Now That I Have My Foot In The Door

As I sit here at my laptop, I can’t help but think about how much I love my current job as a Consumer Aide at local mental health agency. The last year working in my current position has made me realize that I made the right choice in my career change from bagging groceries at grocery store to  being a Consumer Aide at a mental health agency. I have come to the conclusion that I am meant to work in the mental health field.

Knowing that I am meant to be working in the mental health field has me thinking about my current position as a Consumer Aide. If you been following my blog for a while you know that I had applied and interviewed for a number of Peer Support Specialist positions and no job offers till my current position as a Consumer Aide. Part of the reason why I applied, interviewed and accepted my current position is basically I needed to have my foot in the door in regards to having paid employment in the mental health field.

Now that I have my foot in the door and been in my current position for almost thirteen (13) months, I have decided that I am going apply for peer positions. Unfortunately, that means I have to look outside the agency I work for because they don’t have any open peer positions. I am hoping that since I’ve been working in the mental health field for over a year now that I will be able get a peer position.

This coming up week, I will be touching up my résumé and working on cover letters. There is one Peer Specialist I have been looking at for a while now and hope that the agency that posted the job is still looking for a qualified applicant. I hope that it isn’t too late to apply for it.

As much as I don’t want to leave my current position as well as my clients it is best for me to apply for Peer Specialist positions. It is best for me if I want to move up in my career. I also don’t want to leave the agency I work for but unfortunately, there are no Peer Specialist positions open.

As I end this post, cross your fingers for me that everything works out. Have a wonderful Sunday evening. Peace Out!!!

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Weekly Goals

Happy Monday!!! It’s the start of another work week and as always am looking forward to it. This past week I had a number of goals to accomplish. Like always I will share with you how I did with accomplishing them, then share with you this weeks goals. This how did with last weeks goals.

1)  Read Speaker of the Dead by Orson Scott Card. Yes, I did read this week. It was a much need escape from all the difficult work with therapy and trainings I did.

2)  Work on jigsaw puzzle.  I spent time on the puzzle. It was another positive way to do self-care and escape.

3)  Color. I did a great deal of coloring. I colored for the same reasons I read and worked on the jigsaw puzzle.

4)  Writing 101: Finding Your Inspiration. Most definitely accomplished this goal. I do have to say Day Nine’s assignment was quite difficult for me. I am enjoying the course immensely.

5)  Start Blogging 201: Branding and Growth. Yup, I started Blogging 201. Like I expected, I am enjoying it. Cant wait to see what I learn this next week.

6)  Attend Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST). I really enjoyed attending the training. It was an intense and tough training to attend but well worth being able to attend.

7)  Work on a self-help workbook; The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook by Matthew McKay, PhD., Jeffery C. Wood, PSY.D., and Jeffrey Brantley, MD. This goal was extremely helpful this week. It helped me remember all this DBT skills I learned in the past and am relearning doing this workbook.

8)  See my psychiatric ARNP today. Yes, I saw my psychiatric nurse practitioner. We discussed how Autumn and Winter are difficult on me in regards to my depression and how we can make sure I don’t need an increase in my anti-depressant unless needed.

9)  See my therapist, Diana, on Friday. Yes, I did see Diana. We discussed how the ASIST training was triggering as well as some intense trauma history stuff. As difficult as it was discussing some of my trauma history with Diana, I felt a sense of relief talking about it. (SIDE NOTE: Diana is a pseudonym for my therapist. It is for the protection of her past, current and future clients as well for her privacy.)

I am really proud of myself for accomplishing my weekly goals for last week. They wear extremely difficult to do, due to not having much time or being emotionally difficult and draining to do them. Now on to this weeks goals.

1)  Read Speaker of the Dead by Orson Scott Card. This is a no brainer. Hopefully, I will be finished with the book soon.

2)  Work on jigsaw puzzle. Another no brainer goal. This particular jigsaw puzzle is 1500 pieces, so it will take some time to finish it.

3)  Color. For me coloring helps me a great deal. It allows me to connect with my inner child.

4)  Writing 101: Finding Your Inspiration. I am really enjoying this course. This course is helping find inspiration in everyday things to blog about.

