Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Drink the Lemonade!
I had a big disappointment a week or so ago. I found a great job that I applied for an internal transfer for. I really thought I'd get it. From my perspective, it was a perfect fit--capitalizing on my experience and skills and giving me an opportunity to grow and rediscover my enthusiasm. Just imagining myself in the new role carried me through the tortuous weeks of standardized testing that we finish the school-year with, like the light at the end of a tunnel.

And I didn't get it. The light? It was an oncoming train.

And I cried. In fact, I still feel like crying, telling you about it here. I'm burnt out and ready for a change, and it burns my biscuits that what felt like the perfect opportunity was denied me.

But I have to go back and keep the job I was trying to leave, unless life surprises me with an amazing offer in the next few weeks. I have responsibilities, so I can't just go away and sulk. So, that means I have to figure out a way to swallow these lemons quickly, or face a year of bitterness next school year. That's easy with sugar, but sometimes you have to make the sugar yourself.

Now, I say that like it's easy, but it's totally not. That's why people who've had a lot of disappointment end up making this face:
I've know more than one teacher whose face got stuck like that, just like Mom always told us it would. I don't want to be that teacher.

So, where do I find my sugar to turn these lemons into lemonade so I can swallow it and move on?
1. Count your successes: In my classroom, I have one bulletin board that is covered in student memorabilia. Photographs, cards, art, certificates. Just little things to remind me that in 20 years in the classroom, I've been on the receiving end of a lot of love. That it's not all vitriol.

On an especially bad day, I even make a list. It can be hard to let go of the really awful thing that happened, especially if it happened at the end of the work day and you're going home with that sour taste in your mouth (lemons without sugar).

But if I sit down and think about it, I can always find something that went well. Maybe I was able to make a sad child smile with some of my silliness. Maybe a student who doesn't usually engage participated today. Maybe one of my colleagues said "thank you" for something I do all the time, reminding me that I make a difference.

2. Know what heals you:  It may sound like a scene from Sound of Music, but think about your favorite things. Even better, do them. Distraction can be healing. You'll eventually have to face the consequences of whatever happened, but, for a little while, it's okay not to think about it. Channel your inner Scarlet O'Hara and think about that tomorrow.
So, tomorrow you'll figure this out. But today, you can run away a little. 

Shoot some things in a videogame, take an extra long walk with your dog, eat something unhealthy and delicious, read a great book, watch a favorite comedy, call your sister and listen to her talk for an hour, build a pillow fort and hide in there, go to a club and shake your money-maker. Whatever works for you. 

The key to this is only letting yourself run away for a short time. We're not looking for new recruits for the Lost Boys here. Eventually, you have to come back home.

3. Pick a new goal: There are other things you want. Pick one of those and take a step towards it. Send out another application. Call that someone you've been trying to get brave enough to call. Pick something to redecorate or reorganize. Audition for a play. Create something if you're a maker kind of person. Learn something new. Haven't you always wanted to know how to play an ocarina?
For me, I'm working on hard on that writing career this summer--I've got a novel to finish and two novellas to write by the end of August. I won't have time to sit around thinking about what might have been in the real world. I'll be too busy working on my new goal by running away to play with my imaginary friends. So there!


  1. I so sorry the job didn't come through. I wish I could magic you a more fulfilling job for next school year.

    I hope you can redirect your disappointed energy into pushing forward with your writing.

  2. Sorry about the job, but that does usually mean something better will come along later down the road. =)

  3. Thanks, Elizabeth and Patricia. I've already got my eye on another day job and am putting full energy into forwarding my writing career so I can give up having a day job!

  4. I am sorry that you didn't get the job but I think your list is a wonderful one and one that we all need from time to time. I wish you something even better!

    @Kathleen01930 Blog

    1. Thanks, Kathleen! I do try not to let the b*stards get me down.

  5. It is tough, for sure. My first job out of college was horr-i-ble!!! At one point I was even being bullied by the other two employees (when the boss wasn't around). I looked for a job for a full year, but I basically graduated college and landed a job two months while it was impressive that I had a job in that career, I was up against people with at least a year of experience. I lost so many "almost" jobs but I ended up getting a job with the state as director of PR for the Tennessee Arts Commission and I stayed in that job for eight years. I loved it! Looking at the jobs I lost, they wouldn't have been as good for my career overall as the state job did.

    1. I'm hoping I'll feel that way when this all settles down, too.

  6. Ah, sorry to hear, Samantha. That's really disappointing.

    In times like this, I tell myself it was meant to be and something even better is around the corner, but it's really tough...I know.


    1. That's what I tell myself, too. And sometimes I even believe it.