As many of you know, I’m now a Youth Transition Specialist for the Tigard/Tualatin School District. I knew there would be many changes to my schedule and lifestyle going in…I haven’t worked full time since the eighties. Of course, I usually had three or four jobs—all which I loved—and often ended up working far more than forty hours a week on a regular basis, but full time on one job? Not so much. Things I’ve learned so far.

  • The most difficult part isn’t getting up early–I’ve been an early riser for years. And it’s not getting up early and having to be somewhere because I did that many mornings—meeting friends at the gym or at a coffee shop to write. No. It’s getting up early, having to be somewhere AND LOOKING PROFESSIONAL. As in hair done and make up on. That’s the most difficult part of this whole full time business. What’s up with that nonsense?
  • The days are shorter. I don’t know what kind of metaphysical space/time continuum this is, but it’s a very real thing. I hesitated bringing this one up because I have smarty pants friends who will display a subtle, “welcome to my world,” kind of attitude which is not what I need. But my bestie was a stay at home mom like myself and is now working full time at a job she loves and she totally understands that there’s something fishy going on with the hours in a day scale. I love her.
  • Prepping is EVERYTHING. Clothes laid out the night before. Lunches made on Sunday and put in jars for the week. Menu, lists and grocery shopping are all done on the weekends. All of this gives me the space I need to make sure I have time to meditate, workout, study, and hopefully write/edit. (That starts next week)
  • My entire life-long accumulation of skills has prepared me for this job–even the things that had no monetary value. I meet with businesses and non-profits, engage with the community, talk with teens on a daily basis, problem solve with people in my department, write lesson plans and teach kids how to set and implement goals. I have to think outside the box and be spontaneous while still tracking my schedule and keeping meticulous notes. Considering all my experiences, from working at the Redmond Humane Society to being a stay at home mom, from homeschooling to mentoring teens, from all my volunteer work to writing both fiction and non-fiction, from speaking engagements and publicity to creating curriculum for 60 children of diverse ages and abilities, from going back to school to just juggling my crazy life and schedule… all of this has led to a unique skill-set that is perfect for this job.

Like Mrs. Doubtfire once said, “I. Am. Job.”

And something else I have learned? Having a job that I love and that fulfills me is incredible. But realizing that my life experiences have value…absolutely priceless.