Tuesday, June 17, 2008

PRIORITIES


I have a framed picture that shows a little blond headed boy standing next to a lake, along with a quote that reads: "A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove...but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child."

On Thursday I have a second interview for the therapist position I applied for with a local agency serving seriously emotionally damaged / mentally ill children and their families. IF I get this job I will give up $10K a year and half my current vacation. Not to mention I would be taking on a hot bed of potential burn out. Not surprisingly, I've had a couple different people I know well challenge me on why I would even consider such a job. It's hard to explain. But it just FEELS right.

I've been the grand poobah boss at my current position since February. Clearly I have the skill sets to do it well. But I don't want to do it anymore. I was also an executive director at a different organization where I worked previously. Because I believed in the mission of that agency and respected the boss that I had very much, I stayed with that one for almost three years. I absolutely know how to lead and administer and all that stuff. And I have enjoyed the perks that come with being in charge.

But I'm oh so ready to turn in my boss button and make the shift over to focusing on an entirely different sort of work. I did mental health related work all the way through my undergrad program and genuinely enjoyed being part of a multi-disciplinary treatment team, even when the day-to-day dealing with clients could be fraught with stress and conflict. I believe I have something to contribute that is uniquely my own.

ANY smart, ambitious person could balance the budget, go to the meetings, and complete the reports required for my current role. It doesn't feel like it matters that it is me holding the reins. But I do believe that the sense and experience I would bring to healing interactions with troubled kids and their often fractured families would be blessed in some key ways because it was me in the mix. I don't say that out of vanity. I just mean that I have a deep respect for the human element of healing work and every relationship has its own magic. I want to share some of mine.

So I'll go do this second interview and see if this particular agency at this particular time is the right fit. I will remind myself that if I do not get the job (or if for any reason I see some red flags that convince me to turn it down if offered) that sooner or later I will find a job that suits my needs and my core values. But something I've come to recognize more and more over the last few months is that I need way more than a fat paycheck to be happy with a job. Earning money is a good and necessary thing. I've very much appreciated the international travel and other things my current income level has allowed. But at the end of the day I don't think it will matter how many shiny things I own or whether I had another exotic vacation. I want very much to have made a difference during the time I was on this planet. I think this job would allow me to accomplish that in a meaningful way. So I'll give it my best shot and see how it all unfolds.

Cross your fingers and say a prayer everyone. I think this one could be the one.

1 comment:

Jen said...

You know you are in my thoughts and prayers. I completely understand why you would be drawn to this type of work.

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