Why do We Work? Simple or Complex?

Today I write about a loaded question — Why do we work?  Many would answer with the response, because I have to. But, is that really why we get up and travel to a place to do the same thing most days?  I beg to differ. I think it is more than that we have to.  Let me expound.

While in college I learned of a hierarchy that I believe can help explain why we work.  It is pictured above as a reference tool for this blog.  It is called Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

At the root of our needs is the need for food etcetera; basic needs that sustain our life and give us the ability to survive. Without a roof over our heads, and the ability to provide for our basic needs, our future would be nullified and our existence void. Most all of us work to put food on the table and a roof over our heads. Yet, I think for many there are other reasons as well. Let us look at the next level on the scale.

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The second level is safety.  Our jobs help us know our future is safe. Some stay at the same job for years and risk less. In addition, others move and venture into new realms without such fears.  Jobs help us feel that our future is safer than if we did not have a career path.  We feel safer knowing that we are making an income and are able to provide not only for our day to day lives but for other goals such as vacations.  In addition our health can be paid for in some ways. With a job often comes the security of insurance and dental plans. Safety in knowing that we are able to be secure in our lives is important.  Yes, it is the money that pays for those things. But, in addition it is the knowing that the help is there when we need it that aids in our feeling safe.

The third level is about belonging.  I have had jobs where I felt like I belonged and others where I did not. Yet, somehow I felt as if by going to either place I belonged to the united front we call workers.  Being a worker allows you to be able to say things like I am a teacher, or I am a truck driver. For me, I felt lost when my life changed and I was unable to work. I felt a loss of my sense of identity. I was no longer able to define myself by the career path I had chosen. I had to look deeper and see who I was without the job. Yet, in addition to that I missed being a part of the day to day life I had with those I worked with and for. That work family I had known for over twenty years was suddenly gone and it was if I had gone through a drastic change. Belonging is important to many of us. I feel it is another reason we work.

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At the fourth level of the hierarchy is esteem. As we work many of us attempt to do our best as to receive recognition.  To be respected by others through comments such as, “Nice job!” lifts our spirits and helps us to see that we are on the right path. At times our self esteem relies on these simple pats on the back.  Self confidence boosts our self image and helps us desire to continue to do a good job. Pay raises, trophies, prize incentives,  and promotions help as well.   I myself enjoy working and hearing compliments but more than that I like knowing that I can save for trips and adventures I enjoy.  I also like knowing I can save for retirement one day.  But, I guess that goes back to the safety issue we spoke of in the last paragraph.

The top level of the hierarchy has to do with creativity, problem solving, and more.  I must admit that I am a creative problem solver to the hilt.  I love a good challenge. I live for them.  For example, as a teacher I would look at each student like a doctor might. They had personality traits that ranged from shy to excitable, and strengths and weaknesses that made them all unique. My job was to not only teach them but to figure out how to help them advance their skill set to be able to become who they wanted to be.  I loved to read about brain research and strategies to reach the kids. I miss that.  Morality came into play as well. I had varying moral standards than others.  That is okay, until when the morals of where you work are so varied that you don’t feel comfortable anymore.  But I digress. Do you work in a place where your creative side is exposed? Do you like that? Perhaps you work where you do as to allow that creative side to come out. Perhaps that being able to create helps you get compliments and awards. I used to get grants for my creative ideas. Have you?

As a teacher my job was to prepare youth for the workforce. Yet, the focus seemed to be so much on content they might need to be successful but not on the whys we adults work.  Looking at the hierarchy might just help us lead our young people into understanding the complex needs of our lives.  Our jobs should help satisfy those needs if we are to be successful in keeping them.  So, why do you work? I hope it is for more than just money.  🙂

 

P.S. I need to sign off as my parrot is trying to help me type.  LOL – She is a real helper!  She keeps on highlighting things etc.  I better go before she deletes it all.  HUGZ2all

 

 

 

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Update – TBI survivor – Moving On

I wanted to let all of you know that I am working again.  I will never again teach as the need to handle multiple things happening at the same time is not possible.  Also, handling multiple conversations is impossible for me. I could no longer handle groups working, helping a kid with work, and answering a call from a parent simultaneously.   I find myself going to a quiet area more and more. I cannot handle noise and sudden sounds like I used to.

