big news in my life right now is that I have accepted a new job. I realize this type of thing happens to
people all the time, and for many it’s not a big deal, but I tend to find a
place and dig in and never leave. The
only reason I left my last job is because the company closed. The job before that I left to have a
baby. The job before that was because my
husband finished grad school and we moved 3,000 miles. I’ve only had 4 jobs in my adult life. I sometimes wonder if I hadn’t gone to
college if I’d still be working in the town library (my much-beloved high
this to say, this is the first time in my life I am voluntarily leaving a place
I love to go work somewhere else. It is
rocking me to my core in all sorts of ways.
of you know, I am currently the director of a school age child care program in
a town about 15 miles from my house. I've been there five years and
really like it. I had no intention of going anywhere.
back in July, I was reading email from the superintendent of schools in the
town where I live - one of those general mid-summer updates to all the parents
in the district, talking about progress on various goals. In
this email, he announces that the long-standing director of the after-school
program has retired, and that the position is being totally re-vamped into a
much larger leadership position for the district. Intrigued, I clicked
through to the details of the job posting, and immediately realized, they are
looking for ME.
applied, and then spent the next two months worrying and feeling guilty and
conflicted, while waiting to get called for an interview. (My family
might point out that “worry” is a bit of an understatement. I was a wreck.) The interview
process kept getting delayed due to more pressing school district issues.
My nerves got increasingly frayed. Finally,
two weeks ago I got the call, and then very quickly proceeded through a series
of increasingly demanding interviews, until at last, I was offered the job last
be doing very similar work – coordinating before-and-after school care within public school buildings – but on a much larger scale.
My current company is a small non-profit who holds a contract with a
school district. In my new job, I’ll be
a school district employee, and I’ll have many new responsibilities in terms of
community outreach, collaborating with other town programs, and innovating new
ideas for learning that takes place outside of traditional school hours. It’s a fantastic job, and wonderful opportunity
for personal and professional growth. The
best part of all this? It’s my home
town. The town in which I grew up and
was educated. The town I moved back to ten years ago so that we could raise Max
here. The town I love. This is a dream job, and a perfect
fit. It feels like every choice I’ve
made in my career up to this point has led me to this place. I’m incredibly
have to say goodbye to a community of people I’ve grown to love, and I’m
terrible at letting go.
I’ve got four weeks to tie up all the loose ends in my
current job, and jump through all the pre-employment hoops in my new job. I
spent all day last Friday telling my staff and my board members. Monday was a day full of strategy meetings,
planning how to conduct the search for my replacement. Yesterday was the email announcement to all
the parents of the kids in the program. The predictable pattern of
response to this news has been shock, followed by disappointment, followed by
“but I am so happy for you” followed by “but I’m so sad for us.” I dance between grief and gratitude all day
long. I remind myself how boring and
empty life would be if I didn’t feel and care so much.
will be lots to do in the next four weeks, and I expect my days will be
long. It feels great, after nearly 3
months of worry and secrecy, to be able to move forward. I’m much better when I have a plan. It’s hard to predict what role art will play
in this. The weeks of not-knowing
paralyzed me creatively. I drew inward,
and took comfort in books and movies.
It’s no surprise that I finally got my art mojo back the day I completed
the interview cycle. I still didn’t know
if I had the job, but I had given it everything I had, and I finally had room
for something else.
Meanwhile, I bought
frames for two of my favorite pieces, with the intention of hanging them in my
new office. Whether or not I have much
time for art in the next four weeks, the pieces are leaning against the wall,
ready to go, and reminding me that my creative and professional lives are both
a big part of who I am, and are not mutually exclusive.