Surprised by work…

(When you're not great at shooting selfies while driving, transform them into sketches.... ) While I did ask my son how I looked before I left for my first day on the job, I didn't think about shooting a photo -- until I reached my first STOP sign. I look more happy than anxious. :)
(When you’re not great at shooting selfies while driving, transform them into sketches…. ) While I did ask my son how I looked before I left for my first day on the job, I didn’t think about shooting a photo — until I reached my first STOP sign. I look more happy than anxious. ūüôā

What surprised me about my first day of work was not what it entailed but the “when.”

I had long entertained the desire to work for my alma mater, and by the time my final year of teaching ended this spring, I already had numerous applications in the university’s system, all positions for which I was qualified. One job, in particular, caught my attention because it seemed to require every aspect of my eclectic background — an ability to understand technology¬†and science, an ability to write and edit, and an ability to work with upper level students. I had taught middle and high school students Algebra and English for 15 years, often using technology to do so, but I had come into teaching through my journalism background, and I came into journalism through my passion for science and my desire to communicate environmental issues to the general public.

Within the job description was this detail: “translate highly technical information and scientific jargon into descriptions the general public can understand,” and I felt as if I were reading my own words. A large part of the job included acting as a writing coach to a dozen or so interns, mostly upper level undergraduates or law students. I believed that this position was a fit for me — but I had thought that about numerous job descriptions without¬†much result.

As weeks passed after submitting my application, I wasn’t overly hopeful¬†and¬†was having communications with a couple other businesses that were displaying interest. Those potential employers scheduled a series of phone interviews, and I had just completed one of them when my cell phone rang again. It was the university’s¬†Office of Technology Licensing.

Thirty minutes later, I had a paper filled with scribbled information and a smile on my face. I had been completely honest, completely myself; I had answered questions and then asked my own. I liked the voice on the other end of the phone, and the voice seemed to like me. I hung up with a face-to-face job interview scheduled three days later.

The interview was nothing short of miraculous.¬†As a teacher, I enjoyed the knowledge that I was making a difference in the lives of my students every day, and the thought of doing just “any old job to earn a buck and benefits” didn’t excite me at all. (See “Why I teach…”¬† ¬†for more insight.) On top of my own efforts to make a positive impact while teaching, I had worked with my seniors on their Capstone Projects, projects in which they had to change the world in some way. In the interview, I realized that¬†making the world a better place was the vision statement for¬†this office at the university. Changing the world in some way every day would be my job.

So when the director asked me why I wanted the position, I honestly (and, perhaps naively) said,

“This job is like my fairy-tale ending. It is the culmination of everything I have done so far — the science, the journalism, the teaching, and even my desire to change¬†the world. That has been the goal of my seniors’ Capstone Projects, and now it can be my daily goal, too.”

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