Friday, June 18, 2010

June 18, Orientation

Well, it's official. I'm going back to school. Have you any idea what fear that strikes in my heart? Mind you, I was always a great student, but it has been 36 years since I set foot in a classroom that wasn't one of my kids' classrooms. Yes, I said 36 years. I graduated from UT Austin in 1974. Ouch. It doesn't hurt so much until you see it in black and white.

A little history? Basically I have been laid off from every job I have had since we moved to Texas in 1979. No performance issues, my positions have been slowly and systematically eliminated, one by one. And I've been laid off from some very good places. Only a secretary, but a darned good one. They had to work really hard to get rid of me at GTE - when our department was eliminated in its entirety, most of us were hired by Wireless only to be set free from them, I scooted into a position in HR only to find myself on the wrong headcount and whoop there she goes. But I digress. So this last layoff (surprise) was November 5 from a small construction company that built high end retail finish-outs - Abercrombie & Fitch, Fossil, to name a few. Who are they, you ask - oh yes, stores closing like doors to the Jehovah's Witnesses. Anyway, I began collecting unemployment and found my way to the government's WIA program - no idea what it stands for but it means they will retrain you in a new field. Caveat - the new field must be on their list of pre-determined jobs needing to be filled. So no, they will not train me as a massage therapist or hairdresser or dog groomer. I have to be a truck driver or a teacher (oops - I'm already a professional educator and there are no jobs in that field - couldn't even get on as a sub there were so many!) or . . . or . . . several jobs in the medical field. Why didn't I think of that 40 years ago? So, I don't want to be a Medical Assistant - they are just the new LVNs only paid less. I want to be a pharmacy tech but there are 2 things standing in my way: (1) chemistry. I am the person who had to drop chemistry when they split our class in half and the guy I copied from was assigned to the other half; and (2) Wal-Mart or CVS? I don't think so - open 24/7/365. Uh, NO. So I am going to be a dental assistant. Those of you who know me will see the humor inherent in this decision. I am such a whiny baby at the dentist that I need nitrous oxide to get my teeth cleaned. Ok then. That's my history.

Today was orientation. Let me just say that it was humiliating at best, on so many levels. Just so you know (and can tell from my picture), I am no Goldie Hawn in the aging beautifully department. I am old AND fat with a bad hair dye job into the mix. A fellow student said that she was nervous because she had been out of school for a year. HA! Try 36. I have more skin under my chin(s) and upper arms than most of them had covering their entire bodies. I was one of 3 people in the room of 30 who were over age 12. The rest were young, brown, black, pierced, tattooed, vamped and reeking with cologne/perfume. This threw me into various fits of coughing as I struggled to breathe, seated between 2 black women with heavily pomaded hair and way too much perfume. I don't see much promise in the student body. They were seated in various defiant positions and would not speak when spoken to AND there were probably half who arrived 15 minutes or more late (2 who arrived 35 minutes late). Hello! Does anyone besides me think this is a bad sign? We were asked to go around the room and introduce ourselves to everyone. I could understand one name - Calvin. In fact, one student told me that she should be able to remember my name (Fran) because it is her middle name - well actually her middle name is DeFran. Now we get to pick up our scrubs. In the midst of the smalls and extra smalls, I am asking for 3X in as quiet a voice, under my breath, as I can. The good news is that they are WAAAAY too big. Yay! I'll get smaller ones on Monday. I am encouraged though - the staff all seem to be speaking English (not Ebonics) and are truly nice and very helpful.

To end the day . . . a shopportunity! I found new shoes (they have to be athletic shoes, predominantly white so any blood/fluids will show up) for $29 - a major plus for someone who has been out of work since November! On to notebooks and pens! My favorite part of back-to-school!