5)  Blogging 201: Branding and Growth. I am grateful for what I am learning through Blogging 201. It’s hard to believe this is the last week of the two week course. I wish it was longer.

6)  Work on a self-help workbook; The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook by Matthew McKay, PhD., Jeffery C. Wood, PSY.D., and Jeffrey Brantley, MD. As you can tell this is going to be my goal for a while. This will be goal of mine till I am finished the workbook.

My goals for this next week are being kept simple since last weeks goals were emotionally draining. I need to get ready for work but before I go, I want to give a shout out to: http://greenembe.rs/2015/09/21/building-rome-week-38-for-2015/ because I am a part of his weekly blogging event. Have a wonderful work week. Peace out!!

Weekly Goals

Happy Monday!!! As another work week starts I cant help but think how happy I am with my current career path. A career that has many possibilities and opportunities to grow in. As I think about my career, I really need to focus at the task at hand, my weekly goals. As always, I will start with how I did with last weeks goals.

1)  Read Speaker of the Dead by Orson Scott Card. Of course I read this week. Not as much as I had hoped to but I did read.

2)  Work on jigsaw puzzle. Yup, I did work on my puzzle. Only spent fifteen minutes working on it but that’s okay.

3)  Color. I most definitely colored this week. I think this is the goal that worked the most this week or at least close to it.

4)  Start Writing 101 Finding Your Inspiration. I spent a great deal of time doing this goal this week and loved it. I am enjoying it a great deal and look forward to the next three weeks of this course.

5)  Work on a self-help workbook; The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook by Matthew McKay, PhD., Jeffery C. Wood, PSY.D., and Jeffrey Brantley, MD. I did finish chapter two this week.

I did pretty well on my goals this past week. My goals for next week might be a little more difficult to do and am up for the challenge to work on them. Next weeks goals:

1)  Read Speaker of the Dead by Orson Scott Card. I will need to make sure I take the time to do this goal this week because it is going to be a busy week for me and will be attend a training that most likely will be triggering for me.

2)  Work on jigsaw puzzle. Just like the reading, I will need to make time to do this goal and for the same reasons.

3)  Color. As with both the reading and jigsaw puzzle, I will most likely need to make time for this goal as well and for the same reason of it being a busy week with a training that most likely will be triggering.

4)  Writing 101: Finding Your Inspiration. Three more weeks left of this wonderful course. I look forward to what this weeks assignments are.

5)  Start Blogging 201: Branding and Growth. Blogging 201 start today and is a two week course that goes through till Friday, September 25th. I am looking forward to what I have to learn. Even though I’ve been blogging for close a year and half, I have a lot to learn about blogging.

6)  Attend Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST). This is a two day training that cost $300 to attend and am able to attend it for free because of being a Warm Line volunteer. This is the training that was mentioned in other goals that could be triggering for me. It could be triggering but am looking forward to attending it.

7)  Work on a self-help workbook; The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook by Matthew McKay, PhD., Jeffery C. Wood, PSY.D., and Jeffrey Brantley, MD. I will make time for this. It will help me keep focused on my skills this week especially attending a training that has the possibility of being triggering.

8)  See my psychiatric ARNP today. I need to see my psychiatric ARNP today before I go into work. He only works Mondays now so I have to start work late and because of that I will stay at work late. I am okay with going into work late to see the person who prescribes my psych meds. My recovery is important to my career.

9)  See my therapist, Diana, on Friday. Seeing Diana will be a necessary this week due to the training I will be attending this week. I find it kind of cool starting the work week is starting off on a recovery note as well as ending on a recovering note.

This weeks goals are going to be difficult to do because have how many there are as well as how busy I am going to be. I am looking forward to the challenge. I have confidence that I will be able to accomplish all of my goals this week. I will end this post for now because I need to ready for my appointment and work. Like I have said before I am happy to be apart of this blogging event over at: http://greenembe.rs/2015/09/14/building-rome-week-37-for-2015/  Have a good week. Peace Out!!

