That Funky Tree

Posted on February 6th, 2012 by & filed under Everything Miz Meliz, Poems

 

 

There is a palm tree

in the yard

across the street

from my house.

It’s one of those

strange old trees

with lots of layers

on it’s trunk

that sways in the wind.

The trunk of that tree

is brown and tan and black and gray

and it’s texture looks rough to the touch.

The other day

while I was getting in the shower

something caught my attention.

I was glancing out the bathroom window

and even through the glass and steam and water,

I could still see it.

It was that funky tree

across the street

and it encapsulated me.

As I glanced in its direction,

I noticed something unusual.

I had that feeling

that someone

was watching me

from that strange old funky tree.

For a moment it

looked like a woman

sitting on the roof

of the house

across the street.

She was sitting cross-legged,

like a yogi.

She posed tall,

back erect,

her head lifted,

body straight.

Her long arms were wrapped

about her legs

draping over alternate knees.

She was focussing

on something.

She was focused

on me!

She was watching me

from that funky tree.

Her long graying green hair

was wildly waving in the air.

Her body was still,

perfectly still,

as she sat there

watching me,

sizing me up,

studying me

from that funky tree.

I couldn’t stop looking that way.

I wanted to know what she had to say.

I tried to forget about it.

I finished my shower,

I got dressed.

Then entranced,

I had to look again.

I had to see what was happening

to the funky tree

that I could see

through my bathroom window

that is in the yard

of the house

across the street.

That weird old thing!

No longer a woman.

No, she was gone.

Not a tree either.

That tree has somehow morphed

into a new shape,

a new being.

I thought I saw a boy at first.

But it was a boy and a girl

in an embrace.

They were hugging and kissing,

their limbs interlaced.

Right there on top of the roof

of the house across the street,

right where that palm tree used to be!

What were they doing there

living life on the edge?

They had not a care in the world.

They were not aware of me at all

as I stared I watching them

sizing them up

studying them

right there

on that funky tree.

Then suddenly

my concentration broke.

I took a breath

as my mind awoke.

I needed to stop obsessing.

I promised myself

I would not look at it again.

Not even a glance,

I would not take that chance.

I was afraid of

what I might see

next time I look

at that funky tree.

Time passed

and seasons changed.

A new day dawned

as time elapsed.

I just happened

to look out the window

of my bathroom

at the house

across the street.

I could not help myself

at the tree, I glanced.

It was something new,

the colors were a pretty hue.

They were lighter shades

of brown

and gray and blue.

Then I saw him.

He was a wee lad.

He couldn’t be more than four or five.

There was a little boy peeking out

from behind it.

He was behind that funky tree

on the roof

of the house

across the street

playing peek-a-boo with me.

My thoughts raced,

“Hold on!  Don’t fall,”

as I watched him

grasping so gingerly

to the bright green leaves

of the funky tree.

He was laughing and giggling joyfully,

just looking around

seeing what he could see.

He climbed and dangled

from high atop

the old gray palm.

Playing a game of “I Spy,”

inconspicuously,

he took notice of me

looking at him,

through the window

of my bathroom,

watching him

sizing him up

studying him.

He laughed and grinned

as he ducked behind his fortress

and once again was hidden

behind that strange old tree.

He disappeared

from my view

it’s true.

He was so wise

under the guise

of that funky tree.

I said aloud,

“Go on little guy,

don’t worry why,

Go on and play,

I’ll see you again someday.”

A new day arrived

and I contrived

I would no longer be caught

in a web of thought.

That funky old tree

hasn’t any hold on me.

I would no longer ponder

over and over

about what was taking place

on the roof of the house

across the street.

Why not take a look

and see what I can see?

What could be happening

with that old palm tree?

Soft breezes blow

the faded golden branches

in the sun’s sweet glow.

Something called my name

as I peered through

the window pane,

I was drawn to the image

across the lane.

Ah, it is a woman again!

A lovely young lady,

holding her baby.

For a moment I consider

this apparition to be. . .

The Madonna and Child!

She could be Mother Earth

holding Baby Time!

