It was 6:47 when I suddenly woke up from a deep sleep. It was light outside. The other side of the bed was still empty, so hubs must’ve decided to stop somewhere for the night instead of driving all the way home from Illinois. Panicked, I took a quick shower, got dressed and hopped in the car. I was LATE. I texted a coworker to let her know I would be about 30 minutes late.

Thankfully, that text never went through.

When I passed the preschool that should have had a car rider line out into the street, I knew something was amiss. Siri confirmed that it was indeed 7:25 in the evening, not 7:25 in the morning.

Relieved yes, but I was definitely not liking that slightly disoriented feeling one bit. I’d woken up from a 2-1/2 hour nap actually feeling well rested, but then panic set in when I thought I’d slept through two alarms and would be late for work.

What triggered this?

Getting back in the school groove has been hard this year. I’ve felt sleep deprived over the past 3 weeks due to hot flashes, allergies and my night owl tendencies. The “let’s get through this together” nurturing atmosphere at work has been replaced by one with a very authoritarian vibe. Everything is now so structured and dire consequences are threatened if you do not conform as expected. Mandatory 10 day quarantine for close contact COVID is now deducted from your sick days if you are out. Plus, you will be targeted for punitive action because you missed more than the 7 days the new board policy considers acceptable. At the local school level, being late to anything is now documented and inexcusable (regardless of the reason). The new zero tolerance policy is because a few employees abused the previous flex-time policy. (Kind of like all of us having to wear a mask now even though we’re vaccinated!)

So, I arrive slightly before the appointed start time and leave no later than 15 minutes after the appointed end time. I attend meetings that really don’t pertain to me and close the library to do so. I make sure to adhere to my lunch/planning time each day. I struggle with not being there for my patrons like I have in the past.  I do the best I can while I’m there and I leave the job there at the end of the day.  I’m not the only one who has chosen to cope this way.  We’ve learned the hard way that team players are the last to be rewarded. We’re either heaped with more responsibilities because we’re capable, or cuts are made to our programs because they know we’ll make do and still bust our butts to deliver the same levels of service. No more. No difference in my pay check. Not worth my mental and physical health to stress about it. 

And one more thing: it’s very clear that the season in my current role is coming to a close. I’ll take advantage of the next several months to figure out what’s next and move in that direction.