and have developed a kind of mall naivete, I held out my hand. He picked up some kind of four-sided buffer thing and began rubbing it on my index fingernail, constantly telling me how amazing it was, that he was going to “pamper me,” and as he did the final buffer step he slowed down and asked me if I was “ready to be amazed” before lifting the buffer off my nail. I am really divided now – I like the flattering manner, but I am also aware he is trying to sell me something, something I had no intention of buying. He lifted off the buffer and I had to admit that even though I did not want to be, I was a bit amazed. My fingernail looked like it had been polished. He then told me that the shininess would last for 2 months. Great – I am going to have one shiny nail and nine dull icky ones for 2 months. He pulled out some nail polish remover and invited me to try removing the shine, but I declined. He then wanted me to let him “pamper me” further with some cuticle oil and lotion. Yes, just what I needed, more lotion on my already slathered hand. But I let him do it. And again, I did like how my nail looked. All shiny and smooth. Of course, I was the first customer of the day and he was the manager, so even though the kit that contained the buffer, cuticle oil, and lotion normally sells for $59, he was going to offer me a special price of 50% off. Pffftt! I just wanted to get on my way down to ON, get my tote, and head to Target. But then again, my nails do usually look bad and I don’t like to do a lot of work to look good. I ended up buying the kit for $32.

Of course, before I could leave, he again made eye contact with me – something he was determined to do throughout our interaction even though constant, direct eye contact makes me uncomfortable. Again, he wants to “amaze and pamper” me. I ask the time and decide, fine, 5 more minutes. It’s too late to get to ON now anyway. So, he tells me what great skin I have. Now he has really lost my interest. I know my skin is okay, but I’ve never really had “great” skin. It’s always been oily and very prone to breakouts. But fine, show me what wonderful product you have and then I am going to get out of here. He pulls out a skin peel cream and tells me its for the face, will act as a vacuum for the pores and help clear up acne and balance the skin. He demonstrates on my arm. The results are not as dramatic as the nail stuff, so I get my out and say that while it’s nice, I am going to stick with what I have. I finally make my break and, now frustrated with myself, I head out of the mall.

Once in the car I analyze my time. Really, I don’t have time to stop in Target or PetSmart before lunch. I could probably do it if it not for traffic, but I don’t want to risk getting stuck in a check out line or at a traffic light. So, instead I head to the luncheonette. I have a book and can read until AB arrives. Thank goodness for the lunch! It was nice to see AB again and get caught up. It was definitely what I needed after my embarrassing mall debacle, which I told AB all about.

After lunch, I was feeling better, less frustrated. I decided to cut out Target since the stop really wasn’t needed and I was through with unnecessary stops for the day. I had a job interview in the afternoon and didn’t want to be late. I did have to go to PetSmart, so I headed there. I quickly got what I needed and went to check out. I chose an older cashier whom was there on most of my visits, she’s friendly and I knew it would be a positive check out. While she was nice, as always, PetSmart recently changed their reward credit card from WaMu to Chase, so I was issued a new card. My old WaMu card acted as a PetSmart reward card as well as a credit card and had Luigi’s picture on it. When I got my new Chase card, it came with an explanation that while the photo option was not available, everything else about the card was the same as my WaMu card. Well, while checking out yesterday, I found this wasn’t actually true. When the cashier asked if I had my PetSmart Rewards card, I pulled out my new Chase card and flipped it over. It was then that I realized the Rewards barcode was missing. So now I will have to sign up for a new Rewards card which means that the credit card really doesn’t give any added benefits, so I will probably cancel it. Blah – this really isn’t a big deal, but after mall frustration, I really didn’t need to think about new cards, that there was no advantage to the new Chase card, I would need to call Chase to cancel the card and probably get all sorts of sales pitch from the telemarketer I would have to talk with.

Okay, still not feeling too bad. Had to get to my job interview. The job was mentioned by my former supervisor to AB who told me about it. While it was a social work position, and not ultimately what I wanted to do, after getting a letter with the job description and salary, it did sound attractive. Plus, if I am going to do social work, it was the kind of social work I would want to do – more on the generalist side, a case management position. I was excited because the job only required a bachelor’s degree and I have a master’s degree. I felt I had a good chance. I got to the agency about on time. I was to arrive 15 minutes early to complete an application. I went in and got to work on the application; 5 pages of information I feel like I have filled out thousands of times over the past few months. But it’s okay because I have good qualifications for this job, it pays well, has good benefits, so I am excited.

I complete the application and then wait. They can’t find the lady who is supposed to interview me. She’s not at her desk. So, like so many times I go for an interview, I am early or on time, well-prepared, and the person or persons who are interviewing me are not ready. I wait, and wait. But it’s okay – this will be a good job and I’m excited. I re-read the letter I received with the job description and feel confident I would be good at this job. Twenty minutes after my scheduled interview time I am called back.

