Thursday, November 29, 2012

I Go For Days with Nothing to Say...

...but today is not that day.

I am currently on a term break with school.  Earning my MBA has taken much longer than I would have guessed at the beginning.  Part of it is that I have to take term breaks in order to get the money together for the next term.  But really, let's be honest.  It is really hard to go to school.  I have learned that I would probably do better with a teacher and a class instead of online.  I have learned that I really, really like to be home and I am easily distracted by my sweet family (who I just adore).  I have learned that it would be OK with me if I was a full-time mom and grandma forever.  I already knew that one, sort of--but sometimes we have to travel to the greener grass on the other side of the fence in order to REALLY KNOW (stupid, right?).

I have also learned that my dream job is not in business.  I chose an MBA (instead of another master's emphasis) because I thought it would give me a good look at many different careers:  HR, marketing, finance, etc.  I was right about that.  But I've also found that I don't LOVE any of those things.  I can do them, but I don't love them.

Working toward an MBA has opened other learning opportunities for me, particularly in my work.  When people learn that I am a student, they treat me with more respect than a "lowly secretary."  That bugs me (everyone should receive respect and acceptance), but it definitely opens doors for me.  Also, my boss (who is the kind of person who is open and willing to allow me to participate and learn) has been even more open to my input because of my familiarity with parlance, theories, etc.

 Last month we had a training meeting in our division that involved studying brain dominance theory.  That test showed me something I already knew--I am an empathetic person and I excel with people.

In a way, this makes me laugh, because frankly, people kinda make me crazy.  When they do stupid things I just want to SCREAM in frustration.  I really hate working retail, because people are so rude!  Customer service jobs BITE because I hate that people think they are ENTITLED to something.

The flip side of that is that I care and get bugged about these things because I AM a people person.  I believe--to my core--that ALL people should be treated fairly, kindly, and respectfully.  That includes the customer's treatment of the service providerAND vice versa.  No one is ENTITLED to preferential treatment just because he or she holds a certain degree or is holding the cash or has a certain title.

Also, I love children, and they love me.  I always wanted to teach school, from the time I was a child myself.  But once I reached adulthood, I did not (and I still do not) want to play the political games that are involved for school teachers.  Their livelihood is very much influenced by the national, state, and local political "scene" as well as the politics that are in any workplace.  I LOVED having my preschool because I got to teach, organize, plan, and love kids, but I didn't have to fight any politics.  If a parent didn't want their child to be with me, they could leave.  And guess what?  That was OK with me, because I truly wanted what was best for each child and for their parents (that people-person thing again).

I've have many people ask why I didn't/don't do daycare.  It's because I love kids, but I also love structure.  Also--as long as we're being honest--there are certain things about motherhood that I don't miss, diapers being at the forefront.  School with 4-year-olds is one thing.  All day with babies and toddlers is another.

One of the things I really loved about preschool was that, at the end of the day, I felt really fulfilled about what I had done that day.  I had many things to laugh about.  I had many things to learn.  And I saw the lights turn on in the eyes of many children.  Additionally, I gave them a safe harbor for several hours each week.  I couldn't fix all of their families' problems, but I could give them a safe, happy, educational, loving atmosphere while they were with me.  Many of them already had that at home.  Far too many did not.

In the past week I've had three different people confide things to me.  ALWAYS they just need someone who they trust will keep their issues private, who will listen to them, who will help them carry the burden that they can't carry alone, and who will love them in spite of their challenges and their weaknesses.  I feel these things very deeply, and there are times when I am moved to tears because of my pain for others' challenges.  These people (and their families) go on my prayer list.  But I learned while I was teaching Good Touch/Bad Touch that at some point I have to let it go.  It's OK to cry.  It's OK to give empathy and sympathy.  But in order to not be paralyzed by the sadness, I have to let it go.  I think I could do something like that professionally, and I think it would be fulfilling to help enable people to find the strength to deal with hard things.

So the careers I'm considering are as follows.  The first one would be my #1 choice, but the rest are in no particular order, simply because I DON'T KNOW!

  • Quitting employment altogether and staying home to take my high schooler to lunch, take care packages to my kids in college, plan play dates with my grandchildren, and volunteer somewhere wonderful.  Unfortunately, we need my income, so this is not the most viable option.
  • Teaching college, especially if I were somewhere like a business college (because of my career experience).  What I don't know is a) if I'm qualified; b) if I would love college students the way I love younger children; c) how colleges are influenced by politics. 
  • Getting a degree in social work or counseling, and specializing in working with children.  What I don't know is a) if anyone would want to hire a 50-something woman with no experience; b) if the financial and time trade-offs would be worth it this late in my life; c) if I would actually enjoy it once I got there. 
  • Staying right where I am, helping these people who I've come to love, and volunteering somewhere wonderful.  Here I don't feel the fulfillment that I might in another career; but if I volunteer somewhere, I can find that, I think.  Here I'm comfortable.  Here I don't have to leave my family or spend lots of money and time to go to school.  Here I don't work with children (chronologically), but it's really not that different in how they need to be treated (I just can't give hugs).  Here I get really good benefits, my job is very stable, and I am earning retirement benefits.