My oldest was 5 when I started him in soccer. Turned out he had a real talent for it and caught on quickly. Naturally we encouraged him to continue. (Later he and and sister, Bear would play on the same "boy's" high school soccer team. Go Bear! Kick down those doors!) But when we moved to this town, there was no soccer unless you drove 22 miles up river or paid bridge toll two ways across the river where you had to be quick to sign up on the crowded teams.
I went to the organizers and asked why there weren't any teams in our town if enough kids from our town were signing up for teams outside of town. The lady looked and me and smiled. "We'd love for your town to have teams but there doesn't seem to be anyone willing to take that on." I'm sure she thought that would do the trick and the pesky over the river mom would go away. No way. I said "What if I run the sign-ups myself?" The next thing I knew, I was not only signing kids up, I was finding coaches, equipment and arranging for field use. One of those proud parent moments that you later ask yourself... what was I thinking? But I managed to get it all scraped together except for the field.
At the time I was a "meat wrapper" at our local market. It was one of my favorite job titles of all time. People go "Meat Wrapper? What's that?" Duh... you wrap the meat the butcher cuts. Guys with knives, saws, slicers and great senses of humor. Does it get any better than that? ha. I think I had the world's best butcher boss and I loved that job as much as I love the one I currently have. It was hard for me to leave, but in the end worked out because I would have lost my boss anyway and not been happy anymore.
So I called the school and arranged a meeting on my lunch hour. I knew the principal of course because of my kids. I had applied for a job there previously as a janitor, which I did not get. A guy did. Couldn't you see that coming? When I asked the principal if there was anything I could have said or done to sell myself better, he laughed and said no. So I was pretty relaxed about speaking with him. I was glad that I had decided to wear a vest that day so that I could present myself well.
When I was invited into the office, the Bear's teacher was sitting there with the principal. I recalled that the last time we had spoken was when the Bear had beaten up a boy bully in her class. What had the Bear done now? When in doubt, fake it. I smiled. There were hellos all around and they began to ask questions. I answered as honestly as I could. It seemed an odd conversation mostly aimed at me and my head was circling the block for reasons. I played along. They stood up, hands were shaken and I was thanked for my interest and told that they would let me know. At this point it dawned on me that I had just been interviewed for a job. Yes, I can be a bit slow to catch on. I opted not to mention the soccer field and beat a hasty retreat.
The whole reason I had applied for the janitor's job was because the school is one of the few local jobs that offer retirement and insurance. I was not getting younger and my brood of four needed as much insurance as the two of us could muster. They're all bruisers. I headed back to work thinking that I would not likely get this job, but wondered what the job was. When I walked through the automated doors at the market, the phone was ringing off the hook and the checker had her hands full. I stepped into the other cashier station and grabbed the phone.
It was the school secretary. She said "You've got the job if you want it, but he needs you to start on Monday." I was shocked. It was Friday. I had just accepted a job and was going to abandon the world's best boss with no notice at all. This went against my personal code not to leave friends hanging. I walked to his office and confessed. He was so good about it and insisted that I needed to do this for the good of my family. He told me not to worry, he would train someone else. His motto was "Don't sweat the small stuff... and it's all small stuff."
Monday morning I found out the job was as an Instructional Assistant. I was sent across the river to the jail to be finger printed and run through the system to be sure that I was not a creep. Then I was off to orientation and my world took a right angle for the better. (The following year my hours would be increased to include time as a librarian's assistant that gave me thirteen years of on the job training before taking over the library myself.) That first afternoon, as I left my new job I asked my boss... "Do you mind if we use the field for soccer?"
This is the most serendipitous experience of my life. I lucked into being in the right place at the right time. I am so grateful to God, fate, or whatever led me here. This is where I belong. This is what I do well. This is my la raison pour etre... my reason to be. I get to read at work. I get to share stories. I get to teach children to love reading as much as I do. I know what I do makes a positive difference in the world.
My hope for you today is that you are working at a job that is fulfilling, enriching, and has a positive affect for yourself and others. I hope that you love what you do since we spend so much of our lives at work. If not, then I hope that fate will intervene and opens a door that will show you the way to a place that will.