I’ve tried for over a month to think about a quippy way of beginning this post – I was thinking of a “new job, new me” – but that’s not right. It took slipping into an emotional chasm this week to figure out that I’m still the same person to my core. My core is just tangled.
A bunch of people have reached out and asked what I’m doing now, after leaving teaching high school, and if it was the right choice. I’m trying to type this as eloquently as I can, but the reality and feelings are like the first drops of blood to bubble up after you’ve scraped yourself on concrete: simultaneously surprising and expected.
I began my new job as a junior proposal manager with a company that has been part of my family, and whose CEO and co-workers I’ve known for over a decade – through college, marriage, cancer, and every thing big between. In many ways, it felt like walking through your cousin’s house. There are familiar faces and voices, and in that way, I’m immensely blessed; but, this post isn’t over.
On the first night of my new job, I cried full-chested. I’m still not sure if it was relief from the unsustainable workload of being a teacher for almost ten years or if it was the grief of leaving my dream job. Sometimes gratefulness and grief tangle themselves within people, and I’ve found myself pulling on each knot, examining it, and trying to figure out if I want to pull it loose or if it has a purpose…if I have a purpose anymore.
I went from loving, caring, advocating, and fighting for over 100 students each year for ten years to….not. What do I do with that time and emotional real estate?
I know for this period in life, for my family and myself, that I made the best decision, but I fell into the fallacy of thinking that now that I’m not called a teacher that I’m somehow, suddenly a copper cog in the machine.
I’m not. I have a deep passion for teens and helping them navigate life. I enjoy writing the gritty things. I will stand in the muck and mire with people, facing the torrents with them to remind them that poverty, injustice, and life can’t take away what we’re not willing to give up.
I’m not sure what form my deep passions will take since my day job has always been my passion and now it’s not – but I’m willing to find out.
Today, I rolled my pink teaching chair in from the freezing garage, which sat static since I stepped out of the classroom with my name on it, into the office, pushing away a chair that’s supposed to be good for people who work at a desk. Is it stupid that I suddenly felt like I regained a part of myself? My own small paradise, to remind me I’m not lost, I just stepped on another path and have not yet built up the calluses.