Take This Job & Shove It. Or Love It?


Teacher in Classroom

For years, I hated my teaching job.

I bemoaned my maltreatment and could spin myself into a horrible funk about how poorly I was treated and how the system sucked. My colleagues and I indulged in orgies of complaint.

I fantasized about quitting.

Yet when I thought about looking for another job, starting over somewhere else, perhaps going from the frying pan into the fire—I felt worse.

I had quit jobs before. And things had worked out fine. But in this case, because the idea of leaving felt bad, I could tell quitting wasn’t the answer. Being miserable was getting old. If I wasn’t going to quit the job, I knew I had to quit my resistance first.

How to soften my attitude?

I decided to stop complaining so much. I got into the habit of appreciating what I liked rather than pushing against what I didn’t. Even if it meant focusing on small things:

I like the free Post-its.

I like the trees outside my office.

I like my office mate’s wit.

I like that I can grade papers at home in my pajamas.

And then I could see some of the bigger issues to appreciate: Many of my students lived in rough neighborhoods, struggled with poverty and even had escaped oppressive countries. They were thankful to be there. Couldn’t I be too?

(And years later, when I was diagnosed with a brain tumor, the gratitude habit served me well: I’m grateful I didn’t fall when I had that first seizure. I love that my surgeon is a specialist in my type of tumor. I’m thankful my body can heal.)

It was amazing: there was so much more to appreciate than I’d imagined. And gratitude snowballed. It became easier, even second nature, to be grateful.

Strange, but my job seemed to meet up with my new outlook. I got offered the classes and schedule I wanted. Suddenly, administrators started helping me out instead of getting in my way. My lessons came alive; I was more relaxed and creative in the classroom because I was happier. It even seemed easier to grade the incessant stream of papers. My evaluations were off the charts.

Through appreciation, I fell in love with the job I thought I hated.

I used to think I’d be happy when good things happened. Now I see that happiness makes things good.



Relephant Read:

The Healing Machine.


Author: Kate evans

Editor: Renee Jahnke

Image: Audio Luci-Flickr



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Karen Aug 1, 2015 7:48pm

Yes! Vibrate happiness, more happiness comes. Appreciate, appreciate, appreciate.

laurie Jul 30, 2015 2:42pm

This is so true! I’m reminded of the quote that gets at how we see the world, not as it is, but as WE are (paraphrasing)! So empowering to know we can change everything with a different perspective!

Marcella Friel Jul 30, 2015 12:31pm

Nice piece, Kate. I’ve often said of jobs that I can’t leave them until I love them. Because if we don’t love, we don’t fully let go. This is a great example of that.

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Kate Evans is the author of Call It Wonder: An Odyssey of Love, Sex, Spirit, and Travel, a memoir about chucking it all to live on the road, having a brain tumor, talking to dead people, and loving both men and women. She is also the author of two novels, a collection of poems, and a book about teaching. She holds a PhD, an MFA, and an honorary degree from life. As an editor, ghostwriter, and writing coach, she loves helping people unleash and shape their stories. She lives half the year in Baja California Sur, Mexico and the other half she’s a gypsy. She’s grateful to be learning that, as Foucault said,“We are freer than we think.” You can connect with her on her website, her blog, on Facebook and via Twitter.