Either way,

the vision is fine,

and the privilege is mine!

The transcendent femme

was holding him

tenderly in her arms

on the roof of the house

across the street,

however miraculously

that could be!

The babe was nursing,

suckling and thriving,

while living on the branches

of The Tree of Life.

The funky, strange, old tree

in the yard

of the house

across the street!

They appeared warm and free.

She smiled at him lovingly

as the wind blew through

her soft shiny hair.

The sun shone on her face

and she tightened her embrace.

They were alone in their bliss,

and I saw her don a kiss

on the head of her cherubim.

How could I be so incredibly proud?

They were not in the least

interested in me

as I uttered aloud,

“Go in peace, my angels,

Go in peace.”

In my heart they rest,

forever basking

in their timeless love

forsaking everything

that has or will ever exist –

at least that I myself

observed high above

in the yard

of the house

across the street

by that strange,

old,

funky

tree!

 

 

Melissa Reyes

original 5-23-02

revised 2-7-2012

The Glory of Friendship

Posted on February 4th, 2012 by & filed under Be Inspired, Quotes & Notes

“The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, nor the kindly smile nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when he discovers that someone else believes in him and is willing to trust him.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Happiness Quotient

Posted on February 2nd, 2012 by & filed under Everything Miz Meliz, The Happiness Project

I didn’t make a resolution this year, other than to have a focus term. . . experience.

I wish to embrace the experiences that become present in my life

I wish to create meaningful experiences for myself and my family

I wish to use my prior experiences to help me to appreciate the beauty of each moment

So far, 2012 has been full of experiences!  Have I thought about this term everyday?  No.  Have I applied the idea of focus in my daily life? Yes.  I really have noticed a difference.  I have embraced the experiences that have presented themselves.  I have had some good days and some bad ones.  With each experience, I have managed to enjoy the ride.  I have learned from some harsh realities.  I have made the mundane seem like miracles.  However slight, miraculous none the less!

I have created some magical, meaningful experiences for my family.  At the very least, I took part in activities that were meaningful.  I recognized them to be memorable and important.

I have been writing weekly and this has enabled me to reflect on my past experiences quite a bit.  I am in love with writing!  It is opening up possibilities for me and is making me feel whole again.

Some memorable experiences of 2012:

Getting an iPhone (for $2.50 after credits and upgrade!)

Seeing my 12 year old son sing with an amazing choir for Epiphany.

Enjoying my husband and sons learning to play the ukulele they got for Christmas.

Opening a bank account for my sixteen year old son – a right of passage.

Taking the family to Big Bear for snowboarding and staying in a beautiful cabin for the weekend

My 15 year old son going to the emergency room in Big Bear for snowboarding accident and being grateful that it could have been much worse than a collar bone fracture

Meeting up with my in-laws at Disneyland to see my nephew perform with his high school orchestra

Finding the perfect gift to give to my MIL and enjoying the day with her

Spending time with a new friend and enjoying movies, shopping, doing fun things and going for walks around the lake

Watching Football with my brother and niece and planning Super Bowl Sunday

Going to a college application workshop with my oldest son, another right of passage!

Getting in “trouble” at work for taking a long lunch and being chronically late

Making a valiant effort to be on time and staying positive at work for two weeks!

Working really hard and completing projects at work, and loving it.

Getting my sons report cards and being able to celebrate their successes with them!

Promising to get my 15 year old an iPhone for his birthday and being willing to pay full price (over $500) to make him happy, and working out a deal for less than $100 which made us both happy!

I can’t wait to see what other experiences unfold this year!  What ever happens, I resolve to live, love, do, be and enjoy the ride!

Part 2: Extremely Long and Dangerously Accurate

Posted on February 2nd, 2012 by & filed under A Year With Myself, Everything Miz Meliz

Part 2:  Extremely Long and Dangerously Accurate  – the Detailed Description of my Personality Type

(mostly cut and pasted directly from humanmetrics and keirsey)

 It is Rather Ideal!

