Sunday, November 6, 2016

Choose Your Battles

I liked Prince Ea on Facebook earlier this year, and if you haven’t checked him out yourself, you might want to because he has a strong message and voice.

This one smacked me in the middle of the forehead. It reminded me of a moment in my first full-time job out of college back in Ohio. My direct superior was frustrated with me when I came in from the field one day. He asked me why something happened.  I began explaining with: “Well, I thought-” he cut me off with:

“You’re not paid to think.”

Now, imagine that scene. I’m a 22 year old, fresh out of college, naive version of myself today- a nervous bookworm filled with little more than youthful exuberance and good intentions- and I hear THAT. For someone who is supposed to be my teacher and leader.

There were a few other red flags within the overall company and within 18 months of graduating, I decided to quit that profession without prospects. There were fights there that I was unable to fight.

Now that I’m waaaay older than that boss was at the time, I can look back and think that maybe he was having a bad day. Maybe, he had some pressures that I didn’t know about. Maybe, that conversation never even registered in his mind as having adversely affected my perspective of him and the company. Or, maybe he was just an ill-prepared person in middle management who should have stuck with a job that didn’t affect the welfare of a whole bunch of people looking for proper mentoring and support.

I quit. I failed. However...

If I hadn’t have quit, I never would have gotten a job in an insurance agency, which started teaching me how to work with and enjoy people. If I hadn’t had taken a business trip at that insurance agency, I never would have come to Wisconsin, where I ended up getting recruited by John Deere. If I hadn’t have made the decision to move to Wisconsin with my husband, we never would have met all the amazing people and done all the awesome things we have since 1998. I could go on with this chain of events but you understand that a TON of choices and people have entered my life after that shattering moment. A battle lost won me who I am today.
Kids literally or figuratively run off on the playground, in the lunchroom or in the classroom on a daily basis howling “I CAN’T DO THIS!!! I QUIT!!!!”. We battle every day to say the right and constructive thing in response- to not be like that former boss. We use tools like Playworks (remember- adults need to play as much as the students!) to keep our spirits up, our hopes alive and to make everyone feel empowered and a part of the team.

That’s the important battle- the one we cannot fail to win.

Thank you for reading.
Next time...Hibernating.

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