On the way to school this morning I was carpooling with my friend & colleague, Angela. We were talking about work (as usual) and I had basically resigned to myself that because I hadn’t been called yesterday about either of the jobs I applied for last week, I hadn’t been chosen. We were speculating what the next round of positions might hold, and while I wasn’t totally depressed, I did feel a little blue about the whole thing.
Then about an hour into class this morning, a very perky guy from Human Resources called to congratulate me on getting selected for the first position I interviewed for (and my top choice). Right after, my new principal sent me a quick congratulatory email & it felt official.
I did a little tap dance on the way to the copy room and posted on Facebook. By lunch time, pretty much everyone knew (I’m not one to leave my job on the down low). I got a lot of sullen, “Congratulations,” from fellow staff members. Most people bemoaned that I was the one who always planned staff parties (true).
One teacher, whom I respect highly, stared me in the face for like an entire unblinking minute, and said, “You son of a bitch. Congratulations.” He then said, “You know there is a phrase: You lead, you follow, or you get out of the way. I respect that you aren’t just complaining and not doing anything about it.” It’s true. My current boss won’t let me support him by taking the lead on pretty much anything (despite the fact that my predecessors felt confident in me), and I certainly can’t follow his vague & disorganized leadership, so I’m moving out of his way to go somewhere that I hope I can get back into being the leader I am.
A few months back at happy hour, I was gung-ho that we could show solidarity as a staff and stick it out. I remember saying, “They are two, we are many. Let’s stick together and do what we have to power to do.” I suggested we make a tontine (one of my vocabulary words) where we all chipped in $20 and the last person left at the school would get the money. A lot of people laughed bitterly.
Maybe a month later, the solidarity thing sounded nice, but I started having recurring (and somewhat violent) nightmares about my job (particularly my boss). I thought it was just stress, but these dreams were literally waking me up in the middle of the night on my vacation in Hawaii. Then I got into an altercation with a woman at Fred Meyer (those close to me know the story), and I realized my mental health was not good. I jokingly changed the tontine to the FIRST person to get out would get the money. Around lunch time, a colleague came in with an envelope stuffed with fresh $2 bills. I am officially the first (by just a couple hours!).
While it feels quite excellent to be chosen to be a part of a new school that clearly has high standards for students and staff, it’s also bittersweet. This is the first school that gave me a shot, and though my position and relationships have evolved over the years, I know I have left my mark at that school. The next couple weeks will be undoubtedly emotional, but I’m ready to start my new chapter in the fall.
And with that, one of my favorite poems comes to mind.
As the Time Draws Nigh – Walt Whitman
A dread beyond of I know not what darkens me.
I shall go forth,
I shall traverse the States awhile, but I cannot tell whither or how long,
Perhaps soon some day or night while I am singing my voice will
O book, O chants! must all then amount to but this?
Must we barely arrive at this beginning of us? –and yet it is
enough, O soul;
O soul, we have positively appear’d–that is enough.