Some people point to leaves changing and falling, field trips to the pumpkin patch, and shorter daylight hours as sure signs of the season. For me, I know it’s fall for sure when grown folk at my paid job begin having tantrums. One benefit of having young kids is becoming accustomed to the “fall out.” (At home in SC, another way to describe a tantrum is to say that someone is “falling out.”) It’s performance review season, and every year, there will be some folks who have difficulty managing their emotions when they learn that their supervisor thinks they are less than “Outstanding.” These folks will fall out and have to be coaxed out of their fits just like my kids. At this time of year, I’m so grateful to Mae and Jay for the training they have provided me on recognizing and managing tantrums and meltdowns (the distinction is in the intensity level). My paid job has become so much easier since having kids. Yesterday, Jay alone had three tantrums, two at school that I didn’t witness myself and his teacher told me about, and one at bathtime last night — a good ole, loud, sinus-clearing tear fest.
The workplace tantrums have started and they will continue into early next year, thanks to the supervisors who delay the evaluation process as long as they can. Some employees will refuse to sign their performance evaluations, storm out, or cry, or all three. I am not aware of any floor-rolling, though I suspect there is an equivalent. The woman who received an “Excellent” (one level below “Outstanding”) a few years ago and never returned to work comes to mind. My job is to coach the supervisor on how to prepare and present an evaluation, and then, if necessary, respond to employees’ questions about their options for contesting their evaluation. Thank you, Mae and Jay for giving me so many opportunities to learn and practice patience and problem-solving.
On the more pleasant signs of fall, Jay and Mae did have their respective pumpkin patch field trips. Jay asked to make a pumpkin pie with his souvenir. It looked like a piddlin’ thing of a pumpkin, and I wasn’t even sure if it was fit for consumption. But, I like to say yes anytime the kids show an interest in cooking, and especially baking. When I went shopping for the pie ingredients, I picked up a can of pumpkin pie filling as a backup. I had never baked pumpkin pie, and I think that Jay had never even tasted it. Perhaps he heard the idea at school. Well, we tried it. The runt pumpkin yielded more than enough filling. Both kids helped and they loved the pie. The pie was good, but it didn’t convert me — I’m a sweet potato pie girl. Actually, I’m a cake and cookie girl. Next year, I’m going to make a pitch for pumpkin cake or at least muffins.