Following Your Bliss

This morning’s Boston Globe contained an article about a (former) software engineer who had recently turned teaching yoga full-time.  Struck by similarities to our circumstances, got me thinking about my own career.

It is not a secret that recent developments in the field of education are not all that enjoyable for practitioners. We worry if our next false step will lead to public reprimand, or worse. We deal in the complexities of humans, not in the predictability of widgets. Those who think we can easily apply all of the manufacturing or business principles – the very ideas that make for successful businesses – need to consider the human condition more seriously. There are just so many things over which a teacher has control and that is what makes education interesting.

In my 20s, I was at turns a bookkeeper and a customer support person. I held a dream of getting an MBA and making my fortune. It was, however, not to be. The software company for which I worked went belly-up leaving me – and many others – without 2 months of pay and with no job. Without the credentials of a B-school graduate, I was left at a crossroad: either accept a secretarial position and start again, or really start again – find what makes you happy.

It took several years of introspection to get me to the point where I yielded to the draw education has for me. But, once the decision to return to school was made, I never looked backward. Awkward moments at corporate gatherings aside (at that time, educators were leaving teaching to carve our a career in corporate), a career in education has been for me, the bliss I was seeking.

I tried those private sector career moves before I came to teaching. The pundits and politicians can try to erode the enthusiasm and wonder with which I approached teaching from a start now more than 20 years ago. Following the one thing I was meant to do has been a joy a privilege, worth more than the tangible trappings of a more lucrative career.

Without regret I have, and continue to follow my bliss.

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