April 22, 2006

Comfortable?

While I was in the middle of trying to figure out how to divide the cost of office supplies between programs, one of the persons who gives direct service to the kids asks could they use my phone to call another staff person. After they ended the call, I was asked if I was going to step across the hall to attend an event that the kids had put together. "I have too much work to do," I replied. As the person left, they said, "Aw, you could come by for five minutes. The kids would like that." Apparently, she was new on the job, and had not attended the staff meeting a few weeks ago where I openly stated that I had no interest in rubbing shoulders with the kids.

Sometime later, my boss comes in and asks if I'm going to attend the event. "I was not planning to do so," I told him. "Maybe if you went to more events like that around here, you'd be more comfortable around children," he smiled. It is not a matter of me being uncomfortable around kids. There are several kids and teens that I am fond of, but that is a very short list. I know he meant well. I also know that being parent himself, he doesn't completely understand why some people prefer to be childfree. I don't understand why people believe that all children are worthy of being liked. I don't like the kids at my job.

It's just like George Carlin said in one of his shows: some kids are smart, some aren't. I worked at an ice rink a several years ago, a place that was infested by rude youths, egged on by their parents, who had clearly passed on their entitlement attitudes to them. After one particularly hellish day, I grumbled that I didn't like any of the kids. My then boss heard me and said in astonishment, "But you have to like kids!" I looked at him like he had suddenly taken leave of his senses. The people who get so offended when they hear anyone saying anything against children--do they like all the kids who are around them? Do they like all of the adults?

5 comments:

Teri said...

"people who get so offended when they hear anyone saying anything against children--do they like all the kids who are around them? Do they like all of the adults?"

Good point BT. I still think you need to take the bull by the horns and get yourself a new job that doesn't involve kids. Why be miserable?

The last conversation I had with a woman who felt comfortable enough talking to me about the fact that she hates kids, I got uncomfortable, because I don't hate them and I fear that it's a conclusion that people with kids will jump to about all childfree women. I was not impressed when she relayed the story of how she lives in a basement apartment below a live-in landlord who has two small children. I think she needs to move.

I know, I know. Easy for me to say, eh?

NikkiJ said...

"Maybe if you went to more events like that around here, you'd be more comfortable around children," he smiled. It is not a matter of me being uncomfortable around kids.

You know that. I know that. We know that. But does your boss know that? He may have meant well, but it does seem like he needs a some education on that point. Sometimes, well meaning people are the ones that at best, irritate, and at worst offend others by their "well meaning" ways and actions which are often quite patronizing. You have nothing to apologise for. But (and I agree with Teri) you're probably doing yourself a disservice working in a place where both the kids and those who favour them so much are in your face on a daily basis.

Teri said...

Time to go punch a bag Boxing Tomboy -- er, or maybe meditate? Re: the boss, put a face on that bag. NikkiJ's comment holds water. His reply to you was condescending, indicating he thinks it should be a goal of yours to be more comfortable around kids. When's the last time you had a review? Is it in your job description? Hmmmmm.

I hope you take all this Miss Bossy Boots feedback in the spirit it is intended. I had a nightmare that you got really P-Oed and told me off with three comments last night! (A blogger's nightmare:))

Boxing Tomboy said...

Don't worry Teri, you are cool with me :) ! Unfortunately, when I took my current job, I was desperate to get out of another bad job I was in at the time. A friend of mine who also works there, told me of the opening, and when it was offered to me, I took it. I remember after I left the recreation department (of which the ice rink I was employed with was part of) that I would NEVER take another job where kids were involved. If I had known that I was signing up to be inundated again like that on my current job, I would have seriously had second thoughts.

Still waiting for my inheritance money so I can start my own business.

Teri said...

Whew!