Idealists are passionately concerned with personal growth and development. Stop!  That’s me!  I buy in to self help books, magazines, Oprah!   Idealists strive to discover who they are and how they can become their best possible self — always this quest for self-knowledge and self-improvement drives their imagination. So true! And they want to help others make the journey. I really do!  Idealists are naturally drawn to working with people, and whether in education or counseling, in social services or personnel work, in journalism or the ministry, they are gifted at helping others find their way in life, often inspiring them to grow as individuals and to fulfill their potentials. Wow! I did not read this until after I wrote Amazing Grace.  Very cool!

According to Keirsey, These are my “core” characteristics:

  • I am enthusiastic, I trust my intuition, yearn for romance, seek my true self, prize meaningful relationships, and dream of attaining wisdom.
  • I pride myself on being loving, kindhearted, and authentic.
  • I tend to be giving, trusting, spiritual, and I focus on my personal journey and human potential.
  • I apparently make an intense mate, a nurturing parent, and an inspirational leader. I must say I am proud myself right now – I love all of these qualities!

Idealists are sure that friendly cooperation is the best way for people to achieve their goals. Umm, Can’t we all just get along?  Conflict and confrontation upset them because they seem to put up angry barriers between people. Idealists dream of creating harmonious, even caring personal relations, and they have a unique talent for helping people get along with each other and work together for the good of all. Such interpersonal harmony might be a romantic ideal, but then Idealists are incurable romantics who prefer to focus on what might be, rather than what is. The real, practical world is only a starting place for Idealists; they believe that life is filled with possibilities waiting to be realized, rich with meanings calling out to be understood. Life is full of possibilities!  I honestly believe there is a silver lining to every situation! This idea of a mystical or spiritual dimension to life, the “not visible” or the “not yet” that can only be known through intuition or by a leap of faith, is far more important to Idealists than the world of material things.

Highly ethical in their actions, Idealists hold themselves to a strict standard of personal integrity. This reminds me of my favorite book on self improvement:  The Four Agreements.  I’ll re-post the four agreements on my blog again soon.  They must be true to themselves and to others, and they can be quite hard on themselves when they are dishonest, or when they are false or insincere. More often, however, Idealists are the very soul of kindness. This came up recently at work when I was absolutely devastated when I was told that someone had complained about me being rude to them.  I was shocked!!  It truly pained me to think that someone would feel that way about me.  Particularly in their personal relationships, Idealists are without question filled with love and good will. They believe in giving of themselves to help others; they cherish a few warm, sensitive friendships; they strive for a special rapport with their children; and in marriage they wish to find a “soulmate,” someone with whom they can bond emotionally and spiritually, sharing their deepest feelings and their complex inner worlds. This is all very true about me.  My family and friends are so important to me.

Idealists are relatively rare, making up no more than 15 to 20 percent of the population. But their ability to inspire people with their enthusiasm and their idealism has given them influence far beyond their numbers.  Idealists need to be esteemed for their ability to help others, particularly emotional help. I have been called “the glue that holds the family together” – – this was the most empowering realization to me.

Even more than the other Idealists, Teachers have a natural talent for leading students or trainees toward learning, or as Idealists like to think of it, they are capable of calling forth each learner’s potentials. Okay, did you read the story of the boy and the flag?  It is in me – part of my personality, my inner core beliefs – to help in this way.  Teachers (around two percent of the population) are able – effortlessly, it seems, and almost endlessly-to dream up fascinating learning activities for their students to engage in. In some Teachers, this ability to fire the imagination can amount to a kind of genius which other types find hard to emulate. But perhaps their greatest strength lies in their belief in their students. Teachers look for the best in their students, and communicate clearly that each one has untold potential, and this confidence can inspire their students to grow and develop more than they ever thought possible. Maybe I should think about teaching again!  Wait, I really should go back to teaching!

In whatever field they choose, Teachers consider people their highest priority, and they instinctively communicate personal concern and a willingness to become involved. Warmly outgoing, and perhaps the most expressive of all the types, Teachers are remarkably good with language, especially when communicating in speech, face to face. And they do not hesitate to speak out and let their feelings be known. Bubbling with enthusiasm, Yes, that’s me! Teachers will voice their passions with dramatic flourish, and can, with practice, become charismatic public speakers. This verbal ability gives Teachers a good deal of influence in groups, and they are often asked to take a leadership role. Since high school, I have been told I was a leader. . . I wasn’t quite sure that I fit the bill.  I do!

