Direct Answers – Column for the week of October 28, 2002
I feel I am at the breaking point. I work at a small school and run the office. I do all the financials, secretarial work, and reception duties. While staffing has increased in the classroom, it has not in administration.
I shared my feeling with the principal on Monday and clearly stated things must change.
Teachers need to take more responsibility for their own tasks instead of bringing them to the office via students or teacher aides.
The principal gave a huge lecture to teachers about overloading, looking out for each other, and making sure family life has priority. I felt better. Then he told me he was leaving at 11:30 a.m. and in future would take every Thursday off!
That automatically increases my workload. I resolved not to work overtime, which is usually unpaid, but yesterday was so busy I needed to in order to get my real work done. Everyone else left early!
I enjoy the job and need to work, but no one takes me seriously including my husband who tells me how wonderful I am. I am tired of being superwoman. We have children and visitors from overseas for several months, and I feel any day I will lose my mind!
Blake, you are hardworking, clever, and do your job well. You need to use that cleverness and work ethic to devise a solution.
You’ve done the most important thing by talking to the principal. He’s already given the speech. In fact, he took a page from what you are feeling and applied it to himself. That sounds awful, but it frees you to act without having to explain your position to everyone.
Your job is like a square box. It doesn’t matter how many people want to put more in the box. When the box is full, it is full. Once other people understand that, they will go look for another box.
Begin with your main duties and center your day around these items. Each time someone brings other work, decide if you can reasonably do it. If you can’t, send it back or offer to show that person how they can do it for themselves. At quitting time, the box is full.
Grab your purse and go.
On Thursdays, explain the principal is unavailable. Don’t offer to take messages or handle the situation yourself. At home, tell your husband you are now trading compliments for a load of laundry and help with the dishes. Integrate your house guests into the normal family chores and routine.
Most guests actually enjoy it!
Being superwoman is not a compliment, it is a job description. If you don’t reduce your stress level, one day you will quit your job because you simply cannot bear it. No one will gain from that.
Wayne & Tamara
Predicting The Past
My girlfriend thinks I fancy her sister even though I don’t. She and her sister live together so you can imagine the tension. It’s now at the stage that I’m not allowed to talk to her sister or be in the same room with her.
My girlfriend has been hurt before, and that is where this is coming from. She’s afraid I will go off with her sister, though this will never happen. What can I do to help her get over this?
Roland, if you swear on a bible or promise to put your own eyes out, it is still not enough to satisfy a jealous person. Jealousy is about fear, control and power, not love.
You need to nip this pattern of accusation and denial in the bud. When you talk to your girlfriend, don’t coddle her or try to convince her. That only feeds her jealousy. Let her know she has a choice. She can lose one past boyfriend to his misdeeds, or she can continue to accuse you and lose a second.
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