Friday, November 30, 2007

Metaphorical Journeys

Four years ago, our mortgage office got some kind of inspirational pamphlet or something. It described a company with this great extended metaphor [and I'm sure I'm butchering it completely]:

Everyone in the company is in a big canoe. Each person has a paddle and must contribute to moving the canoe. If someone doesn't pull their weight, everyone else will have to pick up their slack. Each member of the team needs to understand the destination and how to work with the others to reach it.

So then you have to ask yourself, Do you want to be in the canoe? You might need to get out of this canoe and find another canoe that's going where you want to go.

This concept really stuck with me, but it took me awhile to admit I hated being in a corporate canoe. I got in just for a fun ride, and though I enjoyed paddling alongside good and funny people, I didn't want to go with them to Corporate Island Paradise.

So I left the canoe. I didn't even wait until we were near another island or another canoe, and I didn't even check to see how deep the water was; I just jumped out.

It was scary, but exhilarating. Where would I go? What would I do? Could I swim well enough to find another canoe? [This metaphor stuff is fun!]


Fast forward. I've survived a capsize in piranha-infested waters [that would be my first year], I've made friends with fellow paddlers, and seen both good and bad paddlers exit the canoe.

But here's the thing. When I keep my head down and focused, I don't mind what I'm doing in this work canoe. But when I take a breath and look around me, I don't always like who I'm with or where we're going, or how we're getting there. It seems like instead of one big canoe, we're a flotilla of individual canoes. And though everything looks peachy from far away, close up you'll find some people not moving at all, others moving sideways and just wasting energy, and some turned around going the other direction. Some clueless person is up front in a yacht telling us what to do, while our paddles are splintering and cracking under our hands.

I've begun to feel that I'm outgrowing my canoe. I'm not patient enough to wait for the long-promised new, supposedly unbreakable canoes and paddles. I'm working hard in my own canoe, but it turns out that maybe I'm spinning in circles.

So do I jump out again, in uncharted waters? I've done it before, am I brave enough to do it again? What's waiting for me in a new island chain--more piranhas? Dolphins who will support me, all friendly? Better canoes? Better leaders? Competent paddlers beside me?


Schoolgal said...

Congrats on the month! I am trying to get off using dairy products for a month and I hope I am just as successful.

Your story is like the book, "Who Moved My Cheese?".
Are you talking about a new school or new career?? Either way, you are young enough to explore new horizons.

Check to see if you can take a leave of absence without pay for personal reasons so you can explore a new career. If you can, then you can freeze your seniority and pension. I left teaching to explore another option, but it was when the economy was in a recession. I was able to come back to teaching and even got a new school which I liked until a new principal came along. Then I transferred to a school closer to my house.

You may also want to check out if you have "right of return" after a year, or you can always apply to another DoE school or charter school. I really believe a charter school would scoop you up in a second.

I hope your future plans include Boyfriend. Guys like that are "keepers".

ms. frizzle said...

Read this, please: