Have you ever stopped and dropped everything and thought "This isn't what I want to be doing anymore!" I have never had that moment until about two weeks ago. I work in the education field and when I first started this job 9.5 years ago it was to pay for braces for my two girls. Over the years I have had several jobs within the job and my current position is one I truly enjoy doing. I love seeing the faces or hearing the voices tell me they achieved their goals and that our program and all that work in it were their support system when they had no one else at times. I love telling potential students what our program can do for them, their families and their future. I love working with the people there (well, most of them!) I even have learned to appreciate certain aspects of management and take their negativity and use it to make something positive for others. No matter the kind of day I had (and some were down right horrible at times) I would end the day living up to the quote by Emerson, which I have posted on my desk.
"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense."
Starting each day on a positive note worked for a very long time; until two weeks ago. I got up as I usually do and set about my morning routine. Heading into work with my medium coffee with a hazelnut shot, 2 Splendas and 4 creams I had this fear that I would have a not so good day already. I shrugged it off and went about the day, which did indeed have a wrong turn. A very good friend quit her job that day. It was something that actually made me stop and think about where I was working. I went on as I did with the students and left my day as I usually do, leaving the issues there and thinking about what was waiting for me at home. You know...what to make for dinner, what chores needed to be done, waiting to hear from my girls about their days and seeing my wonderful husband.
The next morning I woke and for the first time in forever, I truly dreaded to go to work. Not that the rewards of helping the students got to me but because I knew the certain dynamics of the workplace changed and I didn't like it. I saw certain people in a different light and it was not flattering. Even a few of the students seem to annoy me and that is something that doesn't happen often. Speed through to now...it's a bit better but I still wonder if I have overstayed my time there. Is it time for me to move on? I have good reasons to stay, the rewards from the assistance I provide, the extra money that pays for things for daughter number one's college expenses, and the extra dinners out from time to time. Without the money, and with daughter number two heading to college in a few short months I don't know if I could easily give up the job. Other jobs are rare to find these days and giving up one isn't a smart thing to do.
I have always been told you should love the job you do or it will make for an unhappy life. I don't really believe that but it does have a certain bit of truth to it. You should like your job since you have to go to it each and every day but if you don't like it as much as you should, you can still have a happy life. You make your own happiness and of course, you make your own crap for a life too.
So - here I am. Loving what I do yet dreading going to work more often now. Things are going to be changing in the department in the next month or two and I already feel that it won't be good for me...more work with an already full plate. You see, I have developed a rep for being dependable, reliable, hard-working, and a team player. All very good qualities, except when others fail to have some or all of them and you are handed their plates. Kind of reminds me of the classic Life cereal commercial - "give it to Mikey, he'll eat anything."
I have to make up my mind - stay or leave. My husband told me to quit and we would figure it out financially until another job came along. Do we really want to go back to living paycheck to paycheck again? I mean yes there were some rough times living like that but there were good ones as well. Generic mac & cheese in the "yellow" box and a grilled hot dog made a wonderful feast back in the day. A grilled steak was for special days only and even then we didn't buy one often. Now, we have a grilled steak a few times a month (if they are on sale hahaha.) Anyway, back to the dilemma. I can see myself leaving just fine, however; I also am a bit scared to do so. It's the only job I have known for the last 9.5 years and I am set in my ways and hate to start over on things. Change is hard but essential. Change isn't something I do easily. If I had kids that needed me at home, the answer would be simple.
Life as I know it is about to change ...