What Makes a Dream Job?

Everyone has their dream job. Perhaps, for some, it's a fat paycheck and flexible hours. For others it might be the corner office with an ocean view. Being able to explore out-of-the-box ideas and explore ones creativity may be a draw for many.

Although I wouldn't describe my job as my "dream job" it comes pretty close. My paycheck isn't going to make me a millionaire but it allows for a comfortable life for my family. My work calendar follows the schedule of the school year with weekends, holidays, and summers off which I am grateful for it allows me to spend quality time with my family. Each day comes with it's unique challenges which allows me to be creative and flex my problem solving skills for the betterment of the students I serve. 

Yet, out of all of this, my dream job is being able to work with an awesome group of people who I consider my "work family". We act like siblings bickering at times, but having each others back when need be. We find ourselves working collaboratively and cohesively. One compensates where the other is not comfortable. The others support when one can't do it alone. Each of us bringing our unique talents together to provide the best support for not only our students, but the entire school community. Some of us have worked so long together we'll finish each others thoughts, and even read each other's thoughts from facial expressions we make from across the table. 

A few months ago, a few opportunities for promotion for school counselor positions at the district office opened up. Two of my colleagues, including myself, applied for these positions. In preparation for the interviews, we helped each other prepare. We speculated on possible interview questions, consulted each other on format of resumes and whether or not to solicit letters of recommendation.

I wasn't quite sure I wanted to work in the district office. I wasn't sure how I felt about not working with students so much, but working with adults most of my days. Yet, I put myself out there. I figured, let God's will be done. I allowed myself to go through the process with faith it would work out in my best interest. 

The interviews happened. I sat in a panel of 7 people: administrators, directors, and my counselor colleagues from other school sites. I felt good about my interview. The interviewers smiled back at me as I answered their questions. The 30 minutes I sat with them went by like a flash.

My two colleagues received calls with an offer of employment. I got the "thanks for applying but, the position was offered to someone else" call. 

Of course I was disappointed. Was I not good enough? Did I ramble during my interview? Were my examples not enough to show I had the experience to do the job well? Perhaps, the interview panel felt I wasn't ready to leave a school site. Maybe they know, as I know in my heart, my talents are better used with direct services to students and their families at a school site.

With two of my colleagues  leaving I was a bit distraught. I've worked with for over 10 years. Ok, I was not "a bit" distraught. I was a mess. We did the ugly cry at work. Yes, we even cry together. We all cried for different reasons. For me, it was the anxiety of not being able to see my two colleagues every day. I'd miss their laughs and jokes, and their lunch time stories. I'd miss the comfort of being able to be me with two of my colleagues who have been so supportive in my professional growth. 

Would our team still function? Would we still be able to work well together? With hiring new people, would we still work cohesively?

I allowed myself to have my moment of separation anxiety. But I had to snap back into work mode. I had to remind myself of my 4 other colleagues who have been a blessing to work with. We will still compensate where the other is not comfortable. We will still support each other when one can't do it alone. We will still share laughs and stories at lunch. We will still bicker like siblings and have each other's back when need be. And when we hire our new team members, we'll be sure to choose those who value teamwork and cohesiveness as we do.

It is my hope that everyone has the opportunity to have the "dream job" of being able to work with people who make your job worth coming to everyday. The tasks and responsibilities of any job can be demanding and stressful, yet the companionship, camaraderie, and support of caring colleagues can make work more enjoyable and rewarding.