When you have no money, no authority to promote people, and no extra vacation time to offer, how do you motivate your employees?
Okay, when you have no money, no authority to promote people, no extra vacation time to offer, and a pesky law that prohibits adult beverages in your place of work, then how can you galvanize your staff?
If you are in the education profession, then jeans are apparently the answer. Personally, I think they are the answer to a completely different question, but I am seemingly in the minority. If you want an elementary school teacher to go the extra distance, offer a chance to wear jeans for an entire work day. Want to send him or her over the moon? Give permission to wear tennis shoes, too.
I usually decline jean wearing. In my whole almost 45 years on this earth, I’ve only found 2 pairs that fit me in all the right places. Plus, the permission to wear jeans is usually accompanied by the dreaded caveat that I wear a school t-shirt with the jeans. I look horrible in t-shirts. Even worse, 95% of the time we have to wear the shirt and jeans with dress shoes. Which, quite honestly, is icky fashion in my book.
At my last school, this wasn’t much of a problem. Jean days were rare, and only about half the staff took advantage of them.
Then I came to this school. Here, they take jeans seriously.
There are about 500 days a year we can wear jeans. On payday we can wear them with a college shirt. On Fridays with a school shirt. On Wednesdays with a special pink school shirt. If we have perfect attendance for a month, we can wear jeans on a designated day. If we are having a fundraiser, we can wear the accompanying shirt. And on test days, we wear our special black testing shirts with jeans.
It didn’t take me long to realize that my passive aggressive attitude toward jeans was going to be way more noticed at this school than the last. No one at this school refuses to wear jeans if given the opportunity.
After a month of forgetting to wear my pink shirt and jeans on Wednesdays, I finally decided that I am only good at resisting peer pressure when there is very little pressure. When it comes from 20 teachers and your administrative staff, it becomes less appealing.
I got with the program. I got really good at remembering the days I could wear jeans. I just continuously wore the wrong shirt with them. Completely by accident, of course. So, now I looked less like a somewhat rebellious fashion snob and more like a deliberate insubordinate.
A couple of weeks ago, I nearly came undone at 6:00 in the morning when I realized that it was a Wednesday and a testing day. Pink shirt or black shirt?!!!!! I chose black because, quite frankly, that was my mood. I guess the rest of the staff felt the same way.
Last Wednesday, completely dressed in my Unmandatory, but Not Exactly Optional Uniform of jeans, pink t-shirt and dress shoes, I finished getting ready with 5 minutes to spare. Then I looked in the mirror. There was a huge, and I mean absolutely ginormous, ink splot on my shirt.
Forget the minor conflict between black shirt and pink shirt, this was a new conundrum with only 5 minutes to fix.
I wore a dress.
Feeling completely out of place, I confessed my fashion crisis to one of my fellow teachers. She looked me over and said, “I would have worn the shirt anyway.”
I still don’t know if that was a critique of my wardrobe choice – or an acknowledgment of how important wearing jeans is to her.
Seriously. Would it be so bad to stick a margarita machine in the Teacher’s Lounge?
OK. Don’t panic. Do. Not. Panic.
Stop! Why are you panicking? Did I not just tell you DON’T PANIC?!!!!
Yeah. I know. It didn’t work with me either.
I don’t know what you’re not panicking about. But here is my most recent disaster.
I tried to put on my jeans yesterday, and they did not fit.
I kind of suspected that day was coming, but it was still a pretty tough blow when it happened.
So, I panicked.
But nobody knew it. I inner-panicked. That is my clever way of secretly panicking without anyone knowing. It requires great will-power. Almost as much will-power as not eating so much that one goes up a pants size.
No tantrums or tears. No boxing up my entire closet to truck on over to Goodwill.
Just a very quiet panic while I looked for some more forgiving jeans that say they are the same size, but obviously can’t be because they fit fine.
Finding the forgiving jeans helped to reduce the major panic to a slightly less heart-attack inducing one. Slightly.
I know why this happened. When I first started this blog, I posted an article about my desire to be a writer. The post was entitled, “I Might Get Fat.”
And I did.
Granted, I have not become a published awriter. And I have not quit my job. Two of the contributing factors to my then future fear of getting fat. But, don’t you think the fact that I predicted something happening and it has now happened is more than just a mere coincidence?
Maybe, it is the fault of my Irritating Bogus Diagnosis that has absolutely no medical explanation but continues to make my life miserable, changing my once fairly consistent diet into some wild roller coaster ride of experimental foods as I continue my quest for something that won’t nauseate or constipate me.
Or, maybe it’s because whenever I feel like panicking, I internalize it, and I am now bloating up with all of those undigested panics.
Perhaps, it is a sympathy weight gain to show my love for my dear bulldog, Wonderbutt, who tips the scales at 65 pounds, about 250 pounds more than he is supposed to weigh, apparently.
Who cares? When a tsunami flattens your house and you are clinging to an indestructible, eco-friendly, buoyant dog toy for dear life, do you waste your time wondering why this happened?
I must come up with a Plan.
On the bright side, I don’t have to worry about quitting my job to be a writer making me fat since I already am. Fat, I mean. Not a writer. Well, I am a writer. Just not paid for it.
I shall ponder that while I eat my Hostess Ding Dong. Hey, at least I’m not filing for bankruptcy. Because that was totally unforeseeable during these health trendy times…
The older Dimples gets, the more convinced I become that she is not our biological child. Someone switched kids on us, and I’m starting to get a better picture of the other set of parents involved in this deception. Apparently they have the following people somewhere in their family tree:
Shirley Temple – There is not one person that I know of in Cap’n Firepants’ or my families with dimples. Where the heck did those come from? The REAL Parents. Don’t give me any lectures about pea plants and recessive genes. I’ve seen Temple singing “On the Good Ship Lollipop”, and it’s Dimples with tap shoes.
Elvis or Michael Jackson – The kid has rhythm. She has been taking dance for five years, and she actually can do it on stage without falling into the audience. I guess she could have gotten this ability from the Shirley Temple side of the family, but there’s a little more pelvis action in there than Little Miss Marker ever displayed. I am telling you, and most of our friends would be happy to attest, that there is not a smidgen of rhythm in Cap’n Firepants or me. Unless we’re drunk.
Ashton Kucher – Cap’n Firepants and I were both major geeks in school. I was labelled Four Eyes (so original) and the Cap’n won’t even tell me what humiliations he suffered. Not so with Dimples. Dimples wears glasses and suddenly it becomes a fashion trend. We don’t have to make plans for the weekend because her friends schedule every minute. She charms everyone she meets, and doesn’t even know it.
She does well in school, sings like a bird, laughs at herself if she makes an embarrassing mistake and decides, on her own volition, that she would like to go to bed earlier so she can get more sleep.
Somewhere out there is a family with an eight year old who is perpetually grumpy, stumbles around in her coke bottle glasses as she hunts for the Nancy Drew book she will spend the weekend reading alone in her room, and makes Eeyore look like an optimist.
I’m sorry, Biological Producers of Dimples, that you got stuck with the miniature version of Cap’n Firepants and me. You’re probably trying to get your money back on the Designer Baby you ordered.
Good luck with that.