Teachers like things settled and organized, and will schedule their work hours and social engagements well ahead of time — and they are absolutely trustworthy in honoring these commitments. Valuing as they do interpersonal cooperation and harmonious relations, Teachers are extraordinarily tolerant of others, are easy to get along with, and are usually popular wherever they are.  Hmm . . . interesting. I do have a problem with flaking out.  I don’t like to do it, but as things get crazy with the kids’ schedules I tend not to make any commitments if there is a chance I can’t come through.

Teachers are highly sensitive to others, which is to say their intuition tends to be well developed. Certainly their insight into themselves and others is unparalleled. Without a doubt, they know what is going on inside themselves, and they can read other people with uncanny accuracy. People always tell me they can talk to me about anything and I am the person people come to when they are in trouble.  I often find myself giving advice.  I am careful about this these days, because I don’t want to sound like a know it all. But I will always be open and honest if you ask me for my opinion.  Teachers also identify with others quite easily, and will actually find themselves picking up the characteristics, emotions, and beliefs of those around them. Because they slip almost unconsciously into other people’s skin in this way, Teachers feel closely connected with those around them, and thus show a sincere interest in the joys and problems of their employees, colleagues, students, clients, and loved ones. This explains why I feel like I am from New Mexico!  I say it is in my blood.  Actually I spent so much time around family from Albuquerque when I was a kid, that I “absorbed” the feeling of growing up there!

Since Idealists tend to work for a better future for all, if things keep going badly and they lose hope they become stressed. When Idealists experience great stress, they can have muscle or sensory problems. Yes.  This really happens!

The Teacher is likely to become stressed if they experience an absence of trust and too much pressure to conform. They also dislike interpersonal conflict. If this happens, they may become excessively critical, which is antithetical to their normal positive self. One of the signs that the Teacher is in high stress is muscle tics, restless legs or cramps. To recover, this normally social type must be left alone. Solitude and journal writing can help them get back to normal. Also getting out of the current arena of conflict and taking on a new project can restore their sense of self. This is incredibly accurate and it is exactly what I do to handle it.

Idealist women tend to be very romantic. They love to give and receive tokens of affection, such as an original poem, a hand carved box, or an item which reminds them of some shared experience. Men often appreciate their compassion and empathy along with their belief in others. When dating, they hope they’ll get to know each other through deep conversation. Now I am weirded out!  How does answering some questions about my habits reveal this about me?  I am feeling less unique and more predictable.  It’s all so true!

This is how I want to be shown love:

  • Listen to me without trying to solve my problems. Periodically summarize, synthesize, and restate so it is clear you are listening intelligently
  • Express your belief that I can come up with good answers to problems but be prepared to provide shelter when the fallout gets unbearable
  • Praise me for my insights into people and my ability to help people
  • Protect me from emotional devastation
  • Recognize that I have an irresistibly beautiful soul

Idealist women love to receive personalized gifts which hold great symbolism for both parties. These items can be as small as a four leafed clover found in the yard to symbolize a wishing of luck. The more specific the items are to the unique relationship of the couple, the happier she will be. Idealist women love the idea that their partner was thinking about them. Other things which heighten a sense of intimacy are sharing a laugh in public over a private joke and communicating in a private language.  Hey, Honey, remember keychains and the sticky frog?  Grape ape?

Idealists give a lot to romantic relationships but they are also high maintenance. I always say I don’t know how my husband knows everything about me and still wants to be with me!  He deserves an award for putting up with me! If you have an Idealist partner, you can expect to spend a fair amount of time talking and even more listening. Idealists are very sensitive to what other people think, especially their loved ones. Providing support and a belief in them is far more important than giving them the “right” answer, which may not even be the best thing for them to do. Luckily Lito has gotten very good at taking care of me!