The interview starts off in the usual way – they tell me about the job and I tell them about my past experiences, my educational background. They see I have extensive computer experience, which is good because they do almost all their work on computers. Case managers are each issued a laptop to use in the field and complete documentation on. Good! This job sounds better and better. Then they tell me that the state requires their case managers be certified and in order to do that, the applicant must have 1 year of past treatment planning/assessment experience. They ask me what experience I have in that area. Of course, my most recent job really didn’t supply this experience, but the job I had right before that did. Unfortunately, I only had that position for 7 months and fall 3 months short of the state experience requirement. Are you serious?! I have a master’s degree in social work when all that is required is a bachelor’s and I have almost all the prerequisite experience, but I don’t qualify for this job?! They tell me that a request has been submitted to the state to waive this requirement for those with master degrees, but they don’t expect an answer to the request until some time this summer. They send me out telling me that I can check back at the end of the summer.

Well, now because of the lack of sleep, the embarrassing mall debacle, and the PetSmart card woes heaped on top of this blow, I feel deflated. I feel dejected. I had not planned to go home until all my stops in town were completed that day, but decided because of the time (much ahead of schedule since the interview didn’t take nearly as long as I anticipated), I would make one more stop and then go home to check the mail and feed the cats. I went to one branch of our local library and picked up some movies for M. to satisfy his war history interest and headed home.

At home, more bad news. I pull an envelop out of the mailbox that is from our vet. Not the veterinary office, from her personally. We love our vet. She is about our age, talks to our cats like they are babies – which we consider them to be – and was so caring when we lost first Oliver and then Clyde. I knew what was in the envelope before I even opened it. And yes, when I pulled out the letter, I was right. Our vet’s husband accepted a job in another state and she will be leaving the practice at the end of this month. While the other vet at the office is nice, he just isn’t our vet. He didn’t call us with the news Oliver had not made it out of surgery and explain when animal control accidentally cremated him. He didn’t help us through Clyde’s illness and our decision to let him go. He didn’t cry with us as Clyde went to sleep for the last time. He didn’t recognize us out and about in town and stop to chat about our boys. This was another blow on a day of frustration and it’s hard for me to write about it even now – I love our vet.

Back to yesterday, after feeding the cats and unloading the dishwasher, changing clothes out of my interview outfit and into jeans and a tee, I headed to the downtown branch of our library. I had a list of books to pick up and I was scheduled to attend the first of three seminars for people seeking jobs. These are free seminars, so why not? I got to the library about the time a bunch of high school students arrived so the downstairs area where popular materials – fiction, movies, music – are located was very noisy and active. Not a favorite combination for me. I quickly located the books I wanted to check out, got them scanned at the check out, then headed back through the teen zone to the library cafe. I had never been to the cafe and had decided on Wednesday that I would check it out before my seminar and have dinner there. The cafe is a quaint little area, but there was one particular girl there that had to loudly proclaim all her thoughts out loud. After the day I’d had I really did not want or need to hear the inside workings of a girl who looked to be about 13 years old. I scanned the menu, ordered a veggie wrap, and fortunately, shortly after I ordered, Think Out Loud departed the cafe. I pulled out the book I was reading and dug into my wrap. It was delicious, however, it had onions which I did not immediately realize, and I knew that later I would pay for eating them in either heartburn or onion taste in my mouth, or both, later.

After my dinner I still had about an hour before my seminar started. I went upstairs to the nonfiction area, scoped out the meeting room where the seminar would be held, and then found a nice quiet place to sit and read until it was time. Last night’s seminar was titled “Finding a Career That Fits.” I ended up being the youngest of the five attendees. A surprisingly low attendance considering the seminar was free and the economic climate. The seminar went about half an hour over the projected hour time frame, but was pretty good. It gave resources on ways to get free assessments to determine the right career and how to research that career. The library offers many resources I was not aware of. Next week when I am feeling a bit more myself I will probably look into taking several of the assessments and doing some research. Not today.

As I was leaving the library, I gave M. a call to let him know I was on my way home. Naturally, he wanted to know how the interview went. I told him about not being qualified. Again, because of lack of sleep and the events of the day, it was frustrating and upsetting to talk about. I just wanted to be detached and alone for a bit, so I took a little longer than usual getting home, just taking some time to calm down. Once home, M. had a nice effect. He of course told me not to worry – eventually things will work out right. We watched Survivor (and the person I wanted to be voted out was not!) and then went to bed.

This morning I slept in. When I got up, I was sore all over from the more vigorous workout I did yesterday morning. I had a little breakfast of tea and a Kashi pumpkin pie bar and then got on the computer to do my daily job search and look at my favorite sites. Then I got to work on this post and am now ready for some lunch. It feels good to get this all out there, to release it to the internet universe. I think after lunch I will take a nice relaxing bath with some of my new Bath & Body Works products and just veg. I deserve a veg day!

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