Trainings, Work, Volunteering & Other Related Stuff

Good morning everyone!! Yes, It is still morning in my neck of the woods. I am looking forward to this afternoon. I am going to a training about youth specific suicide prevention. The best part of this training is that it is being offered by the Crisis Clinic and I am able to attend for free because I am a Warm Line volunteer. (Side Note: The Warm Line is under the umbrella of the Crisis Clinic.) Being able to attend training for free at the Crisis Clinic is one of the many awesome benefits I have for being a Warm Line Volunteer. I love being able to attend the various trainings because it helps me learn new skills that I not only need for my volunteer jobs but my career. It also looks good on the résumé.

Speaking of careers and résumés, I am going to be working on my résumé tomorrow. I have to update it with a couple of things including my volunteer job at the young adult shelter and the training I am going to today. I am updating my résumé  because once my one year anniversary is up at work, I am going to apply to peer specialist positions. Like I have said in previous post, I applied and accepted my current position as a Consumer Aide to get my foot in the door. Yes, I will be applying within the agency I work for but there is only one position posted at this point in time and it is not a guarantee that it wont be already filled when my year is up. I am hoping it will still be up so I can apply for it. I will also be applying at other mental health agencies. No need to be picky on where I apply at this particular time in my career because I am just starting out in the whole grand scheme of things.

I am looking at the time and realize I need to cut this post short. I need to cut it short because of the training I am attending this afternoon. I have to take the bus and am planning on eating lunch near by the training before it starts. I hope to blog about the training later on today. Have a wonderful day everyone. Peace out!!!

The Day My Career Changed

Today marks one year since I found out I got my current job as a consumer aide. I was ecstatic that I got my current job. It took all my might to not stick it on Facebook till I had put in my two weeks notice at my previous employer. I thought I owed it to my previous employer to not announce it to the world before they found out I was leaving. They did help me with the job experience I needed as well as giving me some life long friends.  I realized that no matter where I work I’m still going to be part of my previous employers “family” and am beyond grateful for that.

As I look back over the last year, I have realized a great deal about myself not just personally but professionally as well. I learned on how tight nit the mental health community is and how much we really need to rely on each other. The mental health community is also quite small. That is why we need to take care of each other. There is always something to learn in my current career. I think the learning new things is one of the many reasons why I enjoy my career in the mental health field. I have always enjoyed learning and am looking forward to the learning opportunities I will be able to access. Learning opportunities I might not have been able to receive due to the lack of funds. Most importantly, I am able to be an example of what recovery looks like.

As I look forward to what my future looks like in my career, I hope that this time next year I will be a peer specialist. It is the most logical step in my career path. It is what I have been wanting the last two or so years. Now that I have experience, I think it would be a good idea to apply to be a peer specialist. If I get a peer job outside of the agency I currently work at, I will be a little sad. My current agency gave me the break I needed, career wise. I started with them as a volunteer and now I am employed with them and hope that I will be able to get a peer position within the agency. Even if I get employed elsewhere as a peer my current employer will have a soft spot in my heart. The did give me my start in the field.

Now that I told you how today was the day my career changed, I’m going to call it an evening and relax. I hope that everyone has a wonderful and relaxed weekend. Peace out everyone!!!

11 Months

Today, marks eleven months since I started my wonderful job as a Consumer Aide at a local mental health agency. I love my job. I know it is not exactly the position I desire to be in but its a foot in the door. When, I applied and interviewed for my current job, I knew that I would start looking for jobs as a Peer Specialist (or Peer Counselor) once I hit my one year anniversary. Not because that’s how long the job last because it doesn’t but because the longer you are at a job (or employer) the better it looks to hiring managers. Yes, that means in a month from now, I will be looking for Peer positions. I will be looking within the agency I am employed with as well as outside the agency.

To be honest with you, I am a little apprehensive to start looking for a peer position. I am apprehensive because I fear I will not be what people expect, desire or worse a let them down. Another reason why I am apprehensive is that I have become fond of my clients. Even though it is highly discouraged to have “favorite clients,” it naturally happens. I am also a little nervous that I will get lots of interviews but no job offers. That is what happened when I was looking for peer jobs that last time, which led me to my current position. As you can tell, I am lacking in self-confidence and that is something I am working. on.

