The office was dark: dark wood walls, dark leather couch, dark wooden desk. It actually could have been any color, but to me it felt dark. The person that used to fill it had left. A new person occupied it and it just didn’t feel the same. She asked me about my career trajectory and at the age of 25 I had it all figured out. I wasn’t going anywhere! As my first official teaching job out of college, this was it. Why change?
She asked why and I explained, with heartfelt passion, all of the reasons I didn’t want to leave and didn’t want to change. She heard me out. She asked questions. And then she spoke. “You’re not going to like what I have to say.” My heart sank. My palms got sweaty. My body got hot. “This can’t be the only school you work in. You need to have a broader understanding of what is out there. I will not be offering you position here at the school next year.” I felt betrayed. Hurt. How could they have put 4 years of time into me and then just throw me to curb? Nothing about this felt fair or right. “You are going to look back on this moment and thank me. I know it’s hard to hear now, but it is the right thing. Spread your wings and fly.” I walked out so deeply angry and filled with so much frustration.
13 years later, I realize now that she gave me a gift. She knew what I needed before I knew it myself. If it weren’t for that moment, I certainly would not be where I am today. On a deeper level, she set me up to understand that the only constant in this world is change. We have to adapt and grow, challenge ourselves with new things and strive for something better. We cannot rest back; just thinking that staying in one place is going to get us any further down the road. We have to actively take steps to keep growing. She was right; it was the hardest thing I have ever heard, but she knew it would be the best thing for me to hear.