Interactive Media Director in mid-September. I stayed positive, but as with any lay off, there were highs and lows. I've learned some of the most important lessons of my life since then...
Lesson #1: I needed a break. I've been running myself into the ground for years. Y'all know it. I know it. I work hard and often, never any less than three jobs -- one full-time and two side teaching gigs online preferably. Never have I been more thankful for my online teaching opportunities. They've really held me over through this unexpected break, and they've kept me busy and occupied with something wonderful and positive. However, I needed to find more balance in my life. More time for Greyson. More time at home. More time for myself. Less time in traffic, fewer weekends in the office. I like myself more now than I have in a long time. I've taken steps toward a healthier lifestyle, and I spend more quality time with my son.
Lesson #2: Higher education is truly where I belong. I have always felt a calling to be an educator -- a bone-deep, soul-deep, spiritual calling. I've known it since high school, and even though I've had some great professional and educational experiences away from higher ed, I always come back. I've been an educator since 2003, I joined a college faculty in 2004, and I've never truly been away since then. I love the people I meet in higher education, I love the "issues" and the "causes" in higher ed. I thrive on a college campus.
Lesson #3: The most formative higher ed experience I had as a student was at my alma mater (MA, BA). While I started my college career at Baylor University, I transferred after my sophomore year to join the New Media program at a mid-size university in rural northeast Texas. It was the university I grew up knowing, and like most hard-headed 21-year olds, that didn't make it particularly attractive back then. However, what I found when I transferred was a transformative experience. I enjoyed my peers more, I bonded with the faculty, and all the relationships I built prepared me so thoroughly to be an educator and to be a confident, prepared professional. I've made friendships that will last a lifetime with smart, insightful, astonishing people. I could not be more thankful for getting my education in this place.
Lesson #4: I am tougher than I thought. One of my biggest fears in life is not being employed. Specifically, not being able to provide for my family and myself. This experience has just showed me that I have the backbone to stand up and take care of things -- budget, scrimp and save, endure, network, create opportunities, use all the skills I've been blessed with to get through.
Lesson #5: I have strong faith. I've thought before that I lost it, but it's still there. Faith in people, faith in myself, faith in my purpose, and faith in God.
I got a call last night offering me the job of Public Relations Director at my alma mater.
It's been a long interview process (about four weeks). It's been stressful. You may have been reading throughout the phone interview, panel interview with the search committee, and finally a lengthy meeting full of campus tours, meeting admin, and a sit-down discussion with my potential supervisor last Friday. It's been a lot. It's been stressful because I've wanted it so badly. So badly that I was afraid to say how much I wanted it.
In light of this amazing, wonderful, fantastic news, I'm apt to get teary-eyed. And I'll probably do it again typing this last bit. (Yep, here they come.)
I am so profoundly thankful.
I am thankful for work that I believe in -- writing, editing, social media, storytelling, in the name of institutional advancement and higher education. I am thankful to be joining a team of good people. I am thankful that my supervisor values my experience and my vision. Thankful for my family and loved-ones who have rallied around me. For the scads of you who have commented on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and here. It's truly humbling to see so many of you pulling for me, praying for me, and sending your love over the miles. I could not ask for more. I am overwhelmed with goodness.
It feels like I am in the exact right place.