I haven’t written for quite sometime. Writer’s block hits. Suddenly, nothing comes out of my mind, literally frozen. Perhaps because I have just been preoccupied. I have since May been fortunate to be employed part-time running a medium-sized NPO engaged with providing extended education to school leavers from underprivileged background. The organization provides classes to select students working on improving their marks in order to give them the opportunity to pass and qualify for tertiary education.
The working environment is different from what you would expect from your normal corporate setting. There are a lot of knots to unravel, the expectation levels are different from what I have been accustomed to in terms of quality of output from subordinates. But the achievement goals are different.
I work with interns. And I have almost forgotten how ruffled their discipline are at their age. That’s where my frustration usually lies. That’s where my actual challenge begins. My goal : to help mould these young hopefuls by providing training that will enable them to adapt and effectively perform in the corporate world.
In my couple of months or so with the organization, I have come to a few realizations. I have realized that there are flaws in the general office administration, and I am there to help fix them. I have realized that as in any organization, be it corporate or otherwise, personalities come into play. But I have also realized that I can’t just fire interns! Admittedly, I was very much affected by their inability to take up a task and “own” it. The listening skills are just not there, their educational knowledge are wanting that the quality of output is not what they should be. This state of disappointment soon became the a conversation piece over dinner.
I have hauled past memories of mentoring methods I have used throughout the expanse of my career, some thirty–five years of it, hoping to ignite some inspiration in me. “Come on, you can do it”, I cheer myself up. I think my problem is, because it has been awhile since my mentoring days, and because of my altered personal state, being married with a nine-year old who of course needs real mentoring, I am drained!
I wanted to go back working for a change of pace, apart from earning my own bucks, of course. And yet, there I was finding myself having to explain tasks more than a few tasks. There I was finding myself teaching how to write sentences structured enough to make more sense. There I was playing the mother-goose kind-of-thing.
And yet, and yet, I cannot just give up. Perhaps this is my calling. My new purpose. I woke up one morning in July, got to the office with a mission – to help those kids have a chance to make it to the corporate world. Deep sigh.
There were random thoughts in the past that I have considered – be a teacher or be a volunteer. Well, I know I cannot be either in their true sense. I do not possess copious amount of patience enough to sustain me through a teaching career; nor can I distance myself from the worries of others. So then perhaps, by being a mentor and role-model I can still be both in a parallel kind of way.
When I have accepted this realization that I have a new sense of purpose, I am inspired to carry out my daily work challenges. My husband reminded me that no matter where I work there will be challenges.
So, just not yet. Tomorrow is a new day, there are things to learn. Let’s give it a try.