Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Life Lessons

I work at a summer camp for children ages 3-10 and I am a counselor there. Counselors are normally the bottom end of the workplace feeding pool there, not counting the Operations Assistant who do all of the dirty work (most times my superviors don't even HIRE Operations Assistants so the Counselors end up doing their job, anyways). The job can be very difficult but also rewarding and fun.

I had been expecting a call regarding my work schedule in the summer for the past month or so. Finally, on Monday I got the call. I have been working there for the past four years and I know most of the faculty. When an unfamiliar man named Frances called me with my schedule, I had a feeling there would be a lot of new staff this summer. Changes like these can roll off my back but they also can be very stressful especially if you get a new supervisor (which happens frequently). When Frances began talking, I listened intently with a pencil in my hand to write down what new changes would have been made to my schedule. (They never give me all of my available weeks, but I put them down just so they know which I can work.) But nothing prepared me for what he would say:

Frances: We'd like to have you come to camp as our CDC. But that would mean we would like all of your available weeks during the summer.

I stood there thinking I had heard wrong.

Me: Wait--I would be the CDC? That's the Camp Director of Curriculum, isn't it?

Frances: Yes, it is.

Me: But I'm normally just a Camp Counselor.

Frances: Yes, but we are in need of a CDC this summer. So, are you available all of the weeks you signed up for?

I told them I'd have to check with my parents because I normally never get all of the weeks I sign up for and then I hung up the phone after the call was over. I told my mom that I had just gotten a promotion but I was very unsure of what this job really entailed. CDCs do all of the organizing and working with the parents. Also, because of the added responsibility, I would be more liable to be clobbered by my awful boss. (There have been legendary stories that are told at my job about her flipping out. So far, I've never had her even a little mad at me. In fact, she loves me, but that's because I'm good with the children and I always do what she tells me to without any questions or complaints, even when she's being a psycho hose beast.)

My mind went straight for the negatives. Would I really want to give up all of my free time during the summer to work five days a week for eight hours a day? Would I want to do a less hands-on job with the kids to be mainly working with the parents and teachers? Do I really want to be under the eye of criticism for my demon boss? And most of all, who would hire ME for an organizational job????

I was used to being a counselor I loved having one-on-one time with the children, playing with them, getting them excited to do the next assignment. Sure, it was tiring, but it was never boring. I knew that was the main thing I'd miss about being a counselor. I knew that job, I had made all of the stupid rookie mistakes and learned from them. Now I was going to start over with a job that entails more responsibility and beginning with the knowledge that I have a hundred more crucial mistakes to make and three more years to really get good at my job. I suddenly felt very nervous.

Then I thought, that's how life is and will always be. I'll be feeling the same way when I graduate high school and college. I mean, I've got the being a kid part down pretty well. I can behave myself and finish my homework and still have time to focus on the important things in life like church or video games.

I'll feel this way the day I move out of my parents' house. I'll feel this way before I start my first day of my career. I'll feel this way when I get married or when I have children. This feeling won't last. So, I decided to buckle down, take the job and handle the responsibility. Responsibility is definitely one of the hardest lessons I'll have to learn.


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