Mayday Mayday

May Day & mayday are two different things, but we talk about both today.

May Day, celebrated on the first of May every year, is a traditional springtime celebration adopted as International Workers’ Day. Traditions vary by country by often involve singing & dancing.

Mayday is “used as a distress call in international radio-telephone communications” (source). The term is most commonly associated with aviation, but is utilized by military & first responders, if necessary.

Career Crisis Management

If there’s someone who can talk about not having direction & not knowing “where to go from here” it’s me. I dubbed myself a jack of all trades early on & took pride in holding many part time jobs at once. Now, entering my late twenties, I’m saddened by the fact that I have (really) nothing to show for all the work I did.

Reinventing yourself is never easy & each time I’ve tried to make a major career move since graduating college, unknown factors were my ultimate downfall. That’s not to say it will happen to everyone & I’m still really no one to take advice from, but if you can learn something from my story to me makes it worth telling…

I entered college as a secondary education / English dual major & talked myself out of it because the 101 courses for both majors were way more than I could handle. I switched to what would become my B.A., Writing Arts. I originally declared a political science minor, saying I would write campaign speeches. Then I switched to sociology & graduated with honors in that department. Writing Arts & Sociology forced me to analyze people, places & things in way most people would consider obsessive. I’m already completely obsessive, so doing so came naturally to me & made me happy to do. I became a tutor at the University Writing Center & began my career as an educator.

I worked for two years as a student tutor. I got so much more out of that job that I gave, I was amazed they were paying me. (I only later realized that how a career feels.) I went from silently taking notes in the the corner of staff meetings to presenting with a panel of co-workers at interstate conventions.

After college I worked clerical & food service for the money. I thought having financial stability was all I needed to focus on because that’s what everyone was struggling with. I didn’t think about going back to school because I didn’t know “what I wanted to be” & I didn’t have any money left. I moved back in with my dad & my friends all miles away because I had none at “home.” I worked. & worked. & worked. & 4 years later, I wish I had worked more on myself than at either of those jobs.

I’m the type of person to give a 150% to an employer who’s barely willing to give me the minimum of what any employee like me deserves. Even when I know people or employers don’t deserve some of what I do to help, I do it anyway. Most of the time I justify it with “for my co-worker’s sake.” For my sake, I’ve since left both jobs to resume my career in education.

The first time I almost left both jobs to resume my career in education was a financial blow & I have those two jobs that I stayed on part-time to thank for keeping me afloat. At first, I was hired by the daycare to be an aftercare aide. Then they asked me to cover as the second aide in the pre-k room. Next time I knew I was one of not enough full-time aides in the Nursery. Monday-Friday 7am-4pm, you would likely find me in a rainbow room surrounded by babies. The job was just barely bearable. My co-workers, and free pizza & Burger King were the only reasons that job was worth being paid less than 10$ / hour to been thrown up & peed on by humans more times than I care to admit. As unbearable & unfair as my terms of employment were, I stuck out an entire school year & summer program – for the sake of the kids.

Returning to office work was devastating to say the least. I was good at it. My co-workers liked me. Wawa was right next door. But, I wasn’t learning anything. I wasn’t getting anything out of it. Only a few months after starting that stunt, I announced I would be ending it soon to go “full time” at one of the two of those jobs from the beginning of the story. I diligently co-ran a staff of high school & college students. I was usually the one they talked to, if they talked to either me or the Manager. Hearing what I heard, learning what I did, I’m shocked & ashamed at the American education system. I couldn’t shake the fact that I couldn’t help them improve in the ways I wanted to in the only environment I knew them in.

By no fault of my own, I “bled” payroll as Assistant Manager, contributing to profit loss. I was told this year I could not return in the same manner, but rather as a freelance consultant paid at a flat rate. I filed for unemployment. Dug myself a little hole in the dirt & laid there until my benefits ran out.

At this point it’s January 2019 & I am finally completing my application with ESS. In early February, I attended the group interview & in person training that I anxiously awaiting since starting my application. February 20th was my first day in a school as an ESS employee. By March 4th I was officially a permanent Special Education Teacher’s Aide through MissionOne.

I’m happily employed full-time, but I’m not done yet. Working in a school always makes me want to do more. Be higher up on the food chain. Take on more responsibilities. I think about becoming a teacher, or a speech therapist. I think about going into administration & school social work. I think about a lot of possible avenues because for any of them I will have to go back to school – which scares me. I’m still figuring it out & you will to.

You are not alone.

Always follow your heart, but don’t deny your gut instincts. Do not allow others to destroy your dreams by poking holes in it. Poke your own holes in it & fill them will answers & ideas that can’t be broken down as easily. Learn from your mistakes. & Remember you’re either moving forward, or you’re falling behind.

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