The one thing that can destroy a relationship with an Idealist is a values conflict. Idealists value relationships, but they also have certain uncompromising values. If a partner seems to be violating those values, the Idealist will stretch and stretch to try to accommodate the partner. However, if an acceptable solution is not reached, the Idealist will eventually snap. At this point, the relationship is usually beyond any possible repair. Keep an open line of communication with your Idealist partner to avoid this kind of outcome.  Whoa!  Our biggest conflicts are always a matter of principle.

The thing Idealists most long for is intimacy. Couples can have intimacy in body, mind, and soul. Idealists want all three but are most attracted by intimacy of souls. They love to share their future plans or dreams with their partner, and they love to listen to their partner’s desires. It’s usually just fine if these dreams are not at all the same as long as they don’t contradict each other in any important way. Sharing secrets about the innermost you is a great way to encourage intimacy of all three varieties. Ain’t love grand?

If you are having problems, do not keep that information from your partner. You may think you don’t want to burden them, but they will know that something is upsetting you. Idealists feel very hurt if a loved one doesn’t trust them enough to let them know what is going on. I’m repeating that sentence. . . Idealists feel very hurt if a loved one doesn’t trust them enough to let them know what is going on. Although Idealists can often seem very fragile and likely to break at the slightest touch, but when true adversity hits, they generally rise to the occasion and become a stout oak of support.  I can stay cool in times of trouble, earthquakes, accidents, injuries. . . I’m your rock!

The bottom line with an Idealist is to give them emotional support. Nurture your mate and you will probably get an intensely loyal and totally devoted partner.  Oh yeah!

If your valentine is an Idealist, you are likely to need to do a lot of work. Most Idealists are very romantic and enjoy the romantic feel of Valentine’s Day. While traditional gifts can keep you out of the dog house, you will need to be a bit more creative to really capture their loving feelings. Idealists often like things specially made for them, such as a hand made card, decorated clothing (children’s handprints.) Another thing that is often a big hit is a coupon book. The coupons can be for things like a back rub, doing the dishes, movie night, and so on. The cornier the coupons are, the better (“One coupon for a 15 minute back (and maybe lower ;-)) rub from your devoted slave”). Ha, ha!  I hate to admit this is true.  I still wouldn’t mind chocolates and roses, but as long as you do something for me, I will be happy!

Idealist parents are generally the best of all parents at finding and encouraging their children’s unique abilities. While many parents are good at encouraging their children, Idealists are especially gifted in figuring out what to nurture and encourage. They are also the most likely to be able to ‘read’ their children’s minds and have a good idea of what is going on inside each of their children. This can lead to trouble since they will at times ‘read’ incorrectly and then react based on what they think is happening. I am sure my kids have experienced this more than once! This can be avoided by talking to the child to confirm or modify an intuition before acting on it. A person fortunate enough to be brought up in a mature Idealist’s home generally has a strong sense of who they really are, a validation of themselves and their dreams, and an emotional sensitivity to others. Boo-ya!!

Pay attention boys! Here are some tips on how to communicate effectively with your Idealist parent. Avoid values conflicts. Try to fit what you are wanting or needing in terms of your parent’s values. If you fight with them on their values, you’ll lose the battle and the war. Remember, they have had a lot more time than you have to develop their beliefs. They have good reasons for their values (maybe some bad ones too). Find and respect those reasons. Thank you. J

The thing that makes an Idealist parent the happiest is when their children open up and talk to them about their most important beliefs, ideas, dreams, values, etc. Sharing intimately with your parent is the easiest way to communicate effectively with them. You can then ask for almost anything and get it, especially if you can show how what you are asking for will cause you to develop as a person.  Oh, there you go!!  You had me at hello!

 

Well, there you have it.  Now you know everything about me!  Now, try taking the test yourself.  Let me know what your personality type is and what you think of the descriptions.  I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I did!

http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes2.asp

http://keirsey.com/4temps/teacher.aspx

Experience!

She Has a Great Personality!

