Recently, I decided to leave my career as a school psychologist. Not leave my school, or my district–leave the profession. It’s a career I spent eight years in college for. A career that once felt uniquely suited to my personal strengths. A career I’ve been told by both teammates and supervisors I was exceptional at.
A career that had both meaning and left me with a sense of making a difference in the lives of kids and families.
A career that has caused me more stress, tears, and professional angst than I could have ever imagined. I’m not interested in going into all the details regarding the many circumstances and events I’ve worked to problem solve over the past twelve years in this career but for those of you that work in this field…well, you know.
Having said that, leaving something that has become so much of your professional and personal DNA is not easy. You think of the people you love working with, the families you’ve helped, and most of all the kids who show up at your door whenever they need some help. Making the personal choice to help yourself can feel like you’re turning your back on many others. So. Many. Others.
I’d be lying to suggest that I’ve completely processed this decision. No, that will for sure take some time and reflection. Over the last several months, I’ve spent countless agonizing hours worrying this choice into an enormous cliff that I would have to either fling myself off or continue to throw myself against. Neither option felt easy or right.
Leaving was what I wanted, but staying was what I knew.
I have always believed that the universe gives you clues and that when it’s time for you to make a change in life, you’ll first get a whisper. If you don’t listen, next there will be a nudge. If you still aren’t listening, the universe might come along and shove you down. Eventually, you’re going to get kicked in the teeth. For me, as the school year came closer and closer to the end, I kept experiencing more and more shoves.
I felt the kick in the teeth out on my horizon. It was time for me to leap from my known, albeit exceedingly stressful, cliff. It didn’t seem to matter how scared I was.
However, the moment I made the decision, and actually stepped into the decision by sharing with my partner that this was what I needed to do, the rest of the process of unwinding myself from this life I’ve lived for so many years felt almost like running downhill.
Sometimes just making the decision, and sharing the news with those you’re afraid of disappointing, is the hardest part.
Last Friday was my last day working as a school psychologist. It’s a career I have both loved and loathed. I cherish so many of my memories, and others I’m relieved to see in my review-view mirror. It brought me joy, heartache, fear, accomplishment, victories, advocacy, enlightenment, and pain.
I will miss it.
I’m happy to be free of it.
And I know for sure that it’s going to take me some time to really understand what these last twelve years have meant to me and my life–but I’m also looking forward to experiencing what happens next.