Enough Already

I’ve been in the insurance industry since 1997. I’ve worked at different companies handling different kinds of claims. I’ve been exposed to all kinds of management processes and styles. Every few years, these companies want to “reinvent the wheel” in terms of customer service. We are currently going through this right now.

A few months ago, we implemented a new management system. I don’t want to get into too many specifics (for obvious reasons), but one aspect of this is that each team has a dry erase board that sits out in the open. Like a huge one that you’d see in a football locker room. On these boards is the name of each team member, and then next to it certain metrics. We have to keep track of how many new claims we get each day, how many we close, set targets for different things like negotiations and how many claims we want to evaluate. In addition, we have to indicate how we feel about that work day, by using a colored dot – either red, yellow or green. The board also contains important news and announcements. Every day we meet at the same time for 15 minutes to discuss this board. If you need help from teammates you can ask for it, etc.

Needless to say, people are tired of this. All this info is up there in the spirit of “transparency,” but half the time people are lying. I walk by boards and see green and I know for a fact that the person is miserable. People are scared to say how they really feel, even though they are told there are no repercussions.

Right now everyone is stressed and overworked. We are getting slammed with new claims. One coworker just went out on leave starting today. We don’t know how long she’ll be out. Another is transferring within the company and has two weeks left. Their files have to go somewhere…which means they will be split between the rest of us. More work. Yay! On top of that, they’ve started this initiative that no matter what you’re doing, is the phone rings you need to stop and answer it. Right. Is this a call center or are we handling claims? When you’re in the midst of something difficult, stopping to take a call can totally jack up your concentration. But whatevs.

I’ve had enough already. I’ve spent the months since I returned from maternity leave busting my azz to go above and beyond, and I’m tired. I value work-life balance, and I wasn’t getting it.

On Tuesday, my unit leader made me so mad, I was feeling like this:

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Her shenanigans are a WHOLE OTHER BLOG POST. I told her that I am done. Ain’t no extras. During my scheduled work hours I will work my azz off, but I’m leaving on time every day, I don’t care who doesn’t get called (this all stemmed from her IM-ing me in an accusatory tone about not taking someone’s phone call when she knew we had been in a bullsh*t meeting for an HOUR and then I was in the mother’s room pumping for the next half hour). I have left on time every day since and I love it.

I take pride in my work, but you’re not going to take advantage of that and treat me like a slave.

I hope at some point, they will realize that it’s enough already. People are wearing thin. We can’t afford to have anyone else quit. But I guarantee you that almost everyone is looking for new employment.

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On Having Kids

This morning, a twitter friend was talking about how she decided at a young age that she did not want to have kids. But no matter how she insisted, she couldn’t find any doctors who would give her a tubal. She now has one child, and went on to say that people think she’s being funny when she says she doesn’t recommend kids to friends.

That started me thinking about how much my life has shifted in the last 2 years. For the first 15 years of my adult life I was child-less and husband-less. I’m counting from 22, when I got out of college. I spent that time doing pretty much whatever I wanted to do, without having to answer to someone or make elaborate plans. If you have kids early, then you don’t have all that time to get into that independent routine.

HH has been a father since he was 17. 17. So, his whole adult life there has been a child to raise. I honestly cannot imagine my 17 year old self having a child, not even my 22 year old self.

So, while I love our little Toots to the moon and beyond, when I found out I was pregnant, I kind of saw that as the end of “my” life for a few years. I spent so much time coming and going and doing whatever, and I knew that was coming to a swift end.

The simplest things need “a plan” now. You cannot be spontaneous with a child. You just can’t. Babysitters must be arranged. Schedules must be coordinated. I don’t know about every other mother, but for me with a child under 1, sleep is at a premium. Lemme say that again: sleep is at a premium. There have honestly been times where I had to decide to sleep or eat, and I have chosen sleep. And that over the top sex drive that’s supposed to kick in for us women when we get around 40? Non-existent for me. (I’m sure much to HH’s chagrin, LOL). I just want to sleep.

I mean, if I want to stop and do something after work I’ve got to go home first, because I’m carting around breast milk that I pumped during the day at work. Forget that mac & cheese commercial talking about liquid gold. Breast milk is liquid gold, and it absolutely cannot be wasted!

They say when you become a parent, you become less selfish. Maybe most folks do. But I still want my “me” time and often feel guilty about taking it, which is crazy. I’ve got to take care of myself to be there for HH and the kids. And yet, the thought of coordinating breast feeding, pumping and schedules just to take one yoga class makes me feel like, “just forget it.”

I’m just being honest here.

And I still don’t necessarily like everyone’s babies just because I have one now. LOL! I don’t envision a future where I spend my entire weekend wrapped up in my child’s sports activities. But who knows – that could very well be my future, and I’ll deal with it. My coworker’s son plays baseball and she was saying how the parents of the kids on the team become your main friends. Uh, I don’t want to lose my old friends.

