Assuming you’re alone

I’m in the middle of a week of intensive, virtual training for my new job, and everything seems complicated, especially the program where I input my hours so I can get paid.

The class consists of adults from across western Canada. We mainly listen in silence as the instructor reads from a Powerpoint presentation, and occasionally we can ask questions.

I’d been wrestling with the governmental pay program since training started last week. It didn’t seem to allow me to add 15 minutes to our shift to input our hours, and kept throwing up red flags saying my attempts overstepped the shift length.

The other night, as I lay on the floor comforting my sick dog, it occurred to me what might be wrong. Hold on. I better tell you about the sick dog, since I realize that may be a major distraction for dog-lovers. Gemma is a mixed breed, 13-year-old pup I’ve had for 11 years. My new dog Pete, who I’ve had for exactly one week, is two. He has short legs but is long in his body.

The other day, while I was in the bath, Pete stood on his hind legs and pulled a loaf of bread from the counter. This is homemade bread I bake from a low-carb recipe. It’s almost entirely fibre. (Almond flour, psyllium husk and ground flaxseed) I heard the crash and peeked out of the bathroom, worried they’d dumped my water bottle onto the floor. Nope. But I couldn’t see the crime scene in the kitchen. By the time I got there, Gemma was gnawing on the last of the loaf. Pete looked quite full, and proud of himself.

I’m sure you can imagine what happened next. The fibre did its work and the dogs both had massive, frequent poops. Then, about 36 hours later, at about 2 a.m., Gemma really started looking sick. Her belly seemed distended. She left the bedroom and I heard her nails scratching the laminate as spasms rolled over her. She threw up several times, with larger amounts each time. She pooped in the back yard. She drank water. I was worried the fibre was blocking her intestine, so I hung out with her for awhile. That’s when I pondered the payroll program problem.

All right. So in the morning, I attempted a fix to the inputs and — surprise — it worked. I was able to input the extra 15 minutes without a red flag. As soon as we came together that morning, the instructor said she saw the night before that my time inputs lacked the extra 15 minutes. I said I had fixed it that morning. Then someone else spoke up and said they were unable to find a solution to the same problem. Most of the class had checked in at this point, so I told them where on the page to add the 15 minutes so it would allow us to be paid. There was relief.

We tend to listen to our inside voices and think that we alone make mistakes. We fail to realize that many of us face similar issues. In my case, there is a way for me and my fellow students to connect on a chat program. In future, once we’re out in the world doing our jobs (and encountering problems) we can reach out. Of course, our jobs with clients are bound by confidentiality, but any technical issues with computers would be good reasons to connect.

One of the students yesterday laughed and said that in the first two days of training last week, which was run by a different department, she wondered about community.

“I got the sense that these people running the training were not my people. They said, ‘Don’t call on us — we’re just here for basic training.’ I wanted to know, ‘Where are my people?’”

We all laughed and others said they had the same concern.

“You’ve found your people,” the instructor said.

There’s great comfort in realizing that, despite the coldness of virtual training, we are all part of a community. We come from different cultures, different backgrounds to learn something new. We share concerns about remembering the details. We worry things will go wrong while we’re out there. All these damned computer codes seem like they’ll trip us up.

The community of “our people” is a concept that brings great comfort. We’re not alone. This experience reminds me that I’m also not alone with emotional diabetes. There are others out there who are going through the same thing — we just need to find each other. And that’s why I’m writing this blog.

Oh, and Gemma recovered. The poop storm blew over.

2 responses to “Assuming you’re alone”

  1. Glad it got sorted. Computer programs can be nasty. Happy Gemma is better too!

  2. […] other day, I meant to share the post, Assuming you’re alone, to my Facebook group Emotional Diabetes, but almost immediately got notifications back from some […]

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