Today I said goodbye to the job and work-family I have had for six years. It has been an utterly overwhelming day. I have been showered with gifts and cards, kind words and well wishes, hugs and tears from colleagues old and new, students and even parents. I am at a loss to express how full my heart is.
The last six years working in education have been the hardest and most rewarding of my life. It is an incredible thing to be part of young people’s daily lives, to try and support them as they navigate the tricky business of growing up and to attempt to impart the skills and knowledge that you hope might serve them well in the future. I have worked with children and young people in one capacity or another for the last twelve years and I’m slightly terrified to be stepping away from it.
Scratch that, I’m completely terrified.
This is not just a change of job, you see, this is a change of career. A change of vocation, even. It feels so strange and I won’t pretend that I haven’t had moments of doubt about it.
So why? Why am I moving away from something which I considered my calling for so many years?
Because it takes so much. It takes so much time and energy and, often, heartache to be in a job like that day in, day out. It is rewarding and meaningful, yes, but it is also utterly exhausting. I did not want to reach a point where I dreaded going to work, or for the job I had loved so much to make me ill. So it’s time for a change. Time for a break. I imagine that one day I will find myself working with young people again, although probably in a different capacity. But right now I’m turning my energy to a new challenge. One which I am incredibly excited about and which I believe will give my other passions the chance to thrive. One where I can grow as a writer. One where I can be creative and innovative and (hopefully!) find a work-life balance that is right for me.
So, in spite of the fear induced by the realisation that I’m going from something I know inside out and back to front to something completely new that I need to learn from scratch, I’m going forward in faith, certain that this is the right thing in the right moment. I’m going onward with excitement and thirst for change. I’m stepping into a new chapter knowing that the friends I have made over the last six years are behind me and beside me all the way, and than my experiences will stand me in good stead.
And since my love of books is one of the things that has steered my journey over the last few years and brought me to this point, it seems only right that I take the advice of one of the literary greats, C.S. Lewis, as I take this next step:
Courage, dear heart.
I encourage you to take courage in whatever you’re doing, be it staying the course or changing direction. Courage and peace to you all.