Suddenly it all makes sense… my medically bipolar Physics teacher (who yelled at students)… my hateful and arrogant Calculus teacher (who emotionally abused students)… my perpetually high German teacher (who likely sold marijuana to students)…
As I have started working on my Teaching Certification, I have been astonished by how simple the process is; how easy it is to become certified to teach the next generation of young minds. All I have to do is: shadow another teacher for 30 hours, take 80 hours’ worth of online lessons, and pass the State exam for my subject matter of choice. I’ve only been at it for a month, and I’m already nearly halfway through.
The quizzes for the online lessons are a joke. For the lesson entitled, “The Importance of Lesson Planning,” one of the questions was something like:
(In case you aren’t sure… remember that the title of the quiz is “The Importance of Lesson Planning”!)
In the online lesson about sexual assault in schools, the questions were all like this one:
Why do you work? To be successful, to maintain a certain standard of living, to find your identity and purpose, or for some other reason?
I decided in 2nd grade that I was going to be an engineer. My reasons were varied and diverse:
My dad was an engineer, and I wanted to be like him.
I enjoyed math and science; problem solving was a fun hobby for me. I was always up for a mental challenge.
Smart people become engineers, and I wanted to be thought of as smart and successful.
I liked objective subjects, where no one could give me a bad grade without being able to justify their actions (like when I got a C on my first history paper because my teacher “just didn’t think it was well written” even though all of my facts were accurate).
Having earned an engineering degree and having worked at a major oil company for seven years now, I have come to find that working in the business world is not all that I imagined.
Though my dad was an engineer, he worked at a small company where he rose through the ranks and set the tone for a culture that appreciated creative problem solving and new ideas. This is not the case at a Major. When my dad’s little company got bought out by a giant, he disliked his once enjoyable career as much as I do now. Although my company recruits creative, self-motivated, intelligent individuals, it takes those brilliant minds and sticks them deep within the confines of The Machine, where they are no more than a cog in the wheel, and all individual thought is not only stifled but punished.
Problem solving is fun when dealing with a closed set – like an Agatha Christie murder mystery where all of the suspects are snowed in to a log cabin, minimizing unforeseen variables. But the real world is messy, and there are an infinite number of variables that are impossible to control or calculate into a solution. This is significantly less fun than the problem sets I solved for fun as a kid.
As I have written about multiple times, simply having an engineering degree – and even being a well spoken and intelligent person – does not mean that people will think you are smart and successful. My boss thinks I’m incompetent just because our working styles don’t align.
Although in school, math homework has a right or wrong answer, in Corporate America, workers get graded based on subjective opinions and perceptions, many of which are more a reflection of the manager than the employee being evaluated.
While our parents worked primarily to earn a living, Millennials are generally driven by a need for purpose and identity; to find meaning in their work. I hate to ever be a part of the crowd, but of late, I find myself fitting the generalization. Money is not much of a motivator for me. At this stage of life – having experienced all that I have at the hands of Corporate America – I would rather earn less and be more fulfilled in my work. Which is why I have started working on my Teaching Certification in the hopes of teaching junior high math.
Some fellow Christians will tell me (and have told me) that I should find my identity in Christ and not in my job. That’s true, but that’s no reason to stay at a miserable job. The bible says in Ecclesiastes that “there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work” (2:24), and again, that “that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work” (3:22).
Some lower-income friends will tell me (and have told me) that money is not a motivator now because I’ve never had to go without. While that may be true, I imagine there is a lot of character development to be had from learning to restrict spending as a result of voluntarily taking a pay cut.
Some friends will tell me (and have told me) that every job will have its frustrations and disappointments. While I acknowledge that to be true, I also believe that – if every job has its challenges, and every work environment has a couple of “difficult personalities” to deal with – I may as well enjoy the work itself. I’ve spent seven years not enjoying my workload in addition to dealing with difficult people.