Posted on February 2nd, 2012 by & filed under A Year With Myself, Everything Miz Meliz

Part 1:  The Truth About Me: Discovering my Personality Type

I enjoyed taking the free Jung Typology Test to discover my Myers-Briggs personality type. The test was fast and easy. The questions were short and sweet. I loved reading the description relating to my personality profile and found it amazingly accurate. I was curious if the result would be the same if I took the test another time. I waited four days and took it again. As I answered the questions, I thought I might have changed my answer on some of them. I was sure it would have a different result. Nope! It came out exactly the same! Impressive. Especially since, according to the description, only 15-20% of the population falls into the same category that I do.

I learned that my type is ENFJ: Extraverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging. This combination of types is called a Teacher and is categorized as an Idealist. I can say that I knew this about myself. If I had been asked to describe myself in four words prior to taking the test, I might have said “I am outgoing, insightful, emotional, and accepting.”  Out of all the categories, I think Idealist describes me best.

It’s All About Love and Hate

Once I discovered my personality type, I thought about my past work experiences. I have always loved helping people. I loved leading retreats in high school and as a young adult. I have always been good at leading group discussions. I have always enjoyed working in general. I like the sense of accomplishment and of making a difference.

Some of the jobs that I have had over the years never felt like “work” to me. After high school I worked in retail sales. That was fun! I liked meeting and helping nice people and I loved making displays and decorating the store window. After I got married I did data entry at a manufacturing firm in the Contracts Department. I enjoyed my job there quite a bit – I liked working with the Sales Department, following the orders from sales to shipping, typing and manipulating data, making reports, and transferring information. I found it to be easy and I felt important.

It was during that time that I began volunteering. I worked with Youth Ministry and taught Confirmation classes at my church. One of the things I enjoyed was creating newsletters that went out to the kids and parents. Eventually I did this at other jobs and as technology improved I began to email newsletters and create websites. I love the creativity and the technical ability I use in making web sites and newsletters. It makes me happy that others will read it to get information and be entertained. I especially loved working with teenagers and young people. I enjoyed high school myself and I like to be connected with high school age kids. They remind me of the best times in my life and give me energy.

Something else I got into during my volunteer work at St. John Eudes church and school was planning events – my most favorite thing! I absolutely love hosting parties, planning trips, coordinating meetings, planning group outings, reunions, conferences, training, anything! I became very good at this when I was an executive assistant at a regional bank office. It was part of my job to plan events of all kinds. That part of my job never felt like work!

I realized that I felt energized when I was organizing meetings and events, coordinating big events and fundraisers. I love engaging others and team building. I find coordinating annual events the most fulfilling because I have been blessed with volunteers who come back year after year.  They tell me, “Melissa, if you are in charge, I will help out.”  That makes me feel so good!

Some of my absolutely favorite jobs have been in a professional environment.  I loved working in Downtown Los Angeles in a high rise office building! I also loved working onWestwood Blvd.in a retail store. I love cities. I love being around people. I love the feeling of motion and excitement. I love dressing up in power suits and business dress attire. I love meeting new people and greeting guests. I loved helping the managers and district managers and doing projects for the executives when I worked in banking. I loved the little things about working downtown like riding the commuter train or a public bus to work.  I was always thrilled while passing well known or historical landmarks on my way into the city.  I was grateful seeing the diverse cultures that live inL.A.and the feeling of being part of something big.  I liked going to restaurants and trying the unique foods. It was an amazing experience to “feel the pulse of the city.”  It felt natural and comfortable to me.  I was in my element.  It was a little scary at first for a Valley Girl like me!  But it empowered me and gave me an incredible sense of purpose.

Thinking back, I remember some not so great experiences.  I hated working the cash register at Giuliano’s Delicatessen, my very first job. Even though I was introduced to some amazing Italian food that I love to this day, I really hated working there and wearing that goofy floral print dress with the poofy sleeves and apron!.  I do wish that place was still around though.  My mouth waters just thinking about the cheese stuffed spinach tortellini!  Mmmm!

I hated working in an office with no windows doing meaningless busy work like when I worked for my Dad the summer between junior and senior year of high school. I hated working in the document control room, where I filled orders to make copies of blue prints, drawings, and other documents.

