Ugh! I just started to type my thoughts and realized that I could ramble on and on forever tonight about all of the things going on in my head...so now I'm starting over and trying to pick one subtopic to stick to for now.
I just spent 14 very intense hours at work and my brain is swimming with thoughts about all of the things that went on today. I've decided to stick with the topic that made me want to come home and start putting all my thoughts down in writing to begin with.
There were a lot of things that went on today- it was Movie day for my class (a reward for good behavior), I had a conference with the parents of a child who is struggling, and then we had our monthly staff meeting. It was an emotional rollercoaster type of day. The culminating event that really got my wheels spinning was a discussion with my peers about our annual employee satisfaction survey. The overall results of this past year's survey were quite good, but my boss wanted to discuss things anyway because there is always room for improvement. I felt like we had a good discussion and I think that it was a nice meeting. I left the building feeling like I had a very productive day. However, once I got into the car and had a few minutes to be by myself and get inside my own head, I started to get quite worked up about a variety of things.
The main issue that really got me going was thinking back about one specific question on the survey that we discussed..."Would you recommend the company to other people seeking employment?". The overall rating to this was pretty good- and I will say that I would absolutely recommend my center to other people- BUT, my boss wanted to probe deeper into why we answered the way that we did. This got me thinking about the fact that my company is consistently rated in Fortune magazines top 100 employers for working mothers. As a working mother, I have to say that I strongly disagree with that finding. I think that it is most likely a wonderful place for working mothers who work for the company at the corporate level, but for those of us (who are the MAJORITY in the company) who work at the ground level, there is a lot left to be desired.
The more I thought about this reality, the more I thought about how unfair it is that I constantly have to defend my choice of career to others. People seem to believe that just because I don't make a lot of money, or sit at a desk for hours on end that I don't have a "real" job. It is highly disturbing to me that some pot-smoking high school dropout can walk into a job at Target or Walmart or something along those lines and make more money than I do, but the amount of money that I make does not make my choice of career any less valid or important. I spend my days looking after the most precious gifts anyone could ever hope to have in life. I teach them, I patch up boo-boo's, I provide discipline, I reward and praise, I hug them, I read to them, I keep them safe, I break up arguments, I evaluate them for signs of issues (even though I'm not allowed to ever make any sort of diagnosis), and most of all, I love them as if they were my own...all for under $12/hour. (When you factor in the cost of bringing my own child with me every day- MUCH less) I don't do it for a thank you, I don't do it because I don't have the ability to do something else, and I definitely don't do it for the money; I do it because I love it and because I can't imagine doing anything more worthwhile. So it really, really bothers me when I have to defend my career to people who work for my own company! How dare you allow yourself to be called a terrific company for working Mothers when there is absolutely no way that I could ever work for the company as a single parent and be able to get by...unless I found other care for my child. How dare you tell me how important my job is and then turn around and show such utter disregard for the job I do. It is completely crazy to me that a magazine could rate a company based on what I have to assume to be a rather small portion of its employees. That rating can't possibly take into account all of the people working at the ground level of the company. In order to reach that conclusion I am convinced that you would have to look solely at the employees working at the corporate level- which in effect says that the job that I bust my butt at all day is irrelevent. It's not even worth looking at the employees at the ground level, because what we do isn't really a career. Let me just say that after the day I just had, that is the last thing on earth that anyone should even begin to imply...unless of course they are in the mood for one hell of an argument.
I have so much more that I could write about, but it is very late and I have to get up in a few hours to go back and bust my butt to help ensure the bright future of our world some more, so I really must go to bed now.