I was talking to a colleague about career decisions. We have worked in the same place for over five years together, and we have seen a lot of people come and go over the years. We’ve seen a lot of changes. We’ve been a part of a lot of rebranding, rebuilding, and remodeling. And while we’ve always embraced the change with open arms, we both had to agree that, for personal reasons, we needed to move on, spread our wings, and see what else was out there.
I told her that I had reached the point where I knew that I was done. I had closed the book and I had no intention of reopening it. By the time I had reached that point, there was only one thing left to do.
I went home and I made a list of my dream job.
I enjoy teaching and I love being in education. I’ve spent almost 11 years in this field. I knew that if I was going to last another 11, I needed to make a list of the things that I wanted.
I knew that I couldn’t predict what my colleagues would be like, or what my students would do, but I could choose what I wanted to teach, where I wanted to teach, and what incentives I wanted out of a job.
So, I sat and made a list of all of the things that I wanted (and had control over) at my dream school. The list went something like this:
- Close to home
- Year-Round (Yay to 3 week breaks!!!!)
- Middle School (Yep, I love middle school)
- Special Education (Yep, I love Special Education)
- High-Performing School (report card grade of an A or B only)
- Clean and safe environment
- High teacher-retention rate
Not two weeks later, I got a call for a screening interview at a school that checked off all of my boxes. I went in and was blown away. It felt right. It felt like I was coming home. I’ve never felt that way about a job before. The interview didn’t feel like an interview at all. There I was sitting at a table surrounded by five strangers and they felt like family. We talked and laughed and it was just natural. It was surreal. I have never wanted a job as much as I wanted one in that moment.
And I got it.
I was so excited. I still am excited. Every time I read that transfer letter I melt inside.
But, when I think back to everything that went into place prior to getting the job offer, I realize that I did a lot of things to set myself up for success.
First, I had made a decision to jump. I wasn’t afraid to move on, not knowing if I would have a job after Summer ’16 or not. Why? Because, I had jumped before. There had been numerous opportunities in my life where I had decided to take a chance, and it always worked out. Those moments remind me that having faith is dependent on previous experiences. If you’ve always been too afraid to jump, then you don’t have any experiences to look back on where everything ended up working out in the end. And, because of that, you may be too afraid to try at all.
Secondly, I determined in my mind exactly what I wanted. I wrote it down and I only applied to the schools that met my strict specifications. I was determined to get the teaching job I wanted, as opposed to settling for something else. What’s funny is that before I got the call, I got an email from another school, one that I didn’t apply for, asking if I wanted to interview there. I politely declined. It didn’t meet my standards. It wasn’t on my list. I was firm about what I wanted and I wasn’t taking anything less.
I feel that these two steps are what made the difference. I had already made up my mind that staying wasn’t an option. I knew that I needed the money, the benefits, and the job security. I also knew that I wasn’t single and living at home anymore. I had a family and a child and my decision would affect them. But, I also knew that living my life this way wasn’t healthy. I didn’t want to continue working at a job that sucked the life out of me. I didn’t want to feel like I was in a war zone all the time.
I wanted better. I deserved better. And I got better.
Because I jumped.
And I jumped because I knew I would be caught. I always have been. I wasn’t worried.
So, if you really want something, go for it. Don’t look back. Jump and have faith!