Full-time Airstream living or become a dean for a new, innovative school in my city?
But first some background:
When I found out I was pregnant with my first daughter, nearly 4 years ago, I wasn’t prepared for the life change. My teaching career was full-time and fulfilling. But pregnancy and the subsequent birth completely rocked my world and perception of my purpose in life. It just didn’t seem possible to hold down a full-time job AND full-time parenting. So I didn’t try and found happiness in this new direction for myself and my sweet, growing family. Several years and a second baby later I’ve found a harmonious balance between full-time parenting and part-time university teaching.
Lately, however, we’ve been inspired by families who travel full-time around the country in an Airstream or other travel trailer. Our general direction for the past several years has been to simplify, embrace minimalism, and define our values as a family. And we both have jobs that can travel with us; my husband can find a traveling Speech Pathologist position and lately my university has been having me only teach online (due to having my baby this spring.) Neither possessions nor jobs need to tie us down at this point in our lives. And simplifying further so that we can focus on our passions and family is SO APPEALING.
But an unfathomable and unexpected job offer fell in my lap last week, leaving me bewildered and uncertain of which direction to take. A former colleague of mine is starting a new school, and he asked me to be one of the founding deans. His offer over a simple cup of coffee at a local bookshop completely sidelined me. My head started to ache between my eyes, and I lost my ability to respond. Flattered? Yes. Shocked? Undeniably. It would be an opportunity to enact change in my community, to respond and work toward a new vision of K-12 education, and to lead in an area in which I am passionate.
My response to and subsequent emotions have ran the gamut since the offer last week. Do I accept a job (even one with a “flexible” full-time schedule) that would require me finding childcare for my children? Do I have the energy and the innate personality to excel at a new, challenging position, manage my home, and provide loving support to my family? Would this new job meet my creative and mental needs more than teaching a few classes online per semester? What is my true calling in this life?
Although I’m wrestling with the potential implications of such a life altering decision, I hope to reach a decision soon.
Have you ever faced a decision between two vastly different life paths? How did you resolve your personal and career goals?