I hope that when I do start applying for Peer Specialist positions that it doesn’t take long for me to get a job a peer. It took sending six résumés and cover letters, five interviews and one job offer over a matter of five months before I got my current job. I’m not going to let that get in the way because, I know what hiring managers a looking for now and I have “paid” experience in the field. Not only that, I have been volunteering at the Warm Line for eleven months now and at the young adult shelter for two and half months. I’m sure that all my work and volunteer experience will help me at least get an interview.

I am just thrilled that I am working in the mental health field even if its not my desired position. I love and enjoy what I do. I am grateful that I am able to be an example of recovery looks like to the clients I serve. I am a little sad that as soon as I get a position I desire I will have to say goodbye to my clients.

I best be going now. I need to get ready for the day. I am looking forward to volunteering at the Warm Line this evening. Have an awesome weekend and have some good ole fashioned fun. Peace Out!!!

Pride Parade 2015

It has been a long, exhausting yet exuberating day. I marched in the pride parade today with my employer. It was awesome and an honor to march along side with my co-workers and clients. Many of the clients were quite surprised that many staff were not getting paid for their time marching in the parade. The cool thing about marching in today parade is that I had an option on who to march with. I could have marched with the Warm Line and Crisis Clinic staff and volunteers since I’m a volunteer with the Warm Line. I also had the opportunity to march with fellow volunteers as well as “guest” of the young adult homeless shelter I recently started volunteering at. In fact a couple of “guest” of the young adult shelter were disappointed I wasn’t marching with them however they understood why I would be marching with my employer.

My fiancé, Junior, even marched the pride parade. In fact he was with his employer. Junior is a firefighter and plays the bagpipes. Yes, that means he was marching in his rainbow colored kilt playing the bagpipe with the fire department pipes and drums. Junior, is quite the talented bagpiper. Unfortunately, I was unable to see Junior march in todays parade because I, too was marching in the parade.

Marching in todays pride parade had me thinking about my junior high and high school years. I was in marching band and loved it. Marching in todays parade had me realize how much I miss being in band.

Enough with my marching band days in junior high and high school and back to Pride Parade and its festivities. Today, was a warm, humid, cloudy day. In fact while marching in the parade, the weather decided to throw a thunder and lightning storm in the mix. In fact the rain felt good. The clients loved it. In fact they broke out into song. Not just any song. They sung “Dancing in the Rain.” Yes, they even started dancing. I wish I was able to get a picture of it however due to HIPPA laws I was unable to do so. In fact even some of my co-workers decided to join in the singing and dancing in the rain. I didn’t because I was enjoying the fact that the clients were enjoying the moment. It was a blast had by all.

After the parade I decided to go and volunteer at the booth my employer had set up. I volunteered for about an hour an half. It was nice to be able to educate the community about mental illness and homeliness and the effects it has on our community. The reason I decided to volunteer at my employers booth was not only to be able to educate the community but because Junior was farther down the parade route than I was and was wanting to do something productive as he was finishing up his portion of the parade.

When Junior was done with his portion of parade he stopped by my employers booth to come and “pick me up.” We then walked around the pride festivities and enjoyed our time together. In fact we discussed our wedding and how we are thrilled that one of his sister is now able to get married to the woman of her dreams anywhere in the United States as soon as she finds her. Isn’t it the most wonderful thing that now anyone can marry the person that they love despite their gender and the gender of their partner?

As we walked around the festivities we noticed some people holding up religious signs. In fact some of those signs were just plain ole hateful. I thought Christianity was a religion of love and compassion and not of hate and ignorance. Not only did the signs say hateful thing, the people holding the signs were saying hateful things. In fact one person told a little girl of 7 or 8 years old that not only are her daddies going to hell but she is as well. A nearby uniformed police officer stepped in and spoke up for that family. I just cant comprehend why people are so hateful especially to children.

Now that Junior and myself are home, we are relaxing. It has been a good day and am grateful that I was able to be alive during a part of a positive event in American History. I hope to blog again soon. Have good rest of your weekend. Peace out!!!