I am a fan of a good, frustrated cry. The kind of crying where you aren’t sad, but you are just so frustrated and tired and stressed that the best solution your body can come up with is just to purge it out through a ton of tears. Frustrated crying is when you sit there, tears rolling down your face, while you are also using some choice words and a lot of hand gestures. It’s an odd thing to witness, too.
I usually don’t have too many frustrated moments of crying, for which I am very thankful. However, today, I had my first frustrated cry as a new professional. About five months into my new job, I have been working with a student and staff issue for what feels like forever. Today, my staff member came prepared with a list (I’m not kidding, an actual hand-written, bullet-point list) of everything they viewed as me dropping the ball, not doing my job, or making them feel like I wasn’t caring about their community.
I don’t think I’m the only professional staff member who has heard this. Honestly, I envy my assistant directors and other mentors I know. They are in such seasoned roles that they could probably handle this issue without breaking a sweat, and then go home and just let it roll of their shoulders. I wish I could be that person.
Instead, I was so frustrated. Frustrated because I felt like all my time and all I’ve been talking about this semester has been this student staff member and this resident. Frustrated because I hate still feeling new and I just want to skip to the part where I feel 100% settled in my role. Because I feel so bad for my struggling resident. Frustrated because my staff member is suffering and I don’t know what to do in the long-term plan. Frustrated because I want to do better. Because I want to be able to just let this go and focus on what I can do.
So, I went home and cried. I don’t think crying is weak, and I really want to de-stigmatize that right now. I love my frustrated crying moments because when they happen, I know I need to change something. Crying is a very humanizing thing. We tend to get uncomfortable around when we see it happen, or when someone tells us it happened.
I love a good frustrated cry, but I also hate feeling like I have to hide my frustrated crying.
I would love to look my staff member or student in the eye and say, “I cried for an hour last night because I was so frustrated because I want to help you so badly, but I can’t do it without your help.” Wouldn’t that be so humanizing, for my staff and student to see me not as some imposing, professional staff member, but as an actual human being with feelings and thoughts?
Of course, I know this probably isn’t ever going to happen, because I also understand work/life boundaries, staff boundaries, and professionalism. However, I am still wondering what I can do to give them a glimpse into me as a human. A human who is struggling right along with them to figure out the answers. A human who needs a bit of grace now and then. Who cares so much that it’s 11:16pm and I’m blogging because it’s helping me work through how I can help my staff member and student.
I also don’t want this to come off as a “oh, poor you” moment. I have a very supportive AD team and many awesome coworkers. This is just a personal moment where I know I can do better and change the situation, and I will. But I also want to focus on the vulnerability piece. This is me, being vulnerable, and hoping this resonates with others too.
One day, I know I may not even remember this moment. I may forget about what my staff member said to me. But, I don’t really want to forget this. I want to remember how I can do better and what I can do. So instead of feeling frustrated, I can feel ready.
> BONUS <
Podcast With Dave Kerpen on Authenticity/ Branding on Social Media