So what am I doing? I am a cook at a local home for those in need.  I have explained to the residents there that I am unable to remember all of their names and what they like in their coffee, tea etc.  They are quite understanding and remind me of how many sugars etc. as I take the coffee cart around.  I am doing well with remembering the recipes and cook at breakfast most days I work.  Knowing how to cook and wash dishes was in my memory bank from years and years of having done so therefore I am able to do most tasks as required.

As far as my fatigue I monitor myself and rest as needed.  There are still days where I sleep 10-12 hours to be rested.  I am working on losing the weight I had gained when sedentary ways filled my days following the accident. I am over feeling sorry for myself and need to be as healthy as I can.

In retrospect I look back and see that I tried everything I could to get back to my old profession, but it was impossible to do so.  It took a while for me to accept that.  The disability hearings and paperwork were impossible at this time in history. There are no tests to prove one cannot handle multiple tasks.  I only took tests done one on one or alone.  Distractions were not in the room and so I passed them. They need to come up with a more diverse set of tests to as not discriminate against those of us with a TBI.  I pray that happens in the future but as for me it is too late to get the funds I thought were there for me.  Do not rely on the system. It failed me.

I have learned that life can throw you a curve ball.  Curve balls happen. Some hit you in the face and leave you forever changed.  The old me is gone. She is not coming back.

I used to feel sorry for myself because of that fact. Now, I see that God allowed me to be able to do other things with the set of skills I maintained.  I am now meeting new people who understand me. I am not the only one out there who has lost the old me.  Lives change due to many factors; wars, blindness, diabetes, accidents, fires, mental illnesses, and more.  I see that in the eyes of the people I work to serve daily.  Some of them are still caught in the quagmire of feeling sorry for themselves. A few are asking for help even though they do not really need it, perhaps due to doctors and professionals telling them that they will never be able to do something they loved again. But, for the most part the people I see each day as I take around the coffee cart are like me. They speak of the days when they used to be in a profession they can no longer work in. They speak of lost friendships and how their lives were and how they are now. I glean from them tidbits of growth each day.  I see those who go out and celebrate life in their new form.  I watch as they laugh and play cards and savor life.  It is no longer about the nine to five job or the keeping up with the family next door as it is for some. It is about surviving something from their past and moving on. It is about discovering who we all are now and living joyously as each day is a gift.

If you are a TBI survivor or someone who cares for a survivor know that I admire you.  I look back on the last few years and see that I wasted a lot of time fighting to hold on to who I was and did not explore who I could be.  As a new school year approaches I fight off the temptations to look for an online teaching job as the desire to go back to who I was is there still. But then I brush it off and put on my scrubs and go to work. Bringing joy to those who I cook for is my new goal in life. To bring them a bit of joy makes me happy.  I understand them more than they may know and it seems that most of them understand me.

Friends, stay the course and be thankful for each day.  God bless each and every one of  you.  HUGZ 2 all   Pam

 

College History Lessons – truth?

via Daily Prompt: Retrospective

 

I must admit that I was never much of a history buff. I hated the lessons centered around wars and battles. I never could understand why we seemed to study people who had done horrible things.  Yes, we learned about supposed good people like Paul Revere, Christopher Columbus, and others. But, was what we were taught truth?  I must say that I am still learning things that are not the same as in the history texts used in schools both then and now.

Let us look at Margaret Sanger for one. In college I was taught that she was a major leader in the reform of women’s rights. She led the way to birth control and the ability to choose when and if a woman would want to become a mother. I agreed with that idea and saw how in my life as a young person it did matter. I wanted to be a mom but also wanted to limit the size of my family. I learned about her and actually admired her for the ideals she revered that I had been taught.

