Looking back at my last few posts, I’m afraid someone might get the wrong idea about my job at the school district. I just want to make it clear that I had a great job. I had the nicest coworkers anyone could ask for. The work environment was wonderful.
I know what you’re thinking. I said before that I was “miserable.” That’s true. I was. But not because the job was bad. It was just not the right job for me.
You see, I’m a geek. I’m not afraid to admit it. Look under my name at the top of the screen. I’m good at figuring things out and solving problems. If it has a processor, I can probably make it work. I’m also rather social. I enjoy talking to other geeks and sharing what I know.
When I started at the school district, this was exactly what I was doing. I was constantly learning about new technology and sharing this knowledge with the people around me. I think I even had a hand in turning some non-geeks into geeks. You’re welcome.
But by the time I left my job, that had all changed. I felt like I was buried under a mountain of e-mail, voice mail, and paperwork. I was spending too much time at my desk and not enough time out in the trenches doing the work. I was responding to complaints and putting out fires instead of figuring out ways to make things better.
And this leads me to the title of this post. Be Yourself. This is probably the best advice I could give anyone. It applies universally – in your job, in relationships, everywhere. Just be yourself. If you have to force yourself to be something that you’re not, you won’t be happy in the long run.
For some reason, this was a hard lesson for me to learn.
I think I probably knew from day one that the job was not right for me, but I kept thinking that if I stuck it out for a while I could make it work. The pay was nice, and that made it easier to convince myself to stay.
I also think everyone else could see that I wasn’t happy. I remember one day someone walked by the door of my office and said “Tony, why don’t you smile anymore?” I didn’t know what to say. I’m sure I said something like “Too much work to do.”
When I told my boss that I was leaving, I said “You know I’m not the right person for this job.” and I think he understood what I meant. He certainly didn’t argue with me. I feel like I did a good job while I was there. I know I did my best. But no amount of work was ever going to turn me into something that I’m not.