In life, we have many choices to make. Describe a time when you came to a crossroads in your life, and you made a decision. Was it the right one? Do you wish you could go back and take that other symbolic road?
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My senior year of college, I went to an interview with the New South Wales, Australia Department of Education as they were touring the United States looking for teachers. The interview was a lark for me - I had never seriously thought about teaching overseas but it was a good experience and fun to listen to the funny accents.
Just over a week before graduation, with no job or prospects in sight, I opened my mailbox to find a very thick envelope which was a contract from the New South Wales Department of Education! Suddenly the whole idea stopped being a joke!
I spent almost two years teaching in Australia. It was a tremendous education, both in terms of teaching and in terms of who I was and what I could deal with as a person. It also was a tremendous experience to list on a resume - I am convinced that several of my teaching positions when I returned to the United States were offered based on my having undertaken and survived that adventure!
I am most definitely glad I took the road across the Pacific!
One crossroad I came to in my life was making a decision on whether to continue running my retail business, or forgo the business world and pursue my dream of being a full-time freelance writer. I wrote part-time for many years and it was a major decision to make the leap to freelancing. The biggest concern was the peaks and valleys as concerns income - some months can be great - other months less than optimum. However, from the perspective of being happy in what I do, controlling my own schedule, and fulfilling my creative bent, I feel I made the right decision.
I love the variety of writing I can tackle to earn income; I love being able to write whenever I want, wherever I want, most times; and I love getting the words out so they become part of a story, article, script, blog post, poem, or something else. Yes, the swings in income are there, but through a concerted effort to attain and retain clients, I've been working at it for almost five years now full-time.
When I retired from teaching, I had the hair-brained idea that I wanted to travel. Since I was a divorced teacher, money was a problem. I went online looking for opportunities for retired school teachers/counselors. Not many choices arose until I hit American Airlines...Why not be a flight attendant and fly for free? (Boy, was I naive.)
I filled out the application online and surprisingly got an immediate response. (This was in 1999...before 9/11.) The airline flew me to Dallas where I was interviewed for the job. There were two hundred there that day, and five were accepted. Guess what? I was one of those.
Oh brother, what am I going to do now? This was October and I was retiring in February. My training will begin the week after my retirement. Everything was falling into place.
Uh-oh, bronchial pneumonia hits in January and does not go away. When I show up for training, I have been out of the hospital for 2 days. I am miserable the entire long six week horrendous training. Everyone knows me by the woman who coughs and coughs and coughs.
Everything is paid for except you will not make a salary until you are out on the job. I discover that although I am 51 years old, I am a long way from being the oldest: 66 years old.
After graduation, you have one day to go to your base, which in my case was Chicago. Oh my God! You have three days to find an apartment with people that you really do not know at all an enormous city with very little money.
Long story short...I should have stayed at home. Although the job offered interesting experiences and travel, it is a young person's job. I was a senior but not senior. Pushing 400 pound carts down moving aisles and listening to crazy people complain was not what I signed up for...
My granddaughter decided that she would not let me go away anymore. My last flight was in August of 2001...just in time because I been on one or two of those flights before 9/11. One week later, I was hired as a ccomposition and public speaking instructor at a nearby community college. The good Lord was watching over me again. He would just let me jump off the bridge, knowing he would pull me back up again.
My crossroads also involved my teaching career. About 16 years ago I was suddenly without a job and had to make a decision about what to do at that point in my life. I decided to go back to school and pursue teacher certification, even though it meant a couple years of financial hardship. It worked out well for me and my family.
Biggest crossroad for me was when I was about a year away from getting my Ph.D. I was intent on becoming a college professor at that point but was getting discouraged by the job market and by the fact that even small colleges wanted professors to do lots of research and publishing, which I didn't want to do. So then I started to think about becoming a high school teacher. I went that route and have never regretted it.
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