There have been countless closed doors over the past seven years of trying to change careers. But I’m prayerfully considering yet another attempt at a new career path, and hopefully God sees fit to swing the right door wide open, whether it’s teaching or something else I have yet to even consider.
I’m hoping it’s teaching though. After all, teachers have the best blogging material.
(Okay, maybe not that last one, but no conversation about great armies is complete without mentioning Neville Longbottom rallying the troops for the Battle of Hogwarts.)
This week, my blog reached 300 followers, and I am so thankful for all of you, but especially those who have read, commented and encouraged me along the way. Bitter Ben, IB, Ally, Mrs. Spike, J and so many more… thanks for your frequent likes and comments!
As a way of saying thanks, let’s do a roll call! Fill out the poll below, and leave a comment answering: What would you do with an extra $300 this month? Buy 300 chocolate bars, 2 pairs of Kendra earrings, a new iPad… the possibilities are endless!
“Send our army for hope – hope that a King and his men have not been wasted to the pages of history – that their courage bonds us together, that we are made stronger by their actions, and that your choices today reflect their bravery.” -Queen Gorgo, 300
Although I am partial to sweater weather and pumpkin spice lattes, the second quarter of the year is also a personal favorite of mine. The first week of April brings with it sundresses, wildflowers and clear blue skies. Gloom period is over, and the earth comes to life again as though waking from a long slumber.
I underwent a hibernation of my own during the first quarter of this year – my fast from dating. I’d told myself that, in light of the seemingly endless incoming (and outgoing) line of men in my life, I needed to take a break from dating this year to refocus and center myself; to reinstate God as my First Love.
My hope in so doing was to to rest in my singleness, learning to be content in this season and celebrating all of the unique opportunities afforded to me as an unattached young woman. It’s been a great first quarter. I’ve gotten to invest deeply in some key friendships, taught Sunday school to elementary children, started mentoring a group of high school kids, gotten certified to babysit foster kids, arranged some new a capella mashups, begun fashion illustration (check out my Instagram) and started looking into a few different travel destinations for a girls’ weekend away.
When I started on this journey, I wanted to make the commitment specific and measurable enough that I could be held accountable and not bail when the first cute boy of the year looked my way, so I gave a soft commitment not to go on any dates for 2016. However, I also wanted to give myself flexibility as life circumstances changed and my heart matured; I didn’t want to be legalistic about the commitment or put God in a box as to how He wanted to refine me in this area of my life. I didn’t feel a strong conviction to give a definitive commitment for an entire year, so I gave myself the option to reevaluate at the end of every quarter whether or not I should continue my break from dating.
So as the end of March approached, and with it, the end of Q1 2016, I prayed and asked God what He thought. Then I met with the girls in my bible study and asked for their input as well. In both my personal time of reflection and in the feedback from the group, there was a consensus that I have successfully hit the “reset” button on my dating mentality and could now move forward with starting to date again, this time with a God-honoring perspective on both the physical and emotional aspects of a relationship.
I am not in a hurry to jump back into dating. My days of online dating are behind me. But I am open to the possibility of exploring whether some of my godly male friendships could grow into something deeper. I’ve had seven guys waiting for this moment – the moment I would allow them to pursue a relationship with me.
Just thinking about juggling all of those possibilities had me nearly breaking out in hives, so I’ve already told five of the seven that I am not interested in a romantic relationship with them. Care to guess which of the seven has captured my attention?
Jay – a police officer I met while volunteering for the Passion Conference in January who sends me shirtless photos of himself from time to time
Jordan – the massage therapist and divorcee I met on the Bahamas cruise
Ike – a friend for over ten years with whom I’ve done international mission trips and who is graduating from seminary in May with plans to be a pastor
Hovik – the Armenian auto shop manager who lives in my apartment complex
Grant – the banker I met at church who takes me to a concert every year
Seth – a chemical engineer who volunteers in our church’s kids’ ministry with me
Joe – an A/C mechanic in my bible study who is built like a lumberjack