Perfectionism?

I enrolled into a trade school, into a 9-month program, that trains students to become network technicians. The programs treats students as if they’ve never used a computer, so the first class covers the basics of using a computer and the programs of Microsoft Office. So far, I have 28 grades: 22 for ordinary assignments, 2 for midterms, 3 for projects, and 1 for professionalism, which I admittedly don’t really care about because I see it as the equivalent of being awarded for showing up.

26 out of those 28 grades are 100%, which I am embarrassingly proud of, despite the class teaching basics. That’s not to say I’m not learning anything. Just that I don’t think passing basics is a big achievements. It’s basics and I’ve used Microsoft Office for much of my life since I started using a computer at age 5. There’s little reason not to pass.

So, I’m unhappy two of those grades—the midterms, to be specific—are not 100%. Instead, they are each 96%.

I know that is still a good score, but I’m unhappy because I screwed up something I really should not have. The assignments are done with a simulator and it’s very sensitive. Even if the outcome is still correct, each step must be done in order and exact, or it will be marked as “incorrect”. This is what caused the mistake on the first midterm. I accidentally did a step out of order and the simulator forced me to the next question without allowing me to finish, marking the previous as “incorrect”.

The mistake on the second midterm was a result of my own error. It was a question I was unsure of, so I had to take a 50/50 chance and I chose wrongly. I am less upset about that one since I genuinely did not know which answer was correct, but it’s still an error on what was really a simple question. And I do mean simple: I had to click only one button to be moved on, and I clicked the wrong one.

Because of the two 96% scores, my grade average is 99% instead of 100%. Again, I recognize this is still a good score, but it bothers me because it’s not as good as it should be. It should be 100%, but because of two clumsy errors, it’s not. My boyfriend thinks I am a perfectionist. I disagree, but even if he’s right, I am paying for this school and to even my surprise, I like being here, so I take the work seriously. On top of that, I’m doing this in the hopes I’ll gain the skills to be employable to a job besides retail. No, nothing is wrong with retail, and I know people who have worked in retail for over a decade and are happy. While I respect and admire them (because as far as I’m concerned, retail sucks and customer service can kiss my behind), retail is not the career I want for the rest of my life.

I don’t expect sympathy from this post. I’m completely aware I sound ridiculous and probably like a spoiled brat. Note I do not think I’m entitled to a 100% average. No. I want to work for it and that’s why I’m upset. That my work is not up to par, that I’m not doing as well as I should be, and that my clumsiness/ditziness cost me what could’ve been. Never would I think I’m entitled to or I “deserve” a passing grade. I didn’t enroll in this school with the expectation of good grades being handed to me because I got out of bed.

Speaking of getting out of bed, I overslept today and woke up an hour late, so I had to take Lyft to arrive at school on time. Compare that to when I intentionally clocked in fifteen minutes late for work to finish breakfast when I had arrived at work long before I was supposed to clock in for no other reason than I was aggravated I had to be there so early. Granted, it’s easier to be less aggravated when your schedule is consistent, which my school one is.

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Operation No Schedule

First off, since I’m posting on this day, I’ll say this: Happy Thanksgiving!

I had an interesting experience over the holiday “weekend”. I mentioned in a previous post I’d finally found a job. I’m still at that job and currently fearing my upcoming shift for Black Friday. Coming back from a lovely holiday is helping the anxiety a little, however.

When I continuously heard nothing from U, I assumed I simply wasn’t going to be working there. I’d heard from more experienced people a long wait wasn’t abnormal, but by the time they finally got back to me, after three weeks, I’d already worked about seven days at B. I wasn’t really having regrets because that meant I was able to start working sooner than later. The thought I could’ve missed out on that if I’d turned down B to wait on U makes me angry.

Eventually, I finally did hear from U. The background check finally came through and was finished, so they could let me begin working. But even that didn’t go as planned. I still had to wait on them, mainly the person I needed to speak to wasn’t there, despite me showing up exactly when I was supposed to. This happened at least twice.

In the end, I only worked two days. Unknown to me, I was scheduled to work two more days after that, but I had no way of knowing that because I wasn’t given a schedule, despite being told I would. As it turned out, the employees are supposed to call the store to be told what days and times they’re working. In other words, no one receives a schedule nor is there one posted anywhere for employees to check. How on Earth I’m supposed to know something I’m not told is outside of my level of understanding. I wasn’t informed of this until I’d missed the next two days I was scheduled to work. Interestingly, the issue that I’d been told I’d be given a given a schedule and wasn’t didn’t come up in that call about my missed days. I did bring it up, but I was countered with the rule about calling to know your schedule, which doesn’t exactly explain why I was told something that was false.

