I’m in the middle of a big professional change that can be summarized in a one word:
Transitions, while potentially exciting, are also a time of unsteadiness, uncertainty, and unfinished business.
Big changes on the professional horizon
Last week, I let the school where I have been employed as a high school counselor for the past 10.5 years know that I would not be returning for the ‘23-’24 school year. Instead, after a summer of much needed rest, I will be increasing my hours at the group therapy practice where I’ve worked one night a week for the past three years and focusing my remaining energies on growing Teen Savvy Coaching, this new venture I kicked off a few months ago that is getting traction.
I know this is the right move. Three jobs is too many, and I’m eager for the time and flexibility to grow professionally in areas that are newer to me. I’m proud to say that I’ve worked in schools–as a classroom teacher, administrator, or counselor–for the past 26 years. I’m proud of the difference I have made for many kids and families, and I’m grateful for the difference my school communities have made in my life over the years. AND I’m also ready for some new challenges.
With big changes come big emotions
When I told my supervisors of my plans to leave at the end of the school year, I got a little teary, not because I was waffling on my decision, but because I know there are plenty of aspects to the school counseling job that I will miss, most notably the people. I’ve spent this past week quietly letting a few colleagues and students know of my plans, and, in more than a couple cases, we’ve become teary together during those conversations. Talk about tugging at heartstrings.
And also this week, I’ve lined up two new speaking engagements for Teen Savvy Coaching, had two incredible networking calls, and booked several new coaching appointments. This is to say that business is growing.
There are still about 5 months remaining in the school year–which is a pretty long window for a goodbye. I wish I could both speed up time and savor every last moment all at once. Meanwhile, I’m waking up too early and having trouble falling asleep because of the many balls I’m juggling in my head, thanks to all of the change that’s on the horizon for me. While I’m looking forward to a lot of the end result, this process is making me anxious. I’m preoccupied with my long to-do list, the heart swells of mixed emotions I’m experiencing, and my uncertainty about how my future will actually look. I mean–I know what I HOPE for. But will my hopes be as satisfying as I anticipate?
And so I return to my scary one-word story: transition.
Here I am–in the thick of one–a transition I made the conscious CHOICE to undertake that is still rocking my world.
adolescence also a time of big change and emotions
I think about the kids and families I work with in all three of my professional capacities. Adolescence is also a HUGE transition, for young people and for their caregivers. And, unlike my current professional shift, the transition through adolescence isn’t one that’s undertaken with premeditation. Rather, the human body, with its own unannounced timeline, just begins remodeling–a fact that brings about surprising physical changes, new ways of thinking and seeing the world, and an intensification of emotions and relationships. The child and their family have no choice but to go along for the often uncertain, unsteady ride.
Is the story all anxiety and fear? Absolutely not. Just like my work transition, the adolescent years are filled with plenty of light, hope, excitement, newness, and possibility. But sometimes, the poignancy, the big emotions, and ongoing need for reacclimation can be overwhelming.
feeling like a teen myself
As I make and execute plans to help teens and their families in some new and exciting ways, I’m feeling a particular connection to my clients and students–past, present, and future. This exhilarating and debilitating blend of thrill and fear is not easy to hold. What I know with absolute certainty though, because I’ve seen it with my own eyes thousands of times, is that people (of all ages) have an inspiring ability to grow and change, even if the process feels bumpy. And when people make changes in line with their values and callings, the end result is usually what’s meant to be.
So, it’s with nerve-citement that I share my kinda scary story, the beginning of which took place months and months ago when I started putting the pieces in place to open Teen Savvy Coaching. This middle part–the transition–this is where the scary stuff is going down. That said, just as I have confidence that my students and clients can navigate the peaks and valleys of adolescence and come out better for it, I have a hunch that the ending to my own professional story is going to be a happy one.