My husband, Thor, always tells me, “Follow the boss; not the job.”

Last spring when I accepted my current position, I was following both – the job I wanted, and the boss I wanted to learn from. Unfortunately, he was moved to another school just a couple weeks after hiring me. Those are the breaks.

Now we are finishing up December, and I’ve had half a year to learn about and adjust to my new boss…and let’s just say it’s not going well. Suddenly I’ve traveled back in time to three years ago when my stress levels were through the roof. My nights are frequently sleepless, and I find myself eating cookies instead of carrots.

My friend, Amanda, took a job on a remote Alaskan island this year, and before she left I asked her what she would do if she hated it. “It’s one year; actually it’s nine months,” she said. “If I hate it, I’ll leave.” That turned into my mantra during the first few months where I grappled to make sense of relationship with my new principal. Now, it’s morphed into, “Can I even make it six more months?”

I’ve practiced my self-care regularly; consulted my doctor for sleep and stress help; found a new buddy to work out with. But the misery continues to grow exponentially.

If there’s one thing I have learned about myself, it’s that I can handle a high-stress job (hello teaching!), and in fact I would venture to say that I thrive in a fast-paced, somewhat stressful work environment. Yet there’s something about bad leadership that really, really makes me feel like a caged animal. The teachers look to me for guidance and stability, and winter break couldn’t come soon enough because I’m essentially tapped out this week.

This morning I woke up and considered wearing sweatpants to work. Who gives a crap at this point? I thought. And then I remembered a Lady Gaga quote,

“When I wake up in the morning, I feel just like any other insecure 24-year-old girl. Then I say, ‘Bitch, you’re Lady Gaga, you get up and walk the walk today.”

So I did.

It wasn’t a great day, but I still walked the walk, in my red patent leather mary janes.

Thanks Gaga. Let’s have dinner soon.

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