By the time they called me, however, I was already out of town and while I could’ve come back, I chose not to and, in the end, let them terminate me. I can only imagine how many people would consider me an idiot for giving up a job to vacation, but by this point, I was more than annoyed. I understand no one is perfect, things come up, and people make mistakes. I do a lot of that last one as a cashier at B. This situation, however, crossed too many lines for me and the last straw was having to cut my holiday break short because somebody didn’t find it necessary to tell me about this rule beforehand. You can make the argument I should’ve asked, but how can you explain why a new hire shouldn’t expect to be told about rules like that before being allowed to work? Expected to be common sense? Not all jobs operate the same way. At B, multiple schedules are posted for employees to check before going home for the day. This is something I was told before I started working. How am I supposed to know U operates in a very different way?

Unfortunately, I’m sure that’s going to do damage to my work history, but I’ve taken it as another life lesson. If my position at B doesn’t become a permanent one and I have to look for another job, I will remember to ask about how to obtain the schedule at any interviews I go on. I’m going to steer clear of U, though.

I won’t lie. I do miss the opportunity to have been making two paychecks. It may be minimum wage, but for someone who’d never worked until recently, it was an exciting thought. However, I’m no workaholic and I do believe sometimes, there are certain things that matter more than money and working. On that phone call, I had a choice to make: a mini-vacation I wouldn’t get a chance to have again for a long time or a job that hadn’t gone smoothly in the slightest. It’s clear which I chose. If nothing else, it’s certainly made me more appreciative for the job I do have. Plus, not every opportunity can be taken. To my surprise, I wasn’t as upset as I thought I’d be, which only helps me feel I made the right choice.

I should mention it wasn’t a decision I made with no support. Everyone I’ve spoken to about what happened told me the same thing: I’m not to blame for it. Even my family said they never heard of such a thing. I went on to enjoy my break and I now get to return to work tomorrow after having been able to relax and have a great time. To me, that’s irreplaceable and I’m glad I chose it. To an extent, it makes me understand the expression “Money can’t buy happiness.” I can’t deny money buys things that make me happy and money is what enabled me to have that great break to begin with. But it’s still not everything and some things just aren’t worth missing out on.

Handwriting: Outdated Now?

When I was attending my second high school, one of the rules was handwritten homework isn’t allowed. Anyone who turned in handwritten work failed the assignment, regardless of if they would’ve passed otherwise. I always thought that was a strange rule, especially since we did most of the classwork with paper and pencil until the school gave students iPads during my second year.

I asked this in a Facebook group of mine and got this question in response: “Would you turn in handwritten work at a job?” My answer to that question was unless I was told otherwise, I would give handwritten work.

Apparently, that’s not a good idea. Handwritten work is seen as unprofessional (despite that writing takes more work than typing…), so it isn’t acceptable in jobs. That leads me to this question: why was handwriting ever taught to children in the first place?

Yes, that’s a serious question. If school is supposed to prepare children to hold jobs as adults, why was handwriting taught when I was growing up? My elementary school years were a decade ago, so not that long. Shouldn’t I have never been taught how to write in the first place if it’s unacceptable? And why is it still being taught today? I once read an article about how many recent high school graduates have poor reading and writing skills. I don’t know about the reading, but if handwriting is no longer acceptable, it makes why they’d have poor writing skills. They don’t need them.

I have to admit it’s something that makes me sad and little less optimistic about the future. In another decade, maybe less, handwriting will be an obsolete skill, if it isn’t already. That means there will someday be a whole generation that has never learned how to write or has never heard of handwriting. I understand why if it’s a needless skill, but I can’t say it doesn’t make me question my own early education years. Since I don’t plan to have kids, this isn’t I need to be concerned about. It’s merely me trying to adjust the world becoming more and more digitized. I was prepared for typing to be alongside handwriting, not its replacement.

I can’t find it right now, but I remember seeing a political (?) cartoon where two kids were in class and had books. One kid turned to his friend and asked what it was and how to turn it on. I initially rolled my eyes and scoffed at it, but maybe the artist of that cartoon isn’t so far off the mark. Sure, books are typed instead of handwritten, but I can see a kid looking at handwriting, perhaps finding a picture of it on the internet, and asking how they type it instead of how they write it.

Handwriting becoming obsolete also makes me understand giving very small children tablets. I always found that weird because tablets, even ones specifically designed for children, are expensive and small kids are gluttons are clumsiness and accidents. But if they’re going to type their work, whether it’s on an iPad or a computer, instead of writing on paper, little kids do need tablets. At the very least, they have to learn how to type somehow and somewhere.

Personally, I can’t imagine not knowing how to write and despite it becoming an unneeded skill, it’s one I don’t want to lose. At the same time, I suppose it doesn’t matter. If it’s not needed now, it certainly won’t be needed when I’m 30, 40, 55, and so on, assuming I live to those ages. I probably wouldn’t realize I’d lost the ability to write if I ever did, so maybe it’s something I shouldn’t be thinking about at all.

Technology marches on.