I caught myself more than once today shaking my head, wondering, "How do these people come up with this stuff?" I was so worn down by the end of the day that I came close to posting this as my Facebook status:
You know what? Yeah...me either.
I don't like not knowing things...I make it my business to know as much as I can about as much as I can, so when I can't figure out what in the world is going on with people, I go into some kind of system overload. I imagine the look on my face is pretty close to what you'd expect a robot to look like if his circuits were short circuiting...smoke coming from his ears...fully dilated pupils...mouth slightly ajar. Ever stopped to think about how so many people who have little to no common sense seem to function? They must move through their day like you do when you're really tired and you get in your car to drive home...and before you know it, you're in your driveway and you can't remember how in the world you got home. Scary. They're out there, though, y'all...and they're handling our money, teaching our kids, making our food, etc. Really, I could go on and on about how difficult they make this world, but I'd rather talk about a pleasant surprise from the later half of my day.
We're all in a world of shrinking paychecks and ever dwindling funding sources, and it's positively futile to expect raises or any other monetary recognition for a job well done. You can get all preachy on me and say that you're not in it for the money, and I'd agree. I'm not either...in fact, the resources I'd love to have have nothing to do with my paycheck (by the way, find me a teacher who says s/he's in it for the money, and I'll show you a fool!). It's frustrating to be in a profession where it's not even realistic to expect increased funding...I'm not talking raises...I'm talking money to increase the resources needed to do our jobs well. Surely you can imagine how beat down I can get by the end of the day when I've pretty much had to spend all of it telling people that I think their ideas are great...we just don't have the money to make them happen...that I know they want to do something new and innovative, but we'll have to figure out how to make it happen using what we already have. It's not fun being the bad guy...really, sometimes being fiscally responsible just sucks!
And then...almost like it's divinely scripted, someone walks into my office and says something nice to me...something that others might even perceive as a dig but it makes sense to me. That's precisely what happened near the end of my day. I was deeply engrossed in a conversation with a colleague; we were discussing the state of education, what we need to do to "make things better," and how hard it is to convince some other people that what we really need has very little to do with what's "hot, new, or trendy!" Just like that he says something about how nice it would be to be me and just say what I feel without caring if people like me or like what I have to say. I know what people say about me...the good and the bad. The good makes me smile, and the bad stings a bit: I hear them say that I'm super opinionated; I'm pushy and demanding; I'm not afraid to hurt feelings; I don't mind telling someone when their opinion is pretty worthless; and my personal favorite: I'm a master manipulator. On the surface, I can see how all of those things sound bad...on the surface. But, I just don't have it in me to even offer a fake apology for caring enough to do what's right in spite of what's easy or popular.