I essentially lost a job today. I say essentially because no one told me it had gone! I took on a temporary role with a view to something more permanent within the same organisation when the role finished. Today, I found out that a newsletter went out last week, including my name in the list of those leaving! Cold!
It wasn’t even somewhere that I had loved working and it certainly wasn’t a place that I envisaged or wanted to retire from so why the sense of loss? Income? Not really, there is still the possibility of extending job number 2 and there may even be further hours at job 3 if wanted. If the last few months have taught me anything it is that income can appear from all sorts of unexpected places, so no, monetary value was not it!
Watching the above programme this evening, which was both excellent and heart-breaking in equal measures, helped me to put my finger on exactly what my issue was – status. Teaching gives you highs and lows like no other job I have ever done. When a child gets something and you realise that the learning or something you have said or done has altered that child’s life chances, the high is out of this world. That is before the respect in still many people’s eyes when you tell them what to do and the fact that you have spent 14 years doing it and dammit, getting good at it!
So what to do when it ends? Who am I if not a teacher? Is being a wife and mother enough? Where is my self worth and value to come from if not from this role?
I don’t yet have the answers and if the same issue applies to you, you may not have the answers yet either. I am reminded of Susan Jeffers’ grid though in her book, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway’. If I am so afraid of losing my self worth because of the loss of a role, then I am seriously lacking in other roles. Yes, be a wife and mother, but volunteer too, write the book/s in me, spend time with the Other Half, family and friends, partake in hobbies and spend time on my spirit too. There is even time for work as well!
Thanks Clarke Carlisle for a beautiful programme and for your bravery and that of all those who shared their own experiences in the programme. Good luck with your search for new roles as you leave that of professional football player and may we all remember that we are worth so much more than whatever it is that we do. We matter because of who we are.
I haven’t written for a few days as I was at a conference where I was unable to get internet access (me not having a Smartphone and all!). During one of the seminars we were asked to write down our roles and circle them, starting with the central ones and moving outwards. It didn’t take me long to both notice and complain about the fact that all my roles were about other people and where exactly was my life? Never one to do things quietly, a lady on the row in front of me heard what I said. “Let that give you strength,” she replied, “that you are of help to so many people. And value the roles that you have right now because you will not always have them.”
She talked of her elderly mother with Parkinson’s, who, all things being equal, will of course pass before she does and that will be the end of her role as both daughter and carer. It made me realise that yes I will always be a mother, but not always in the way that I am now, nor wife, daughter, sister, teacher etc. Yes, I do need to do more activities just for me and just for fun, but I also need to value and be thankful for the roles I have right now, for they can change or go so quickly.