Some jobs I have hated had some advantages or perks that made it worth it.  I hated working in the phone room as a recruiter and doing surveys by phone for a marketing research firm while I was in college. However, I have a lot of great memories of working there in my college years, and I had many valuable experiences.  I made lifelong friends at that job.  I especially liked being the phone room supervisor.

I hated working the cash register at Bruce’s Deli, but I loved doing the accounting and managing the store. I had a lot of responsibility there.   I loved attending and hosting Chamber of Commerce mixers and doing catering jobs for film sets.

I liked being a contract clerk in the sales department at my Dad’s company when I went back after I got married.  I had a wonderful boss who was into team leading.  He once told me that he thought I should consider law school.  He thought I would be good at mitigation.  He is the first person who gave me the confidence to have a high goal like that.  I hated when I first became an administrative assistant to a regional bank manager because there was so much drama with him, but I loved the work that I did. I loved doing awards events for the managers. That was fun!

I loved being the administrative assistant for a senior vice president in business banking because he trusted me to go to the many offices and attend meetings at the different locations where I supported the regional managers that reported to him. I loved coordinating outings and events for them.  That boss was instrumental in my biggest career advancement to date.  When he left to work at another bank, he opened the door for me to work at the executive office there.  He always looked out for me.

I hate the pressure of working for other people unless they appreciate the value I bring to making their job easier.  I am always happy to do things for others.  Either for their enjoyment or to make things better for them.

Sometimes work makes me sick!  The worst was being the middle manager at a retail store – being the one who does all the work, has all the responsibility, but makes no decisions and gets no credit. I hated that! I used to bust my butt working late into the night to make the store look perfect, balance my cash registers, make my deposits, create quotas and schedule employees, and the manager would walk in looking pretty carrying a big cup of coffee and get all the credit.  I felt the same way when I was a phone room supervisor. I used to get sick to my stomach in the elevator on the way to my office.  I despised the treatment I got there.  Being bossed, not managed, and pressured by the project manager to get the work done on time and within budget. I couldn’t stomach having to be responsible for getting the work done by my employees and not getting any appreciation for it. I didn’t fare well having to be the middle person between the workers and the bosses. I liked being the assistant to the boss – the “right hand.” I would prefer that to being the boss or being “bossed.”  One thing that I learned over the years is there is a big difference between being the boss and being a manager.

Honestly, it was a relief when they demoted me from that position and I quit. That was the only time I ever had that experience. Most times I changed jobs it was because of another opportunity that came along. There are some jobs I didn’t mind leaving, but I left because I wanted a change, either more money or better conditions.

I was sad leaving my executive assistant position at the bank. Sometimes I regret it. I completely loved that job and I miss it. There was a great deal of responsibility. I was managed to my strengths and valued as a person. I loved the things that I did well. I have always been a quick learner and I was grateful for the opportunity to train in the various areas of banking even though banking wasn’t my thing. I enjoyed the “go-to person” being knowledgeable while continuing to learn and increasing my value and expertise. Being a point person enabled me to help the managers and bankers, the other employees and the customers. I loved the sense of accomplishment I felt and I loved being appreciated. My boss took the time to get to know me and enjoyed knowing me. I always knew that he liked me and trusted me. It was very important to him that he could trust me. He was a good judge of character and an honorable man. I would get there early and stay late so I could get everything done and because I enjoyed being there so much. I think my boss reminded me of my Dad. He was so kind and thoughtful. He went out of his way to make sure I felt important and appreciated. If he had a success, or got a bonus, he shared it with me in some way. He was cognizant of how my input made things easier for him.

I never liked working in food service or in production. I don’t like doing the same thing all the time, over and over. I don’t like feeling subservient. I like serving others, but I don’t want to feel “less than”. Sales for commission always disturbed me. I don’t want to make a sale that charges someone more money so I can make my living. I don’t want to take advantage of others or scam them in any way.