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Imagine my surprise when I was watching a documentary last night and learned that Margaret Sanger had purported what the KKK believed in. She spoke to them in May of 1926 in New Jersey.  She along with them believed in the “purging of human weeds”.  Among these weeds were idiots, insane, and feeble-minded. Her stance was not one of killing people via gas chambers, as Hitler had, but through their death prior to birth.  She believed in a means in which those not up to snuff could be eliminated and thus their population would be reduced.  This would include those who were not white. Her “Negro Project”  worked and in many ways still does. More black pre-born children are aborted every year than whites.

When I learned of this news I felt cheated. I was told only part of the history that surrounded this woman and I had thus revered her. I had never known of her engagement with the KKK nor her reason for beginning Planned Parenthood. It made me reflect back on the lessons I had taught as a teacher and if in fact I had taught partial truths to my students.  I wonder why we are spoon fed partial truths. Is it a control method to keep us accepting of ideas we are not supposed to completely understand? Is it so that we become idiots;  puppets to the gov’t and work to pay for their ideals?  Is it so that we think it is wonderful when people like Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi receive the Sanger award?  I don’t know, but it makes me mad that the people of America are being told half truths.  In retrospective I wonder what else I was taught in my years of paying for my college education that were untruths. I’m mad that I was cheated from learning the truth – as an American I expected far better than that. Perhaps I could go back to the University and demand that I can retake the course for free. But then, the prof would probably just regurgitate the same old lies I learned in the eighties.

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A New Commitment in 2018

As 2017 came to a close I was drawn to pray for a teacher who was up against the board of education at her school. Her having prayed for her students was the reason behind the meeting and the possibility of losing her job was amiss. As I read of the circumstances she was within I began to feel her pain. I too, had been a teacher who prayed for the children in my classroom. I knew it was not legal to do so but did it anyway knowing all of the while I was risking my career.  I was blessed in that the district I worked in did not complain when I had a small picture of Jesus near my desk nor did they call me out when I walked the hallways blessing each room prior to the commencement of each school year. I kept my praying low key. I never initiated it aloud.  I would pray in silence and often leave the lunch room to avoid the gossip and be where I could find solace. I find that now I am home more and unable to work I am drawn to prayer more and more each day. As I watch things on television and see the news etc. I hear so much negativity in all areas.  One part of what we all witness is the violence in our schools.  I never dreamt when I became a teacher that we would have secured entranceways and hear of shootings in the buildings. But even more so than that I never dreamt I would have to experience the negativity of life in the buildings.  I did, teachers are human and it happens, Yet, in addition I was so blessed to work with teachers who were people of faith. In fact for a while we even had a morning prayer group once a week in a classroom prior to the commencement of our day. We prayed for one another. We lifted up those in need. But, more than that we were the light of God in our building. We brought his light and his love into that building and loved all children no matter their walk of life. For they, are born in his image and all perfect in his eyes.

As we enter a new year I had made a commitment to God to begin a new prayer group on Facebook to pray for our schools.  God Bless our Schools will be a venue through which we can lift up our concerns and pray for those in our schools. Why the schools? Because they encase the future of our nation. Those young people are the ones who will one day be the adults that lead our nation. I dedicate myself to posting scripture on the site and ask that you join us in our endeavor. Pray daily, or as often as you can. Light a candle or sing praises to God. The more light we cast into the world the better it will be. Today, I pledge as a part of 2018 I will pray daily for our schools. Feel free to join me. God is looking for those who will serve him.  It might just be you.

 

Ohio Teachers, Did You Know?

