Monday, October 26, 2015

Life Lesson

Fifteen years ago, I went to graduate school to become a history professor. While I received my MA in military history, I never received my PhD, for which there are a myriad of reasons and misfortunes, so while I could have become an instructor, I knew I'd never be a professor. You all know I spent five years teaching middle and high school history, even though I was an actual trained historian. That is not a slight on any middle or high school teacher, but it was not for me. For the past fifteen years, I tried to tow the line and do what I was expected to do. In other words, I did as I was told. I had very little ability to pursue my own path, but the path set for me by others. All those experiences though led me to my current opportunity.
I really do love my new job. I'm still getting my predecessors' filing systems figured out, but I made great progress last week. Both of my predecessors left rather abruptly and, as I understand it, not on the best terms with the museum. Neither of them were very good fits for the position. However, my new employer and my coworkers are excited to have me join the team, mainly because of my education and experiences that I never dreamed would actually lead to a job. Here is probably the most wonderful thing about my new job: my boss came to me Friday and we were discussing sorting through everything, and she told me, "This is your job, not your predecessors. I have full faith that you will figure all of this out and that you will get this program up and running again and going in the right directions. Do what you need to do. You have my full support." How wonderful is that?! Though some of the groundwork has already been put into place, I am being given full authority to make this job what I have in mind for it, not what someone else thinks it should be.
As I look at the work that has already been done, it is truly fascinating. I cannot stress that enough. I am enthralled by what I have to begin with. While I am not happy with the way things were done before, my filing system will make it more efficient as will my philosophy on how the job should be performed. Maybe that sounds too overconfident or maybe even self-aggrandizing, but I know I am the right person for this job. I knew it the minute I saw the job announcement. I am very glad that my new employer could and does see that as well. I have my vision of how I want this job to proceed, and I plan for when phase one of this project is finished for it to be an integral part of the museum's mission and to be a significant contribution to the modern era of this historic institution. Yes, I have grand ideas, and while everything may not go exactly as planned, I was given a job to do and I will accomplish it to the best of my ability.
I mentioned at the beginning of this post that my MA is in military history. Because I am gay, I was subtly steered away from making military history my career. I believe that it was because being gay and studying military history seemed to be contrary to one another. However, it was what I was most passionate about in my study of history. Yes, there were other historical fields that peaked my interest, but none like military history did. So for me to have a job that largely deals with military history, I feel vindicated about my original course of study. And from what I've delved into about this program so far, my interest in military history and my interest in human rights will be one of my greatest assets in this job.
To say that I am excited about my work and to say that I am eager to get to work is an understatement. (Today is an unexciting half day of orientation, one of three I must attend over the next month.) This job may not have been in my original idea for a career, and I may have pursued other pursuits in the past, but once I let God lead the way and put my faith in Him, He has put me on the path I was meant to be on. For the first time in my life, I feel that I am on he right path. If I've learned one lesson in the last (nearly) twenty years since I graduated high school and began my journey in higher education, it has been to pursue my dreams and not to let anyone discourage me.  


Susan said...

What a wonderful piece to read first thing on a Monday! IMO it doesn't sound too overconfident or self-aggrandizing at all. You have a handle on what you can and will do in this position, and you are starting to create your plan to carry it through. That sounds like a man on a mission, not someone who doesn't know what he's talking about. And what makes it all even more wonderful is knowing you have the backing of your boss. To be valued and appreciated for the work you do is one of the best feelings in the world. I am so happy you have found your path, Joe. May it always be the right one.

silvereagle said...

This article must be written by an imposter!!! So happy!! So upbeat!! So optimistic!! So uplifting!!!

Great that the sun is shinning so brightly on you in Vermont my friend. We are all so very happy to be included in your awakening!!!

Now, go and shine for all to see!!!

Michael Dodd said...

My good friend St. John of the Cross said, "To get to a place you have never been, you must take a road you have never traveled."

Keep stepping out in faith and hope. SomeOne has you safe in hand and heart.

JiEL said...

I agree with «silvereagle» and I can just add that you were lead by your own actions and will.

God may have a bit helped you but at first and as my own experiences did teach me, you must push a bit on our «faith and luck» to make our better future happen.

Now enjoy all the new challenges of your dream work.

You seem to be with people really valuable and that are putting all their support and faith on you.

Vermont is your place and hope that this new life will open to you in the brightest ways.

Amanda said...

I'm so happy for you! You deserve to be happy. Keep the positive outlook and enjoy the job! :)

Mike said...

I can't wait to hear about what is to come with your job!

Your post struck a lot of chords with me - doing what was expected as opposed to your passion - I feel like I am there right now. I am at a mostly amazing school in a plush position that gives me great freedom to do what I want as long as it is in the best interest of the students. I am in the admin credential program because everyone told me to do it - all of my friends, parents, and teachers I know. I don't have aspirations to be an administrator, though I know I could be a good one. Maybe one day, but not now. I know, and keep having opportunities come to me to move into administration. Its not where I want to be right now. I could. It would be a great pay raise. My partner keeps hearing the money aspect, the great opportunities, and possibility to move into district office where jobs seem even more plush. I have stood my ground that I am right where I need to be now. I've taught for a little over 5 years now, and I want to be here for at least another 5. I believe that if I were to move into admin that 10 years of teaching experience wil give me more credibility as an administrator. I also am looking at positions outside of the teaching/admin realm that require the admin credential/teaching experience, but again, not right now. Your words helped validate what I am feeling now.

Paul said...

So awesome Joe - what a great opportunity and challenge you have, along with your wonderful attitude! So happy to see that God has been so faithful and blessed you.