Tuesday, July 28, 2015

10 Things I Never Expected About...

All my life all I ever wanted to do was be a teacher. From my earliest recollections that's how I responded when people asked about my future plans and that's how I always pictured my life. I went to college, and even though I put off declaring a major for some unknown reason; I did graduate and get my degree and teaching certification.

I subbed in regular education classes and profoundly disabled classes. I taught second grade and then pre-school. I worked with kids from infancy through middle and high school. And then slowly, I realized that it just wasn't what I thought it would be. I was stressed constantly, overwhelmingly tired, over-worked and under-appreciated. Then came the day when I said "enough is enough" and I quit. The in-between is a story for another day, but as you may know I work in an office now, and there are so many thing I honestly never expected about working in an office!

1. I love it! I never expected to be an office-type person, but somehow I have really come to love reconciling reports, filing papers, and ordering supplies. The joy I get from a spreadsheet that all adds up is somewhat silly, but I really do enjoy it.

2. It's challenging. As much as I enjoy what I do, there are days when it really is hard work. Sometimes numbers don't add up, three deadlines coincide, or people I need aren't available. There can be some days when my head is spinning by the time I leave, but I am always thankful when I can leave the job at work and go home.

3. I'm much better suited to a job I can leave in the office. I know there are lots of occupations where people don't mind being "on" all the time. And some people are wired that way, but I've learned that I'm not. It's not just the lesson planning and grading. I'm a much better mom and wife with a little more calm in my day to day.

4. There's so much to do! If you work in an accounting office, you have tax deadlines. If you work in another office you might have December deadlines. If you work in higher ed, you deal with both semesters and fiscal year deadlines. Every year I look forward to the end of the semester and then realize that it just means more work for me.

5. There's NOT so much to do. In between those deadlines at certain times of the year, there are periods of time when the workload is much lighter. Summertime, especially. I'm not saying I have nothing to do, but there is definitely lots of downtime and a much more laid back feeling in the summer.

6. There are always opportunities for learning. When I finished college, I joked that I'd be the one assigning homework from then on. Don't get me wrong, I love learning, and I jump at the opportunity to do so. I just hadn't expected for the learning to involve spreadsheets and reports.

7. My personal organization has very little to do with my work organization. I know my house is a mess and I'm always behind on dishes and laundry, but at work I do things differently. My pens, pencils, and highlighters are all sorted. Each month has it's own colorful folder. I've got clipboards for different tasks and I've got the money accounted for down to the last penny. Seriously, I spent about 4 hours last month tracking down a 26 cent credit on our account that I didn't understand.

8. The right people make a huge difference. My current boss is amazing. He is flexible and accommodating when life comes up. We all have our own strengths in the office, but we can also cover for each other when needed.

9. Sitting all day takes its toll! When I went from chasing 4-year olds all day to sitting at a desk 40 hours a week, I gained almost 10 pounds. None of the nice clothes I was looking forward to wearing were going to fit! It's probably related to getting older as well, but I really have to make an effort to watch what I eat and force myself to get up and move around.

10. I still feel like I'm using my degree and prior knowledge. Obviously, not every office job is like this, but in my case, I lucked into an office job in the education department. I can still tap into relevant knowledge in the far back reaches of my brain. I love interacting with the teachers-to-be who work as my student assistants. They love asking about my former classrooms and what things I did that worked or didn't work.


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