Scuba, Flowers, and a Reception Hall
It was mid-year of the 2000-2001 school year when three of us sat around the teacher’s lounge lunch table considering pursuing second careers – all three of us. We had only been teaching for about 5 or 6 years and we had already hit a formidable wall. Teaching wasn’t supposed to be this difficult – admin expecting more from us to the point we wanted out - and FAST! Our conversation revealed secret passions containing a common thread which we discussed at length that day at the lunch table.
One of us talked about beginning a business being a scuba diving guide for newlyweds in exotic honeymoon locations. Being a certified scuba instructor/diver was his passion and hobby (still is). He was working long hours at school away from his wife and kids doing unfulfilling work. He wasn’t going to stay in education if this was going to be the day-to-day grind.
The other colleague shared wanting to manage a reception hall. How hard was that? It wouldn’t be long hours away from home almost every night. She wouldn’t have to submit lesson plans by 8am every Monday morning. And would certainly take her out of the daily grind we called teaching. Helping people celebrate life’s special moments sounded better than teaching – heck, anything sounded better than teaching. Finally, the fascination I have for flower arrangements prompted me to share that I would love to pursue being a florist at a local flower shop. There’s just something about a nicely balanced, fragrant, embellished bouquet of flowers. Flowers bring smiles, and that’s exactly what I wanted to feel – like smiling.
Do you see the theme here? The common thread? We weren’t smiling. We weren’t content. We weren’t present. What we DID have was the makings of a reception venue where folks could order flowers and plan their honeymoon all in one place! Making people happy and doing what we loved together – because we certainly weren’t in love with what we were doing. Grand plans were created around the table that day. We were geeking out about being happy. Does this sound familiar?
Situations changed. People changed. Administrators changed. We changed. The storm had passed.
When someone says, “When one door closes – another one opens.” Believe it, but sometimes you have to wait for it. A year or two later, a science position opened up for my friend to teach at another school. He was thrilled to be closer to home and would even have his daughter in class. Another elementary position opened for the other colleague that needed a change of principal and scenery – I miss her every day. And me? I stayed put.
I love my school and my school family. I always have. Families have their ups and downs like the stock market, and folks tell you to ride it out and that’s what I did. I relied on my coworkers, students, our new principal, and my personal family to renew my confidence that I had chosen the right path. I WAS supposed to be a teacher. And I was the captain of this ship. I was finally given an opportunity to be me.
If or when your thoughts begin to stray, and you begin visualizing an alternate career, take a personal inventory. Are you confident enough to wait out the storm? Or should you change your course? Don’t wallow in self-pity. YOU are the only one to decide your path and find true happiness.
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