I Have Been Sentenced to Life

To be served in elementary school. Last night, it struck me. I have been given a life sentence. I have been actively involved in the elementary school my boys attend for four years now, since L was enrolled. With another niece/nephew on the way, I have twelve years to go.
I will have a family member in elementary school every year from now until the year after lil miss’s high school graduation. According to the Canadian Penal Code (as stated on Wikipedia), a life sentence is seven to twenty-five years. My minimum involvement of sixteen years total definitely falls within that range.
On Wednesday, we have our “All General Meeting” of the PTA. This is the meeting where voting is done to determine next year’s officers. We have been discussing this for the last three or four months though, due to the fact that we are losing most of our long time officers (some of them have held their positions for more than seven years).
In our previous discussions, I have been asked (repeatedly) if I will hold my position. I have responded that I have ten years left tied to the school (the next niece/nephew was not known of until this past month), so I may as well. This resulted in the principal declaring that L and T aren’t doing THAT poorly. I laughed at this, and advised her that I planned to stay until my neices and nephews were through as well. I then became known as “the one who has ten years left to serve”. I guess I can live with that.
Right now, I am doing fine with the position I currently hold in the school. I love my other job as well. This does have me wondering though. With twelve years tied to the school, I may look into rearranging my schedule at some point in the next couple years. I may want to make school a more full-time priority. I will need to mull this over though, because I definitely do not want to abandon my other job. Food service is what I have done for my entire working career, and I don’t know if I can leave that behind me.
Growing up, no one really says that they aspire to be in fast-food management. It is not something a lot of people think of as a “real job”. Rest assured, it is most definitely a real job. It comes with a wide variety of obstacles, challenges, responsibilities, and people. No two days are the same and there is always more to do and learn. It is truly a life-long learning experience. THAT is what I always wanted from a career. This means my current job is the one that meets my career desires. I have also been staring at that path for the last seven years. It never occurred to me (until last night) that I may be suited for something else as well.
When I was little, there were only two things I ever envisioned myself being, and neither was what I am currently doing. I wanted to be a doctor (more specifically a pediatric cardiologist) or a teacher (preferably junior high or high school math/science). Due to the difficulties of funding university while being a single mom, I was not able to obtain the schooling to pursue either of those careers. My current management job (which I got after graduating high school) allowed me the scheduling flexibility to try though. Now, almost eight years later, they are still giving me the flexibility I need to be there for my children.
This company has been the only one I have ever been involved in (or even heard of) that has been PART of my life instead of BEING my entire life. Other jobs I’ve had or that people I know have, tend to take over a person’s life. I can’t have a job that does that to me.
Looking at the time I have left to serve at the school gives me pause despite all this. I don’t want to burn any bridges and I want A LOT of time to consider my options. I have heard of a school position that only requires high school education (check) and board authorization (check again) to obtain. This position is supposed to be able to offer sufficient hours to support my family.
It sounds AWESOME, but I need to know more before making a decision. I will not simply walk away from where I am with this great company that has done so much for me. I will investigate over a long period of time (I am giving myself until L is in grade six…he is in grade three now) before I decide if this is the right path for me and my family.
Who knows…with the cuts to the education system coming every year, maybe by the time L hits grade six, this will be a non-issue. The position may not even exist or be obtainable by that time. If I do decide at that time that I want to explore this possible career path, I will ask for scheduling changes before even considering leaving where I am. I owe it to my kids, myself and those I work for to keep an open mind. I need to keep as many doors open as well in order to do this.
This decision is not one that will be made anytime soon. For now, I will just look towards Wednesday’s AGM and elections, next year’s PTA group, the end of year activities that are in the works, and tomorrow morning’s early wake up call!

No matter how dark the day, the sun is always shining somewhere!

Jules

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