A WALK IN THE MALL

How I Face the Fear of Human Resources.

{This part is about dealing with the scariest, most frightening walks that an employee can encounter; requesting extended leave from Human Resources. This was written prior to my surgery, stay tuned for the continuation of the Days of Our Human Resources.}

I am taking my daughter and her friends shopping at the mall. This will be a good walk because it has been cold and raining making it difficult to visit the parks. There isn’t much nature at the mall, but the controlled climate will make for a drier walk. We park and walk to their favorite fashionable store. I am glad to arrive because walking is painful today, but a shopping promise is a shopping promise. I cannot allow my disability to deny my daughter the simple pleasure of shopping with her friends.

I wait outside the entrance to their favorite store, near the benches. I lean on the railing. While waiting for them. I stare over the balcony of the third floor – – all the way down to Macy’s ground floor entrance. Fear runs through me. There is no reason for the fear. I am not afraid of heights, but the third floor at the mall is disorienting. The parks aren’t like that. They are predictable, comfortable, and the terrain is manageable. I say that because my damp shoes keep ‘catching’ on the polished tile floor, causing little jabs of pain in my hip. It makes me afraid that I will trip and fall.

Another bit of fear runs through me. The surgery date is moving closer and closer. But that isn’t my biggest fear. The one that scares me the most is talking to Human Resources. The last time I had a hip surgery my job was eliminated, so this isn’t an irrational fear like the bone-cracking view on the third floor.

When I am feeling nervous about work things, I like to bolster my confidence before going to talk to Human Resources about anything. For me, it helps to focus on my not having to be an Olympic athlete to be a valued employee. I only have to be a valued employee qualified to get the job the way the employer wants it done. Before I spoke with them earlier I ran a few past compliments through my mind to help make sure I could help ease the concerns that H.R. may have about my ability to make sure my position is ready for me to take leave, and that I will be ready to come back soon. Some notes on past evaluations state:

“I can give you any task and be assured it will be done correctly and to policy.”

“You have awesome phone answering skills with angry or panicked students.”

“I love your blog, I could almost see the squirrels interacting with each other in your ‘A River Runs Through It’ post.”

Give yourself a good pep talk before you go in, with at least three compliments in mind. Remind yourself that you are a valued employee. The compliments aren’t to be self-centered, it’s to help you center yourself around your position. See your place at work, know your value, and be able to communicate that value.

My new and fragile writing career just received a new five-star review on Amazon and a four star one form a hard to please the professor. As a bonus, I am a cheap employee since my benefits still carry over from my law enforcement career. I am qualified to do many things, and I strive to do a good job because of my disability instead of leaning on it to say ‘I can’t do that.’

I have found that a positive attitude will help with the leave, and it will help you get back in the groove after the surgery too. Don’t make yourself a sun god – but don’t talk yourself down either.

Here are two links to career advice on taking extended leave. If you cannot access them, a quick search should turn up some great articles from official human resource people. I am not a human resources specialists – my experience is from the ‘other’ side of the playing field.

http://www.tanveernaseer.com/helping-employees-regain-productivity-after-prolonged-absence/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/dailymuse/2013/08/13/how-to-handle-a-major-health-issue-at-work/

I lean against the railing, letting the stress of the meeting fade away as I turn my attention back to enjoying my weekend. A dad standing not far away is also looking over the edge. He moves to lean on the entrance of the store, further away from the railing. Another dad passes by with his little son. The son is plastered to the glass overlooking the third floor, dad is patting his back. The son cries, and dad picks him up carrying him off toward the food court. Another dad walks up with three teen girls. I smile. He is nowhere near the edge of the railing, but the look on his face would suggest he is dangling over it. He leans against the store entrance staring back into the store as his teens leave him to shop. His eyes are trained over to the railing.

Hum, apparently, I am not the only one with third-floor issues. That is when I thought that maybe I would include a ‘walk’ to H.R. in my journal. If I am afraid, then I know others will be as well. As an advantage – I have been through this before – twice.

My daughter and her friends come out from the shop with their packages and we head to the food court for a snack – far away from the view, or images of falling over the railing.

Disability isn’t an inability to get the job done.

Speaking of that, may I recommend you change your shower curtain a few days before the surgery (if you can do so safely.) It’s another unexpected thing you get up close and personal with during recovery.

 

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