I started thinking that if I were to interest anyone who doesn’t know me to check out my blog, I suppose I should give a little background information… you know, who I am and all that… so, here we go!
Back in the 90’s, after I paid my dues to gas stations and fast food joints, and university, I took some college courses and learned the art of floral design. I loved working with flowers, and I worked in a few different flower shops until my son was born and couldn’t continue to work every weekend and holiday without paying through the nose for a babysitter. From there my father-in-law offered me a job in insurance and so began my career as an insurance agent. Of course, I didn’t begin as an agent. Rather, I started by answering the phones and taking payments. But, over the course of 13 years, I acquired my various licences to sell life insurance and mutual funds, along with general insurance, like home and automobile as well. While I will forever be grateful to Jim Wilson (RIP) for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to be his assistant (and later his protégé) of the 13 years I worked in insurance, I was unfulfilled for about 10 of them. The truth is, I was never happy taking money from everyday people and giving it over to a multi-billion-dollar corporation. That being said, working in insurance taught me many things, provided me with many opportunities, introduced me to many people, and shaped the path of my adult life. On a side note: during my years peddling insurance I got it into my head that I wanted to work for a book store, so one quiet day at work I sat at my desk and started calling independent book stores until I found one that was hiring and was offered a job over the phone. For the next two years I worked at a bookstore in the village on the weekends, again, until I couldn’t justify paying a babysitter all the time, just to fulfill one of my desires.
Then came 2007. On a trip to Mexico (where I had been living with a family, learning Spanish) I became urgently ill. After several days of attempted diagnosis, I finally had emergency surgery attended by a gynecologist, gastroenterologist, and a general surgeon. Turns out my bowels had ruptured, caused by an apple sized tumor blocking blood flow and food passage through my intestine. I had become septic and my organs had begun to shut down. Once the surgeons found the problem they removed the damaged intestine (about half) and also removed a cyst (since they were there anyway). Thanks to this awesome team of doctors in Mexico, I’m alive today. The surgery left me with an ileostomy, and for those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s when your intestine is sectioned off and fed through the skin, emptying into a bag. This was my life at 34 years old… Needless to say, I had a lot of time to reflect during my recovery, second surgery to reverse the ileostomy, and the recovery that followed from that. During that period of darkness came a lot of realizations about what I wanted my life to look like and one of the decisions I made was to change careers. I had already spent the past year in insurance giving after-hour English lessons to my clients (and picking up some Spanish along the way) and I had already determined that teaching was the avenue I wanted to pursue. By September of that year I had resigned from my agent’s office, enrolled in night school to become an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher, and did a complete evaluation of the important things in my life. It really was a period of transition, growth, and contemplation for me. The program I enrolled in took a year to complete, but by June of 2008, I already had my first teaching job. By September I was hired by LLI where I stayed until last month (9.5 years), and by Huron, where I worked on contract until 2015. And now, here we are!
In October 2017, it came to my attention that a job post was available at Huron. When I first read the job description I thought it sounded too good to be true, I mean – it’s everything I do, and did, but within a company where I have the room to grow and retire. LLI was (is) everything to me, but it is a private, independent school without the budget or resources of the university. Enough said. So, I polished up my dusty CV and sent it off. There were several weeks of waiting to find out if I was a candidate for an interview, and another little-known-fact about me: I lack patience. So, the wait was long, and nerve-wracking, but I finally received the email that I was selected for an interview. I hummed and hawed at what to wear to make the right impression. I researched potential questions and how to kick ass in an interview. I rehearsed. I had every friend and family member ask me random questions. I PREPARED! The panel interview came and went, and then there was more waiting. Then I was invited back for a second interview, this time one on one with a different college representative. Then more waiting, and waiting, and waiting… At this point I believed that I was out, until I got the final email inviting me for a third panel interview/presentation. Again, I diligently prepared and well, you know the rest of the story: I was offered the job.
Making the decision to leave my family at LLI was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do in my career. Leaving insurance was easy. Choosing education was easy. Leaving a place that I love full of people that I adore and consider family was so difficult for me. Right down to the end, as excited as I was at the prospect of being accepted at Huron, I was never sure if I could make the change and leave LLI.
But I did… and here we are. And now, for the second time in my life, I’m changing careers. Not changing fields, and nothing as drastic as the first time I went down this path in 2007, but a new, unfamiliar change all the same.
And so, to leave you, this is my history, in a nutshell. I’m grateful for every experience I’ve had along my journey and I have so many people to thank for helping me get to right here where I am. I did not arrive here alone and could not have journied here without the hands of many remarkable people. Miigwech to you, my friends.
Be good to one another.
Peace and light,