My pink sip was eggshell white, with jaunty blue-and-yellow letterhead; feigned cheerfulness that, bureaucratically, told me nothing of substance, yet spoke volumes.
Terminated. ‘Let go’ and my personal favorite, ‘released from your contract’ – like I was a Hollywood star jettisoned by a studio and not an inner city high school teacher who enjoyed his school, students, colleagues and administration and had never had any expressed negativity from any of them.
Well, except for the students. But that was just typical teenager stuff; too many expectations, too much work, not enough of not-those-things. Mostly, they were a good bunch who had given me very little trouble in or out of the classroom.
‘It wasn’t working out’ was the phrase that accompanied my walking papers at the end of our first day back following a two-week Christmas break, with an added ‘it was not a good fit’ for extra measure. I am still not sure what they meant by either of those things; my former colleagues remained mystified as well…not to mention paranoid. A week after being released, I noticed an on-line job posting for a different position at the same school I had been at. Texting a few folks asking what was up got me puzzled responses that eventually gave way to the knowledge that the other teacher was told they would not be retaining his/her services next year, hence the posting.
Nothing like spending the rest of the school year looking over your shoulder. Sometimes, being on the outside looking in can be advantageous. It is a small consolation; I liked my job – a lot and thought everything was fine with no reason to believe otherwise.
It is difficult to not be introspective and retrospective simultaneously: where did this thing go south and why did I not see this coming? I pride myself on being intuitive, insightful and proactive – that all failed me here. It is truly a puzzle, but I need to move on.
Thirty years. Thirty years since I have been abruptly told ‘hit the road’ by an employer. There have certainly been other situations that I have come and gone from, but there was always some sort of prior indication that things were not progressing positively. This was totally out of the blue. As they say in my home state of Minnesota, “That’s different.”
‘Terminated’ ‘let go’ ‘released from your contract’ are euphemisms that mean something much different from they did thirty years ago – and not in a semantic sense. Being unemployed at middle age, in the middle of winter, in the middle of a school year is not comfortable territory for a teacher – especially one as new to the field (six-point-five years now) as I am. his is the mid-life, mid-year, mid-career-change crisis I have heard about, but didn’t want to contemplate.
Being contemplative about career choices is not something I have the luxury of at this point in time.
My previous incarnation as an employment counselor and job search trainer is now equal parts irony and instructive. I know how to play the game; I have the skills, expertise and varied background that should make me an attractive candidate for someone who needs something done and done well. The specific who, what, where is still unknown. But ‘it’ is out there. Somewhere.
Once upon a time, I was a state-certified Creative Job Search trainer, and one of the most challenging but interesting segments of the class to me was chapter one; moving on what was, and start focusing on what is next. Easier said than done to be sure, but I had a plethora of anecdotes and strategies that addressed the issue and I always felt energized when I could get a class to buy into those ideas. Yes, it usually took a fair amount of follow-up in more intimate, one-on-one settings, but it was one of the more gratifying aspects to teaching the class.
Probably because it was one of the most challenging things I had to teach.
Time now to practice what I preached lo those many classroom sessions; it is time to move on, not dwell on what was, focus on what will be. There is a world of opportunity out there, I just need to corral some of it. Starting now.
So if you know someone who needs a writer, teacher, trainer, mentor, consultant, jack of most trades master of the majority of them, drop me a note. If you are in the market for someone with abundant talent, strong work ethic backed up with a broad background…a creative thinker infused with drive and patience and an uncanny, dogged ability to make it work when it really isn’t, you know where to find me.
This past Christmas I got a tee-shirt from my grandson, aged three, and the phrase across the front of it has become quite prophetic and will become my new mantra: ‘The diem aint gonna carpe itself.’
Indeed it isn’t. Call me, I can fit you in. We’ll make it work.