I believe the difference between a job and a career can be determined by the answer to one question: Why am I here?
I have a multitude of reasons for being in my present position. 1) the obvious “love of children”, 2) the desire to have a hand in the creation of future adults that I like to work with and socialize with, 3) the rush I get from planning curriculum, meetings, conferences, etc. and seeing the finished product/event, 4) the inherent collaboration, 5) the ever-present opportunities for leadership…I could go on and on. Being a district education administrator is one assignment of many I have had over the years that constitute my career.
And I have had jobs. I can sum up my reason for having these jobs in two words: economic survival. While very necessary for being punctual, towing the company line, doing grunt work, shaking hands, kissing babies (you get the picture), economic survival is hardly the heady stuff college students dream about when studying late at night for that big final.
I chose to go for my dream, and it has made all the difference (Thank you, Robert Frost!). I wake up every morning knowing my purpose and believing it is the most worthwhile of all endeavors. I yearn for this purpose for my children. I want Sara to know, without doubt, that getting that story just right when she gets that gig as a journalist is important to our democracy – that free speech is a cornerstone to all that we hold dear as a nation. When Jack protects a game preserve, or arrests the poacher, I want him to feel the connection that all humanity has to nature and to know that his life’s work – his career – is necessary to the continuation of our planet.