Having been through the process of attempting to get disability for two years now through STRS I thought I would journal some of my experiences, not as to complain, but as to allow others to glean from my experiences with that system. As one who believed the system was there in case I needed itH I must admit that I was more than stunned by the paperwork needs for proof. Not because of the difficulty of the task which appears to be quite simple,  but because of the variety of issues trying to figure out how to get the paperwork done. About two years ago I began to collect paperwork to prove my injury from an accident. At that time I did not even know I had a TBI. I went to a neuro psychologist to take his tests and also went to other doctors for documentation. Being that my primary physician would not complete the paperwork I sought out a new doctor that would. That doctor did fill out the first set of paperwork as he promised and I submitted it. The first round of paperwork was declined. I see now that I did not have enough proof. Yet, I hired an attorney and went to court.  (DO NOT pay up front – we lost $2,500 as I thought that cost was for the entire process and it was not.) We lost. That week I called in to the office to report I had gotten the denial and to ask how we should continue to find that my attorney had left the firm. I had no records of what had transpired in court as I did not pay for it to be typed up. I was more than upset. She had never mentioned to me she was leaving the firm.  Moving on I went to therapies for months at a time etc trying to get my vision returned to normal. It was during this process that I learned I have post traumatic vision syndrome and a TBI. It can be improved through therapy, I was told. The therapy made me ill and I really hated doing it. I went from there to find a neuro ophthalmologist to be told that nothing could be done and that the therapy was a waste of time and money. I needed to accept what was happening. My vision issues were permanent.  But, that doctor who was an MD would not sign the paperwork for disability. You see, I had a signed paper from an eye doctor that is world renowned for her vision therapy techniques but because she was not an MD or DO (which I thought was a doctor of optometry) , her paperwork would be acceptable as additional commentary but without the signature of an MD the paperwork would not even be looked at.  I went to so many MDs trying to get paperwork signed. But, as many of you know a TBI is not easy to prove.  Meanwhile, my attorney had told me that a  new person was taking over my file. He let me know that when I had a doctor that would sign the paperwork he would help. Basically until then I was on my own. I was told that I had the EASY part getting the doctors to sign the form. He gave me no suggestions as who to go to for the form to be signed nor any help at all. He seemed to be one that gathered my paperwork and sat on it while I did the work.  When I attempted to give the firm a bad rating I got a letter in the mail that was not nice. I got scared. Anyway, finding a doctor to sign the paper is not an easy task and will be a topic of another blog. I went to visit STRS when I was almost out of time and the person assisting me explained to me that there are teachers in Ohio that are completely blind and teach. Even if I went totally blind I could not get disability from STRS.  I called senators and congressmen trying to find help. They said it was not their jurisdiction although one did call STRS to state I had called them. ?? Not much help in my eyes.  I ended up not being able to get a doctor to fill out my form so that STRS would review my file a second time. I recently ran out of time and am now waiting on paperwork for standard retirement to process.

 

Those of you who teach in Ohio, I suggest that you not rely on the STRS disability system.  It is not what I thought it was at all.  I have had no income now for over two years. I will not have an income for a month or so even with the standard retirement. When you file for that you cannot work for a few months, even part time. Paperwork takes time. When I tried to work a few hours during the process even the local service to assist those who are disabled told me that I could not work and file as STRS is very picky and will decline an application for anything they can.  I might be able to work a part time job a few days a week but have been unable to do so. You cannot get unemployment during the process either. If you do that you are in fact stating that you can work. You will be denied if you take unemployment.  In addition most all applications are denied the first round. You will need to be seen by the STRS doctors that they assign you to. Some say that they have more clout than the doctors you choose to go to.  I am not one that knows that but can see how it can happen. My suggestion would be to look into a disability rider on your insurance. It would possibly help to pay your bills during the process. People have lost their homes etc. during this process. I also suggest that you spend less out of your pocket for classroom materials. Put that money in the bank. You might need it one day to buy food for your loved ones.  By the way, if you become disabled and do not have enough years in service you may need to wait to get payment from your file. I was told I needed a certain number of years to get retirement at my age or I would need to wait until I turn 60 to get anything. Know the rules. Pay off you house. Pay off your cars. Be ready in case. I am blessed to have a spouse that supported me.  Can you live on one income for years? Are you a single income family?

Ohio teachers, did you know all of this? I will write more when I can. Eyes are tired. I want to let others know what you face in the real world. It is not an easy thing to get. Your life can change permanently at any moment. HUGZ