This post is dedicated to and inspired by my partner, who claims that I write too many, “go take a bath and feel good about yourself” posts and do not write enough about real life and the predicaments I sometimes manage to get myself into. So, here is that blog – the entry that shows how utterly human I am…. don’t laugh too hard, okay?
Today I am going to talk about occupational hazards, or rather, highly embarrassing moments within my career. Being that I am in education, you may assume I am talking about things such as basketballs coming at my head, disgruntled parents in my office trying to punch the staff (that happened in the inner city, but never in my current position), or broken bones or bleeding skin (that we have seen). What I am going to mention today are three little incidents that only really hurt my ego in the long run.
As a leader in a private school, recruitment and retention of students is a big part of my position – we need to make sure we are meeting the needs of our students and that they are happy and we also need to make sure that we remain attractive and competitive in the local market. It is my hope that most people who come to visit the school will see how dedicated our staff is and how happy our students are and they will consider placing their children with us. Normally these visits run like clockwork and are very pleasant moments, but on occasion they do not go as I would have hoped or planned.
The first one of these bad tour moments occurred about three years ago. We were walking along our gorgeous campus, full of trees and buildings and I was explaining the efficacy of our program when – SPLAT – a bird pooped on my shirt. Let me clarify – a bird POOPED on my shirt – and it was white and green and chunky and runny and BIG and running down my shoulder onto my arm (I had on a short-sleeved shirt). The parents laughed, and I was rather disgusted. The rest of the tour I tried desperately to maintain my focus when all I really wanted to do was take a hot shower, or at least raid the stash of old PE shirts so that I did not have to wear the bird poop all day. Thankfully, the family enrolled in the school, in spite of the bird commentary re: our programs.
The second bad tour moment occurred as I was walking a family to see the pool on campus – the steps are stone and can be slippery (no, thankfully, I did NOT fall into the pool) – I did, however, trip on a slippery orange peel I did not see and go face first down multiple stairs, hitting my knee and tearing my pants. I had to give the rest of that tour with torn pants, trying not to limp, and pretend I was okay. My ego was bruised more than my knee. This family also enrolled in our school and I am now always on the lookout for renegade orange peels.
The final incident occurred just last week. I was giving another family a tour of the school, which always involves seeing the classrooms and then heading up a staircase and down the road to the pool. I was walking up the staircase when suddenly my skirt was no longer on me……. yes, I am serious….. my boot caught my skirt (which had an elastic waist) and it was now down below my bottom, at least on one half. Thankfully, I had leggings underneath, but they were thin, so I am fairly certain the family saw underwear beneath (note to self, be thankful you never liked G strings, good call!) I tried to be cool, pretend it did not happen – I pulled up the skirt while still talking…. it took a while because a lot of it had been pulled down….. and I held on to that skirt for the rest of the tour….. trying to ignore the fact that I had practically flashed this new family. Clearly I must be more careful with stretchy skirts that have elastic waists……. that family did not enroll – although I am not 100% sure the skirt incident factored into their decision, I was highly embarrassed nonetheless…… perhaps I need to stick with pants at work.
The nature of our humanness is that we will always mess up and we will always have those moments that embarrass us so much we want to crawl under a rock and hide. If this does not happen at work, our kids will help humble us at home. I suppose the key is how we choose to deal with these situations. If we are able to find humor, step back, and not take ourselves too seriously, we are likely to get through without the experience being too traumatic….
Today, 24 days ’til 40, I think I will try to avoid birds, orange peels, steps and skirts… at least for a while!