Thursday, January 22, 2015

Blog about Co-op and RAPP

          Hi folks.  I started this blog about three or four weeks ago, and then never got back to it.  So I'm starting all over again.  (I didn't like the way what I wrote came together, and I thought it'd be easier to rewrite it than fix it.  So I deleted what I have, and I'm starting over.)  Break is now over and we're back to school.  This is only the second week, but already I'm behind, so I'm not sure how the semester will go.  At least I'm only behind in one class, so that's a bonus.  (I'm only taking two, for reasons which you'll soon see.)  Anyways, Brice wanted me to write a sort of reflections post about my experience co-oping AND working for RAPP.  So here goes.
          I had difficulty with my co-op.  Mornings are very stressful for me, and I hate them.  It makes getting up hard, especially in the winter when the bathroom floor is soooooooo cold.  Brrrrr…  Anyways, I had a lot of challenges to overcome.  My asthma and Irritable Bowel Syndrome both act up when I'm stressed.  I missed a lot of work.  I counted it all out a few days before the end, and I'd missed 10 ½ days of work.  I missed one more day and a half at in the last week so a total of twelve days in sixteen or seventeen weeks.  My breathing was terrible.  (I also missed a lot of time in the RAPP office because of this.  I worked late on other days at Siemens to make up what I missed, so I was often in the office till six or seven after starting before eight am.  Many days I came home whipped, grabbed a bite to eat, took my meds, and went to get ready for bed.)  It was very hard for me to deal with the stress of a full time job.  I was always hurrying to get something done.  So it was a hard time for me.  It doesn't help that I was doing a lot more walking then I was used to.  (Four trips to the bathroom a day at forty to fifty yards away, plus a trip to and from the cafeteria at about a hundred yards away, plus a trip to and from the car at about two hundred yards, and that adds up to a lot of potential asthma attacks.) 
          To top things off, my stress rate went through the roof right after Thanksgiving.  We had to watch a training on Sexual Harassment in the workplace, and it brought back a whole bunch of bad memories.  I had a coworker who used to tell one of our customers that I liked him and wanted to go out with him.  He must have asked me out seventy or eighty times.  The coworker was the assistant manager, and pretty much had free rein.  The manager told me to just stay out of sight when he came into the store.  That was his solution.  So I started going in the back room.  She promptly told him I was primping for him.  I had a boyfriend, and she told the man my boyfriend abused me and I needed someone to help me get away from him.  (No signs of abuse.  No bruises, no wearing long sleeves in the summer, nada.  But he believed every word.  I really was pissed at her for throwing him at me.)  Anyways, the more stressed I got, the more mistakes I made.  Finally, they fired me, and I got away from him.  I used to have nightmares about meeting him elsewhere in the city.  I stayed away from that part of town for a LONG, LONG time.  I still don't go there unless I have to, and she no longer works in that part of town and he's probably dead.  He was older than my dad, so…
          But all the stress really has taken a toll on me.  It's a little better now.  I'm still having nightmares about the guy finding me somehow, but…  It's not like it's going to happen, but it still stresses me.  I'm to the point now, with my asthma or whatever it is, that I can't walk ten feet to the bathroom without wheezing.  I was like that my last three days of work at Siemens, and I don't know how I got through. 
          And I'm still having some stress problems.  I can't go to the grocery without the help of a motorized wheelchair cart.  I can't get to my car without having to use my inhaler.  I'm having severe cabin fever from staying in so much.  I've been depressed.  I feel like there's nothing I can do for RAPP in this state, which is not true at all.  There are still things I can do.  I'm doing one of them right now.  I also have several sets of papers to transcribe for RAPP XXX, and I told Brice we need to sit down and discuss that.  (Someday we'll be free at the same time to discuss what my options are.  I hope, lol.  We've been playing phone tag for a few days now.)  But I need to get to feeling better, and my doctor needs the test from the hospital on the fourth.  So until then, I'll be working from home.
          It was interesting how different my two jobs were.  And how alike they became…  I was supposed to be a programmer for Siemens.  Unfortunately, they found out how anal retentive I am about things being exactly right.  So they set me on a new project.  I had to edit and screenshot the user manual for the software we were working on.  Out of the sixteen or seventeen weeks, I only coded for four of them, tops.  And what I was doing for RAPP was writing blogs, reading the book, and transcribing things for RAPP XXX.  So they ended up being similar.  It was hard for me to keep going in to do something that helps me not at all in my career as a programmer, but I stuck with it.  I got quite a bit of work done, but still, it took a long time and I had almost no time for programming.  I learned a new structure, and that's the only programming thing I learned.  Oh, and I got a small bit of experience using the Google Web Toolkit.  That's all the programming I learned at Siemens.  It's frustrating.  On the one hand, I knew it needed to be done and I was the best person for the job.  On the other hand, it wasn't what I was supposed to be doing.
          On the other hand, I've learned a lot about facilitation from Brice and from The Art of Effective Facilitation.  So I guess it's all good there.  Now it's getting the practice needed to really become a good facilitator.  I really wish we could reserve a room somewhere on the edges of campus for RAPPORT meetings.  I could get there more easily if we could.  I have a handicap placard, so I can park on campus.  But the places I can park are all far away from the student lounge in Steger, so I'm not in the best of shape when it comes to that.  Maybe this test will tell what's wrong with me before too much longer, and I can then start some kind of therapy to fix it.  That'd be nice. 
          I'm going to go ahead and post this now, and then I'll get around to the other one later.  Y'all have a good night, and I wish you the best of luck.  I'll try and get the other blog done soon, so you'll have something else to read besides this, even though it's long!!!

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