A couple more days until mat leave. My brain is on overdrive as I prepare as much as I can for a seamless transition for the students and for the person taking over from me, and as I wrap up as many loose ends as possible. It's probably good that it's so busy because my brain is very easily pulled in two directions these days (the other direction being the baby direction) but there is just no time for that.
But I am so excited to have space to let my brain be pulled in the baby direction. For the most part I've compartmentalized those last 4 weeks before due date as the baby 'stuff drawer'. A good place to mentally put everything until I am ready to really sort it through, but in the meantime it becomes chaotic and intriguing and intimidating and a little bit hard to keep closed...
I am attempting to keep that stuff drawer shut for just a little bit longer and be intentional about how I wrap up my time at work. These last couple weeks of whirlwind days full of meetings and to-do lists has placed it smack-dab in front of me how privileged I am to have the job that I do.
SO here is a list of some of the greatest things I have gained while being in this job:
- The opportunity to work with quite incredible people. As I've been conducting wrap-up meetings with families, touching base and planning with professors, and grabbing one last lunch with students, I have felt moved by how wonderful these people are. Not only as general human beings, but also in whatever role they are in, whether that is teacher, student, director, support, advocate. They are fantastically kind, and I have been so lucky to meet and work with them.
- Training in the skill of understanding. Seeking to understand people is difficult, especially when they come with so many experiences, cultural differences, emotions, thought patterns and genetics that are different from our own. Typically I've found it is easier to let a difficult situation/person be than to seek to understand it. In my job over the last couple years, I estimate I've had almost 1000 hours of working directly in situations and with people that weren't particularly easy to understand. Due to the fact that it was my job, NOT trying to understand to the best of my ability was not really an option. And so it challenged me to go deeper, think creatively, look further into what a person may be experiencing. When I didn't seek to understand, I was confused, irritated, and defensive. When I did seek to understand and finally began to, I became enlightened, gracious, and empathetic. While I think I've probably moved from a 2 to a 3.5/10 on the 'understanding scale', I believe this most significant skill I have been able to develop and it has been a major gift to me to be challenged to grow in this way.
- "Just because you don't currently love what you're doing doesn't mean it's not your passion" An award winning photographer said this at the recent wedding workshop we attended. This struck such a cord with me. Someone who was top of their game and winning awards in their industry didn't necessarily love their job all the time, but that didn't mean they needed to drop out and change careers...it was okay.
As I've briefly mentioned before, the first year working in this job was not easy. Actually it was really really hard. I cried a lot, hyperventilated a couple times, and would despair every Sunday night knowing I had to go back to work the next morning. I generally liked to think of my self as a 'fast learner', so the length of the learning curve was shocking to me. I took complicated situations personally and felt ill-suited for the job. I felt utterly confused as I had come into this job thinking it was my dream job, and now was in a place where I felt like I couldn't do it, maybe it was too hard for me, but I had no idea what else I would do. I was experiencing the crisis of: if I am not loving it, then how could it be my passion?? Thankfully God, Colin, my amazing boss, and a therapist got me through that first year and suddenly, it wasn't so hard anymore. The learning curve plateaued, I knew what to expect, and the unexpected became humorous rather than feeling like a crisis, I stopped taking things personally and became much more capable of going with the flow. Suddenly the 'passion' part became clear again. I saw why I was in this job, why I was good at it and why it was more fun than any other job.
I believe this taught me the invaluable lesson that is summed up in that quote. My job, marriage, kids, life, __________ isn't always easy. In fact there are times it will be really hard. That doesn't necessarily mean I'm in the wrong place. It doesn't necessarily mean I'm not passionate. It doesn't mean I don't love the people I'm with or the things I'm doing. It's just life. I find that pretty encouraging.