Monday, April 2, 2012

Learning to ask for help

Pin It

In January I started a new job, at a new school. It was kind of exciting because I really liked the methodology, the curriculum and the age group, and kind of intimidating because I would have a new job description, students younger than I ever worked with, and staff to handle. All in all, I figured it would be a busy year with a steep learning curve for me.

Things started out a bit wobbly, and I ended up being the only employee for almost a month. As we got children enrolled, we started hiring staff, one at a time. We now have a teacher, two assistants and a secretary, all whose jobs were being done by me a couple of months ago.

As I see our growth and understand the growing pains that comes with it, I kept thinking this was the time to be selfless and go above and beyond. Come to think of it, that’s how I’ve always been.

Until I realized my selfless-ness on the job meant selfishness at home, in my marriage and with my family. I seldom had time for them, and when I did, chances was I was too tired or unfocused. I cannot tell you how many dinners I had with my husband in which the topic of conversation was my job.

So I breathed in, found some courage, and asked for help. I figured my boss would say there was no way she could help me, I knew what I had gotten into, and secretly think I am useless, and how long does she still need to put up with me.

Boy, was I wrong. She was nothing but helpful. She helped figure out a way to have a whole half of my working day in the office, to get stuff done. We talked about staffing needs and she got the ball rolling on that. And I saw that my need to prove myself as a ‘do-it-all’ was unfounded.

I only wish I had figured it out sooner. I had the perception that working in a school was like that, and that is why teachers have more vacation than anyone, to recover. Now I realize I made myself work to the ground so many times because I was too afraid to ask help from my assistant, or too proud to tell my boss I was drowning.