Here’s a question for you… do you know where your happy places are?
Now, before you answer that – as I am sure certain things jumped straight into your mind – think carefully. Really think. Don’t answer with what you are supposed to say. What everyone says. Just let yourself think.
Yesterday, as my post spelled out, I was not in a great place. I haven’t been for weeks.
If we rewind six months, I was contemplating my future. Unsure of what to do, I spent weeks…months not deciding anything, and feeling the pressure of the decision.
In the end I chose to go back to my career. I was swayed by the job I was offered and the money it would give me. I made a plan. How I would use the money wisely this time to build the future I want. How I would take the job offered to me to ease myself back in, rebuild confidence and learn. Find myself.
There and then, as 1st September loomed closer, I felt positive. Excited. Nervous, yes, but up for the challenge.
From day one, it has been awful.
Everything I had been told was a lie. Whilst I had been told the road was tough, I accepted the role on fabrications of ‘solid teams’, ‘high staff morale’ and ‘recent improvements’. I was swayed by ‘major investment’, ‘forward thinking management’ and ‘good behaviour’.
Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope and Hell No.
From day one, I saw the divided senior team of which I was supposed to be part. I wasn’t part of either side. I wasn’t invited to meetings. I was ignored.
The rooms hadn’t been renovated. Instead, nothing worked. No whiteboard, electrical or otherwise. No ability to print.
No key, no pass, no induction.
Timetables and rooms were wrong. Resources were given two days in advance of teaching and yet I was expected to be leading a department who had not been led for years.
Behaviour…. well. They ignore you. They bully, fight, swear. They’re obnoxious and intimidating. But it’s ok, ‘once they get to know you they’re good lads.’
What has been made apparent from my five weeks there, is actually, there is no team. There is no care. There is no leadership. People will tell you they feel sorry for your situation and then load you up with an unobtainable and excessive workload.
Within two weeks, I’d burst in to tears. I wanted to walk out. I was told about how ‘mental health’s an important part of the school’ and maybe I was ‘expecting too much of myself as a perfectionist’. I later found out that this leader had huffed and puffed when she’d found out I was upset and had to speak to me. More lies.
The new academy is hopefully taking over soon (I was told they already had.) But, one teary outburst and lots of happiness since, I know that my card is already marked no matter what they say.
The last few Sundays, working all day, I’ve been miserable. Snapping at my children. Fighting with Wildcard. Crying. Feeling sick.
Tuesday, I woke up ill. The flu-like symptoms that had threatened descended. I planned one day off then back in. At 6am, my whole body screamed differently.
And so it continued.
Whilst I was unwell, I realised that probably half of it was stress. I didn’t want to get out of bed. Work dominated my dreams and waking moments.
After a few heartfilled conversations with friends, family and ex-colleagues, I made my decision and called the doctors. I have two weeks off and a resignation letter ready to send.
I’ve probably thrown away my career. Not sure I care anymore. I’ve cried more about letting family down and worrying about money. It has passed for now.
So, step one complete, I’ve forced myself out of bed.
Yesterday, I made myself pick the apples on my dad’s tree. I waded through 6ft nettles and weeds. I got stung and scratched. But I felt a sense of achievement.
I sat in my happy place – a place I have avoided- and I wrote in my dad’s journal for the first time in 3 years.
And, gazing at the basket of apples, journal on my knee: I felt at peace.