Amazing Grace

Now I work at my son’s middle school as the administrative assistant to the principal.  Working at a school has its advantages. This happens to be the school I attended myself.  It is a Catholic school.  I love that what we are producing is an education for children and helping them to shape their future. I love that our customers are the students, their parents and families. I love working with educated people who are passionate about teaching. I love working in a Catholic environment where spirituality is expected and valued. I love the feeling of sharing my experiences that I have had with my kids and helping other parents and their kids. Once in awhile I get the satisfaction of doing some little thing that makes me so very happy and feeds my soul.

One example of this is the time that I taught a student how to fold the American flag and explained why it is important to treat the flag with respect. He was trying to help with the daily task of taking the flag down from the flag pole.  He obviously had never done it before and didn’t get the usual training from Student Council.  I saw him carrying the flag in a bunch and part of it about to be dragged along the floor of my office.  I stopped him and he thought he was getting in trouble.  I said, “Please let me show you how to do that.  There is a special way to fold the flag.  Do you know why?”  As we folded the flag together I told him that as Americans it is our duty to honor the flag.  Soldiers are taught to treat the flag as if it is a living thing.  It represents all the souls who have died for our country.  I explained that we never let it touch the ground and that it is folded into a triangle with the stars showing when complete.

That was a good day.  The student seemed happy enough to get some attention and learn something new.  I had no idea how much he had taken it to heart until that same boy came back a few months later and asked me to help him show someone else the right way to do it. What an amazing honor! I was truly touched. That boy will always remember me for taking the time to teach him that. He has demonstrated a new found respect for something patriotic, symbolic and lasting. I made a difference in his life because I took the time to show him and share why it is important. Once in awhile I get to make an impact in this way.

The highly unusual and unexpected ways that I am able to help someone are the most rewarding. The most fulfilling is passing forward a kindness. Kids are amazed if I give them a few coins when they ask for change and say they don’t need to pay me back. Or when I give them a book and ask for nothing in return. It makes me happiest when I can help a family.   A simple gesture like a hug or a smile means so much to a mother when her child has been injured at school. All I ever say when someone asks how they can repay me is, “Just pay it forward. Help someone else someday.”

It’s Not the End of The World – It’s Just Politics!

I hate office politics. “Why can’t we all just get along?” is a phrase that I use much  too often. I enjoy working for and with others. But I like to be left alone to do my work. I need some outward signs of appreciation to know that I am valued, but I like very little direction. I need attention, especially when I am given a project to do and when it is completed, but the rest of the time I need to be trusted. If I ask, “Can help you with that?” it is because I want to help you, I want to be helpful.

I wrote in another post that if I could do anything I wanted without risk and without repercussions, I would not work. I know that I would need to stay busy and I would want to do some kind of work. I like to work on projects. I enjoy doing projects or things that will have an end. I need to have that sense of accomplishment. When I have taken long periods of time off work or when I have taken stay at home vacations I have repainted the living room, re-decorated the bedrooms, made Christmas presents by hand, cleaned closets, and had garage sales.  In fact, when I was a stay at home parent with my three kids, I soldAvon!

I have never had the experience of getting paid more money than I thought my work was worth. I have never had the experience of getting paid for doing work that I would do for free. I have worked for free and loved it. I have also done work for free and hated it.  Someday, I hope to be able to say, “Wow, this is great!  I am doing exactly what I love, and they pay me, too!”

Roses & Sunsets:  Why I Love What I Love

I see how a lot of this has to do with my personality type. Why have I made the choices I have made? Why do I like what I like? What makes me truly happy?  I learned a long time ago that doing what you are passionate about is the best thing. But I also know that loving what you have is important. In this economy, I am grateful for the job I have and the opportunities it brings for my children and my family. It may not be the perfect job for me, but I know I can do it well and I can make the best of it. That is confirmed by knowing my personality type! After all, I am a teacher!

I enjoyed thinking about my journey through the different jobs I have had and all that I have experienced.  It’s amazing to read the descriptions of my personality and evaluate the reasons I love what I love!  It wasn’t all roses and sunsets, that is for sure!  That is why I appreciate roses and sunsets all the more!

Read Part 2 of this post to learn more about my personality.  (If you dare!)

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