For awhile now, I’ve felt stuck. Very, very stuck. I’ve written on various occasions about my need to discover my intended path, or my desire to realize my true purpose. It’s incredibly frustrating to feel like you are supposed to being doing something, but have no idea what that something is. It’s also an incredible waste of time.
Almost three years ago I took a part-time job, effectively ending my run as a stay at home parent. Initially, it was a great opportunity for me to change things up, while also contributing financially to our household. This job also allowed me to remember that I was more than a wife and parent. I was a valuable, professional contributor, who could learn new things and grow. As a stay at home parent, it’s easy to forget these things. Easy to forget all your accomplishments in the years before you had children. The new job was challenging, and I enjoyed it.
Fast forward two years, and the job wasn’t as challenging. The growth had become stagnant. Not because it wasn’t a good job, but because I had outgrown it. It was time to move on to something else, but the problem was that I didn’t know what to move onto. I was still stuck in that never-ending revolving door of not knowing what I wanted to do. Not knowing what career was best for me. I spent twenty years working in social service, and I knew when I left that field that I was ready for a change. Working in music publishing was great, until I had outgrown the position. And to be honest, I never really found a passion for the industry. I enjoyed it, and liked what we did, but I couldn’t visualize myself growing into the business in other areas. At least not with the company that employed me. Perhaps with one of the many studios, but that would require me to give up so much time with my family, and I wasn’t willing to do that either. So, like many of us, I stayed stuck, doing the same old thing, keeping the same job, thinking I would eventually figure it out.
This past August, I got a text from another PTA mom, who informed me that a part time position in the front office of our elementary school was open, and she thought I should apply for it. I immediately knew I wanted this job. Lightening bolt! I also rationalized that this new job could help me balance out the stagnancy of my other position. A rejuvenation, of sorts. (And also, I need the extra money. My kids are expensive, and the older they get, the more expensive they become.) I have long since abandoned the thought of needing a specific type of job or title. People who know me often say they’re surprised I’m not running my own company, or involved in some big corporation. I will admit that sometimes I do feel guilty, knowing I can do more, and choosing to do less. Is it laziness on my part? A cop-out? I don’t think so. I just want to be inspired. I want to enjoy my work. And I want to be available to my kids, while they are still young enough to actually need me.
And I love it! I love the energy, I love the people and I love the environment. I love the kids that come to my desk and ask for copies. I love the kids that come in with boo-boos and need a hug. I love the teachers who are friendly, hilarious and build each other up every day so they can all be successful. I love my office co-workers and the health clerk who dances when there are no kids around. I love the team of PTA moms (myself included) who are in and out, volunteering and making so many good things happen for our kids. And I love our principal, my new boss, who is positive and supportive and the best cheerleader in the room.
In my other position I worked from home, only really interacting with my boss, when she needed me for something, or if we went to lunch. The majority of my work was completely independent, no interactions required. This was convenient and flexible, and also what I thought I wanted for a long time. It served its purpose for almost three years, and I am grateful for those opportunities. However, I’ve also learned that it was sucking my soul dry. The isolation of working from home, rarely interacting with others. I need people! I am a people person. I thrive in environments where communication and interaction is key. I like to work the room. I need to engage. I didn’t understand this about myself until I was in a position where it wasn’t available to me, even though it was what I thought I wanted. This part time job working in the school office has energized me in a way I haven’t been in years!
I let my position go with the music publishing company last week. It was a hard decision, but the right one. It’s wasn’t enough to have a sliver of something better. I always see those memes on social media that talk about letting go of the things in life that don’t serve you, because they take up energy better applied elsewhere. I understand the full meaning of that now. It’s not enough to have two jobs, one you enjoy to balance out the one you don’t. It’s better to focus on the one you love, then other good things will follow as a result of the positive energy you put toward it. I believe that fully. I am grateful for the realizations, and the lessons.
One day, I will rule the world. But for now I will check attendance, order school supplies for teachers, put band-aids and ice packs on tender skin, and support this team of educators responsible for so many young lives and minds. And I will love every minute of it.
Cheers to new beginnings!