Leaving My Job: Leaping into the Unknown
For the last 7 years I have worked at the local high school, running the Career Center and doing transition work with high school special education seniors. When I was first hired, my only job was the help special education juniors and seniors plan what they were going to do after high school. My desk was housed in the school Career Center so I could have access to computers for students, and college and career information. That was great and I loved working closely with these students, making sure they had plans that followed their dreams but also were realistic in terms of their abilities. At the end of the two years, saving money for the school became an issue, and the person that actually ran the Career Center was given an internship and I was asked to both run the Career Center, and continue to do transition work. That's when the stress began. Exactly one month into doing both jobs, I ended up in the hospital overnight with an asthma attack. I should have known then that this was not the best work environment for me! I hung in there and did the best I could, trying to do the work of two people. After the first year, I did look for other jobs, but I was a single mom, and needed to make a certain amount of money to make ends meet. I couldn't find anything else that would allow me to have the summer off to be available for my 3 children, and give me the pay I needed, so I stayed. My children went to this same high school, so although this was hard for me to do two jobs knowing that so much more could be done, I was happy at least to be at the same school that my children were at, in case they were having a bad day, or needed lunch money, etc.
As the years went by, the job wore me down.I tried to make sure as many senior students as possible graduated with a resume. I taught students how to fill out job applications correctly, how to apply for jobs, how to have a good interview. I showed them options of further education like college, vocational; schools, Job Corps, Americorps Vista, etc.But there was always so much more I could have done. I felt like I was practicing tennis with one of those tennis ball machines that shoots you a ball every so many seconds and you hit it to practice, but then the machine goes out of whack and is shooting balls at you left and right and before long you have to put your hands in front of your face so as not to get painfully hit with a ball...or the other choice is to jump out of the way, and turn the machine off. On Friday, I finally figured out that I needed to do just that...so I jumped out of the way, and turned the machine off.
I had mixed feelings about leaving. The students that graduated this year were not really affected by my leaving, since we were all leaving together. My last child to graduate is one of these senior students. My last day of work was on graduation day. But the students who are juniors seemed genuinely sad to see me go. This brought a few pangs of guilt, added to the nostalgia I felt when cleaning out my desk, and finding pictures, cards and letters from previous students. But I reminded myself I am on to bigger and better things...but am I really?
I actually don't have a definite job to go to in the Fall. I plan on traveling with my husband who travels for work often. We have been married for 2 years, and I haven't been able to travel with him much because I can't take time off from work in the during the school year. I plan on substitute teaching in the area during the times we are not traveling. That is the only job I know of that will allow me to choose my own schedule. But that means I actually don't have a "job" to go to. And what if I start down the substitute teaching path, and don't like it? What will I do then? Maybe this online writing thing will work out for me? If I can do great things with it over the Summer, I may not substitute teach, but this remains to be seen.
I have always been a person who follows my "gut". My "gut" tells me this is the right time to go. Neither my husband or I are getting any younger, and I don't want to waste any more time. So I am off, leaping into the unknown, and hoping for the best, knowing at this time in my life, this is the best decision for me. It's scary, but I am up for the challenge to begin a new life. Wish me luck!
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