Apparently, I’m a Control Freak

I met this week with the career coach I alluded to earlier. I had put this off for a lot of reasons, the most obvious being the cost (which is a pretty average hourly rate for any one-on-one consultation with a professional, but to me that’s $ that could be spent on groceries, rent, or the occasional night out).

I liked him and I think it went well. One of the things we did was establish a list of my values through a series of what-if questions meant to reveal the things I hold dear. He went through his notes last night and sent me a list. Here are some highlights:

  • Learning
  • Teaching
  • Balance
  • Creative control
  • Beauty
  • Art
  • Mastery
  • Culture
  • Travel/adventure/exploring

The value of ‘control’ kept coming up over and over. My favorite job ever was teaching in a summer program for middle schoolers, where I was able to design my own humanities curriculum and teach it without close supervision. I also organized a circus arts program in the afternoons and directed a performance for families and fellow students each of the three summers I worked there.

There is something wonderful about having creative license and oversight in your job, and I realize not all teachers are allowed this. However, even running one’s own classroom is a certain type of freedom that is rare in the corporate world. I’ve noticed at my job that the less responsibility I’m given, the less sure I feel of myself. The more responsibility I have (as long as it’s not right up against the watchful eye of a boss) the more confident I feel.

As I think about what career(s) I want to pursue in the long term, running my own show (whether that’s being a teacher, librarian, researcher, business owner, etc.) is important to me.  As scary as it may be, I want to make my own decisions and suffer the consequences.  Granted, I want to do this in a relatively secure job environment, if possible.  I guess you could say that I want to take risks but have them turn out well 🙂 .

How did you get into your current career?  Does your career embody your values?  Do you have any advice for me?

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