Friday, October 9, 2015

Ordinary Bravery: New Job

I began the bravery series wanting to chronicle the events of my job hunting exploits. And, by the way, much has happened since Day 6. In the process of chronicling my personal experiences, I became more acutely aware of the ordinary bravery occurring all around me. I realized I am surrounded by inspiring people who exhibit amazing courage as they face their daily challenges with grace. But for now, I wish to stay true to my original purpose.

Catching Up

When I left off, aside from a disturbing dating experience, I was working almost full-time at a public charter school teaching. The students I serve are at-risk youth 16-24 who haven’t been served adequately by the regular public school system. For me, that was important, but it was more important to do something I have always loved – teach; and if I could have supported myself on that part-time salary, I would have continued in that role while I recovered from some awful work-related abuses.

My teaching got noticed and was appreciated to the point where I was encouraged to apply for the new position of Instructional Coach being added to the 2015 – 2016 school year. I applied, interviewed and began my new position in July!!! My salary jumped from subsisting to doing pretty well for an educator (for an engineer, maybe not so good). Although I am still settling debt accumulated from six lean months of underemployment, I can breathe much easier. And on that note, I would like to say to Andora Toad and Jen Magoo... Ha! You chased me right into a healthier work environment with better pay!

Even more than the pay, I am working at a place where people are meaningfully engaged. We feel we are working toward a greater good. It is an environment where most everyone strives to incorporate the bigger picture along with the daily routine. It is a place where I finally feel supported. 

Did I die and go to heaven? Well, not just yet. It is a clear improvement over what I had. I continue dealing with dysfunctional leadership with an immediate supervisor.

Unlike at Brand X, I am not alone in noticing what is out of balance. In terms of offering staff, students, teachers and management a voice, this is one of the best places I have worked. I work hard, but I work alongside like-minded teachers which somehow makes it easier. Plus, I am still connected to teaching. The biggest positive of all.


I started this journey of bravery by being a lone voice in a situation where I experienced highly dysfunctional leadership. Since then, my perceptions have been validated. I have learned they are generally good and to trust them. I have moved from being alone to having a choir, from being a victim to becoming an instrument of change, and moving from the role of scapegoat to being a respected member of a community. All good! Very, very good. I find this is the perfect place to end the bravery series. 

Ordinary bravery, as I have come to understand it, is facing each day rooted in who I am, and responding authentically to the world around me. This further means staying open to opportunities to learn, grow and adjust to what is rather than what I think it is. On a deeper level, as I face each challenge with intentionality, I find I am more and more supported in this process. 

Ordinary bravery continues on in different stories. I wish you well on your daily journeys of ordinary bravery!