A Changing Man

It has been a hard few years. Gradually frustrations have crept in. I have felt misunderstood. I have felt as though people have doubted my commitment and integrity. I have felt unsupported. But I kept going. There have been many days when I didn’t feel like I was going to be able to front up and do my job. But I did. And I did it well. I still do. But now I have changed course. I have taken control of my life in ways I couldn’t have imagined just a few years ago. And it’s liberating. I haven’t felt this free and in control of my own destiny in my whole life!

While it feels amazing now, as you would have noted from the above description, it took a long time to get to this point. I’m just going with my gut and assuming it needed to get

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Gratuitous Grampians Pic

to the point where I couldn’t handle it any longer before I did something about it. So I did. I put in my resignation. It’s hard to say good bye to something I’ve had for fourteen years. It’s the job I’ve known for so long. At different times it has been my major focus – many of my closest friends have been made in this workplace as we have tackled problems together and then debriefed at the end of the week. And we’ve grown together.

To be honest, on the surface my life hasn’t changed much over the past six years. My working life hasn’t changed much in the past sixteen years. Over the past year, there have been some great ‘ins’ and gradually the ‘outs’ have started to come too. I’m making choices. You might think to yourself that we make choices every day. Yes, we do. But I think that very often we choose paths that have the least resistance in the short term or that provide an immediate outcome. I also think that we sometimes just let things go and don’t make decisions to avoid potential discomfort or hardship. For me it was this non-decision (as opposed to indecision) that finally forced me into a position where I couldn’t move forward. But it was this moment that has given me a new insight into the decisions I make.

When you complete a degree in commerce, you have a whole range of possibilities. You can move into a whole range of business types and use your learning across a plethora of contexts and roles. When you complete a teaching degree, you can teach. For many teachers who have gained a degree in something else beforehand, this isn’t such an issue, because they have other avenues if things don’t work out. If your degree was in German language and literature, things can appear pretty limited. I went into an education degree because I felt as though it was the sensible thing to do. And I developed a love for teaching, even if I did not enjoy many of the other elements involved. Ultimately the joy I have experienced in the classroom has not been enough to keep the fire burning.

But the time for real change has arrived. Although it feels in many ways that the big change will be happening on Friday this week – when I walk out of my workplace for the final time – I’m not sure it is as sudden and drastic as it might seem. On reflection, I think it is more symbolic of all the smaller changes that have happened in the last year or so. So maybe change, and the feelings we have around it, is all about perspective. I know I’ve read somewhere before about how resistant people are to change and how difficult they can find it. I’ve also mentioned before that I know people find it challenging to try a new hairdresser or doctor. Obviously these are huge generalisations, but I’m pretty sure they’re not without basis.

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Forest floor fungi…

So, if change is viewed as a challenging thing, or even if there’s a subconscious barrier to evolving or progressing, maybe it’s all about taking a different viewpoint. Of course, there are two very distinct types of change – forced change or perceived forced change, or change that you undergo by choice. Neither is necessarily easier than the other, although there is the distinct disadvantage of surprise that can accompany forced change! Given that change is probably up there with death and taxes in the category of the inevitable, perhaps it is more about our approach to change that we find it challenging at times. I think if we expect change, it’s easier to accept it. And if we can accept it, we can embrace it, even revel in it.

While my big change this week is something that I ultimately expected, it kind of crept up on me. I had a few warning signs along the way, but each time took the path of least resistance and kept plodding along. But as each little change has come forth over the past little while, even the ones that have caught me off guard have been allowed to settle in to my routine. And while sometimes it has been difficult to block out the noise from the naysayers… (Are you sure this is the right thing? I couldn’t leave without having a new job to go to… Oh, you will probably come back to it after a break… You know there will be things you hate in other jobs too?), I have become more and more determined to follow through with the change. There will be roadblocks; there will be discomfort; there will be challenge. But the only way to move is forward. So rather than be afraid of change, I’m looking accept it. Definitely to embrace it. And who knows? Maybe I’ll even revel in it!

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