Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Big News.

So, everyone, I finally got a "career" job. No more tacos for this little lady.

Photo 41

I am officially an Independent Housing Coordinator at the Park Center, a Nashville non-profit that offers services and support for individuals with mental illness. I am thrilled to have this position, and even more thrilled to begin working with my members (we call them "members" instead of "clients"... it's all very community focused). One of Park Center's initiatives is to eradicate the stigma that surrounds mental illness. The organization offers rehabilitative therapy, group sessions, employment opportunities, practical life-skill training, transportation, housing, case management, etc. I am a part of a team of wonderful individuals working to ensure that the members of Park Center are living healthy, happy, successful lives. As a housing coordinator, I am assigned a caseload of members who reside in our many independent housing units, and I meet with those members several times a month to assist them in any way I can. I am really looking forward to developing relationships and being challenged in the work that lies ahead.

Though this job opportunity is different than what I had been craving, I think it is going to serve as an important few years of my life. I'm finally in an environment in which diversity exists and thrives, and where no one is trying to "look" a certain part (we can wear jeans every day if we want!). We are all in it to serve others and be a part of a healing community. Though I don't get to go out and buy my power skirt-suits to wear to work every day, or come home with a huge paycheck and arthritis from typing at a desk all day, I am going to have the joy of surrounding myself with people from whom I can learn a great deal about kindness, care, success, and life in general.

I have been working at Taco every day since I got the job at Park Center. I literally haven't even celebrated yet, or had time to breath because now I'm working TWO full-time jobs. But soon I will be parting ways with the restaurant industry, which will definitely be something worth celebrating.

This summer has really sucked, y'all. I didn't realize just how depressed and lonely it had made me until I started getting excited about this new job. This is definitely not how I wanted my first three months of marriage to be, but it has been a good test of strength and emotional endurance for me. Until last week, I had been working under a man who pushed me around & made work miserable. Last week he parted ways with the company, for obvious reasons. Since this news came out, I have been reflecting on my time at the restaurant under his leadership. I have concluded that working at that restaurant was a good experience in many ways, for which I am thankful to have worked there. It was also, however, very damaging in other ways. I have not been able to adequately take care of myself emotionally, and as a result have felt distant and lonely, despite living with my husband and next door to my best friend. I lost all energy to socialize--one of the indicators of depression--and began to convince myself that I just don't like going out. I don't know if it was because I worked 55-hour weeks or because the work was so emotionally draining, or because I felt like no one could understand or sympathize with my feelings of frustrations, but I was miserable. I have so many wonderful blessings in my life, and I certainly have no right to complain. On the contrary, reflecting on this summer has given me even more excitement and gratitude in being given the opportunity to work at Park Center.

And, a big congratulations is owed to my best friend Stephanie who was just offered a full-time position at Community Health Charities as a Campaign Coordinator!! We're finally both career women! =)

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