It’s 3:30PM Friday, the students are screaming outside my door as the end-of-day rush for busses begins. I’m throwing my tired body up and out of my swivel chair when Outlook pings. It’s the 30th email I’ve read today. I see a familiar name pop up, and some ominous words in the preview, “Where is this student’s file?”
When January came round after the holidays, and us teachers returned to our familiar coffee fueled, baggy eyed, sweatpants-disguised-as-gauchos routine, I couldn’t bring myself to put back on my superhero persona for the classroom. Each day felt heavier than the last, and the support I was supposed to receive for an increased workload didn’t come.
I found myself daydreaming about other jobs, missed career opportunities, and leaps I was never quite brave enough to take.
“What if I chuck it all and start again?”
After all, I’ve done it in the past. Most recently, my lack of a well-paid job at the school led me to explore a shiny job in a field I always thought I’d excel at – social work.
I’ve taken risks before, and I’ve gotten burned. So I’ve put my armor on the last 5 weeks, feeling myself turning into a sort of bear under the stress of it all. I’m cuddly on the inside, and just the most ferocious when it comes to those adding to my stress at work.
Praying and reflecting on just how to get it all done, I decided not to.
Get it done, I mean.
I’m trying to embrace failure. Really embrace it, as an option that gives me the freedom to be a mistake-maker, and a reality that forces my hand to only do so much as I’m capable to.
When an email comes asking me to stay two hours past my work schedule, and I’m not getting paid for the hours, I set my limits.
When a coworker tells another that I failed to communicate necessary information, I am direct in correcting when and how I did.
For women, it’s a familiar feeling to shrink in the face of adversity in the workplace. I’ve worked 23 jobs and counting since I started work at 16 years old. I’ve had every sort of uncomfortable situation with coworkers and clients, and I’ve faced them the wrong way sometimes.
In this trying and seemingly never-ending season of too much to do, my mantra has been to do something. And fail at it, if need be.
Because failing is a surefire way for me to know what I am happy doing, what I am doing just to please others, and what workload I can reasonably manage so that I don’t turn my daydream about bring a cruise singer in the Bahamas into my next reality.