I’ve been a teacher for 22 years. I taught in my first school for about 3.5 years, but then I got married and moved, so I needed to find a school closer to my new home. I found one that was relatively closer, but I was only there for one year because I was declared surplus to the school. Luckily, I was able to find a job at another school that was much closer to home, about a 15 minute commute. I was happy there in the beginning. However, over time, the school environment and culture became extremely toxic and the traffic became much worse, so my 15 minute commute became a 30 minute commute, and 45 minutes to an hour if I had a meeting after school. It got to the point where my children noticed how stressed I was and I was unfortunately bringing the negativity home with me and it was affecting them. I knew something had to change, but I felt so trapped. There used to be so many jobs available in my area to teachers because we were growing and opening new schools every year. However, the jobs were now few and far between and I began to lose hope. The stress of my work environment became so bad that I basically kept to myself as much as I could. I didn’t even work at my desk just so that I wouldn’t be a part of the negative energy in the office.
Surprisingly, one Christmas, my husband bought me The Secret and The Power. I’m not sure how he got the idea to buy me these books, but he did. We had seen the movie so many years previous to him buying the books, but we never really put the ideas into practice. I’m really not sure how the idea popped into his head, considering that we hadn’t seen or talked about the film in so long. Still, with not much hope of a job opening up, I took Rhonda’s advice to heart and started to work on being grateful for whatever I had in my life. I started a gratitude journal. I also started to wake up in the morning and I would say to myself that I was going to have a great day. Anytime anyone would make a negative comment at work, I would immediately turn it around and respond with something positive instead. I realized that I wasn’t going to change others’ attitudes and I needed to change how I reacted instead, for my own sanity. At least, this made going to work somewhat more bearable.
One day, I decided to call a colleague at another school for some advice. I have no idea why I decided on this particular colleague. It’s not as if I was particularly close to her, but I had known her for 15 years. In any case, after we chatted on the phone and discussed my question, she blurted out that she was going to retire in 2 years time and encouraged me to apply for her position. Truth be told, she worked at the school closest to my home, just 5 minutes away and around the corner from my kids’ school. I was stunned when she told me. She brought it up and I hadn’t said anything about wanting to change schools. My first question to her was whether anyone currently at her school was interested in the position. She told me nobody wanted it. I couldn’t believe it! It was the perfect scenario. From that moment forward, I focused all my energy on getting that job. I was disheartened that I would have to wait 2 years, but at the same time, I now had hope. My husband was skeptical about the move when I told him. His attitude was: “The grass is always greener on the other side.” Well, the way I saw it, I was going to be closer to home and I was going to be able to spend more time with my kids, so that in itself to me was a win.
I created a vision board for myself and on it, I found a picture on the internet of the inside of the school with the steps leading up to the second floor. I printed it out and posted it on my board. I would imagine myself walking up and down those steps. When I dropped my kids off to school, I would normally put on the right turn signal to go to work, but to get to the school I wanted, I needed to make a left turn. So, I would put on my left turn signal (if no one was behind me!) and imagine that I was going to my new school. I felt that I was going to get that job with every fibre of my being.
When the job came up, I was completely prepared. I had done everything in my power to be ready for the interview. It went really well and I just knew in my heart that I had the job. Of course, it took the principal 2 weeks to get back to me. It was two weeks of torture waiting to find out for sure! However, when I did get the call, I was so extremely happy. Then, I met my new colleagues and they are so much fun to work with and be around. I’ve laughed more in the last year and a half that I’ve been at my new school than I did in the last 10 years at my old one. Being in this new environment has really inspired me and I love my job again! I’m having fun teaching and I’ve found my purpose again.
Thank you so much, Rhonda! I owe all this to you and The Secret.