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I have always been so envious of folks who have jobs that they love, and by that I mean that I always sort of hated them.

You see, as much as I enjoyed medical transcription and getting to be the fancy pants know-it-all about medications and how to spell them and bizarre medical conditions and how to spell them and always being in the know about what current plague was going around and what medications to take for it, I could never really say that I loved it.

Now, make no mistake, I LOVE LOVE LOVED a LOT about the job…

  • I loved that I could do it in my pajamas
  • I loved that I could do it while I nursed a baby
  • I loved that I could do it and still run socks to a kid who forgot socks for PE
  • I loved that I was mostly the boss of me
  • I loved that I didn’t have to deal with that whole people thing

But, somewhere around year 10, when I was still making the same scroungy 8 cents per line that I was when I started, I began to long for something different, even though I wasn’t actually prepared to do anything about it…but I still daydreamed about one day.

In 2010, I decided to go back to school and finish the Associates Degree I had started 25 years earlier, which I did.  I even donned cap and ridiculously bright and shiny blue gown and attended graduation in the gym on the Hillsboro campus of Hill College like a fancy pants…and then went to WHATABURGER for a celebratory post graduation dinner!

Like I said…fancy pants.

Unfortunately, the first semester I was back in school,  the whole bottom dropped out of the Texas education system (of course) and that, coupled with the fact that my next move would involve internships and student teaching, made my decision to stop after getting my Associates an easy one…but I still daydreamed about one day…

One day when I wasn’t working every waking second…holidays…evenings…weekends…when my family ate Christmas treats without me…

One day when I could get out of that office…

One day when I could know that my paycheck would pay the bills…

One day when I could do something…ANYTHING…else.

So, as the year 2013 began, so also began my quest for a new job outside the walls of the casa and I began to apply for every job that our local school district would post.  Some days it seemed I would spend more time applying for OTHER jobs than doing my ACTUAL job, but I was on a mission!

I went on interview after interview, each time leaving feeling quite positive I had it…and each time being a little devastated when I didn’t.  A few times I wondered if anyone was ever going to hire a 49-year-old, almost totally grey, overweight grandma-looking person who had spent the greater part of the previous 20 years working at home doing something people don’t even know what it is…and one time, after a particularly good interview for a position that I felt was absolutely perfect for me, I cried and cried and took it very personally when they told me they’d gone with another applicant.

After that, I decided perhaps it would be a good idea to stop trying to drive the train and let God have it and I continued to apply to every single job posting, but stopped allowing doubt and anxiety to be factors. When interviews went well but I still didn’t get the job, I chalked it up as further practice…and knew that the job for me would come.

And, in June, it came and I joined the ranks of paraprofessionals in our local school district…and I was excited and scared to death…because not only did I have no idea what exactly it was I’d be doing…

I would have to do it in real clothes…

and shoes…

in an office…

outside the walls…

with people.

Thank the good Loward, I knew immediately that I was in love with the job…the people…and my office full of ALL THE THINGS from address labels to paper clips to yard sticks.  I embraced every aspect of what the job entailed and set out to make the position my own. Early in the year, after seeing my boss’s Paraprofessional of the Year award on her wall, I said to another coworker friend, “I’m going to get me one of those.”

And guess what?

Last Friday I found out that I will have one of those for MY WALL.

FUN, right?!?!

And then someone said something about someone coming by to take my picture…

panic.

Here it was casual Friday, which for me amounted to Dress Like a Server at Olive Garden Day (white shirt, khakis, black shoes and WHITE SOCKS OMG I THOUGHT MY PANTS WOULD HIDE THEM), hair long overdue for a cut and pulled up in a barette, with stray hairs flying around like crazy town, so needless to say I wasn’t very excited about that prospect.

Toward the end of the day, with people in attendance to witness, one of our staff popped in the office and said “We are going to need you to come down to the conference room.”

“No one better be taking my picture. No pictures!” I exclaimed dramatically, like a paraprofessional of the year who has been hounded by the paparazzi.

“Um,” she said, stone faced, “we just need you to fix the projector.”

 

And that, folks, is how the paraprofessional of the year will keep her feet on the ground.

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