Parenting is hard. Everybody knows that. It is physically draining. Some nights I’m pissed that my kid loves my b00bs so much that she wants to breast feed at 2:45am. I’m frustrated with HH’s work schedule which leaves me solely on baby duty every afternoon and evening on the weekends. He has days off during the week, so he can go freely because she’s at daycare. I miss being able to just decide to go to ATL or to VA on short notice. Matter of fact, we had a come to Jesus convo about this, because I really don’t think he understood how things were from my point of view. Again, he’s been at this since 17. Also, neither of my stepsons was breast fed, so he didn’t have that either. I think in his mind, it should’ve just fallen into place for me.

Uh, no.

Lemme tell you, when my sisters and brother started having their kids, I was not jumping up talking about, “I can’t wait to babysit!” Nope. Matter of fact, when my sisters kids used to visit in the summer time and play with my better’s kids, it was nothing but a cacophony of aggravation, in my book. I used to chuck the deuces, go to my room and close the door. LOL!

I’ve never had that internal ticking clock. Not at any time in my 20s or early 30s. Matter of fact, I tried my hardest to date men WITHOUT kids, although as I got older that got harder to do.

At the end of the day, parenting is not for everyone. I respect the people who can say without a doubt that they DON’T want to have kids. It’s smart that they know this. And if you want them, have them. If you’re healthy, don’t let that “advanced maternal age” speech from the doctor scare you away completely.

Just know that sometimes it may not feel like candy canes and rainbows.

And you may not feel like every other parent feels about parenting – I know I don’t always feel the same as my peers.

And that’s ok. You won’t get sent to parenting hell for that.

Transparency

Transparency:
openness, accountability, straightforwardness, candor
“the new government aims for better transparency”

On Saturday, my friend Steph babysat Lailah (a whole other blog post, lol) while I attended my friend Tinesha’s seminar. It’s part of a series of seminars entitled “Spread Love.” This one was about living a life of transparency.

The seminar was co-facilitated by Tarsha (pronounced Tar-Shay) Hamilton, who is the wife of An.thony Hamil.ton. Both ladies are phenomenal. They opened up by talking about their life struggles earlier on, and how they’ve both learned to be transparent in discussing the issues. Tinesha talked about her battle with depression, and how she has to learn how to process anger and deal with emotions. Tarsha talked about having lost family members to AIDS, the stigma attached, and how they did not discuss it openly when she was younger.

As an ice breaker, we each had to fill out a “Hello, My Name Is _______” page in our booklets. You have your name, how you found out about the seminar, what you hoped to take away from the seminar, and one thing you wanted everyone there to know about you. We switched papers with our neighbor, and we had to introduce each other. Several people mentioned that they wanted to find the balance between being transparent and just revealing everything.

I took a ton of notes while Tinesha and Tarsha were speaking, but I don’t have them with me right now. I also sent out some “live tweets” on statements and ideas that resonated with me.

The portion of the seminar that had the biggest impact with me was when we all shared a secret. I had flipped ahead in our packet (I can’t help it, it’s who I am, LOL) and saw the page entitled “Shhhhh…it’s a secret.” The directions were to write down something about you that was a secret. Everyone did, and then they were placed in a box. You did not have to write your name.

I don’t know about everyone else in the room, but that exercise was scary, humbling and freeing all at the same time. First and foremost, I know that putting things in writing make them real for me. And then I have no choice but to deal with them. Secondly, whenever you reveal something about yourself, you don’t know whether or not you will be judged. However, I obliged and wrote a secret on the paper, folded it up, put it in the box, and waited.

Once everyone was done, Tinesha passed took the box around to different people in the room, and each one pulled out a slip and read it. At first, there was mostly silence, and some gasps or sounds of sympathy.

And then it happened. One of the women was brave enough to speak up and say, “that one you just read, that was MY secret.”

And then another woman. And another. And each time they stepped up in the spirit of transparency to reveal themselves, great dialogue ensued. Offers of help and support were made. They were brave. There was no scorn or judging, just nods of sympathy and SUPPORT.

What I realized was:

  • We all have a story
  • A lot of us have THE SAME story…we just don’t know it
  • Transparency can lead to getting the help/support you need
  • Our stories are often the reason behind our decision making, in all areas of life
  • I have a few awesome friends

I don’t think that the point was to share everything with everyone. Of course, you have to be discerning regarding who you share your life with. But I think a good first step is being more transparent with the ones you love.

Are you transparent in your life? Do you think you could’ve written down your secret and then claimed it during the seminar? How do you think being more transparent would help you?

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Want more information on the Spread Love Seminars? Check out the following:

Tinesha’s website/blog

Follow her on Twitter: @roc_star

Follow her on Instagram: roc_star

She’s also a great loctician/natural hair stylist: Revolution EGO Salon