Why Getting a New Job May Be a Bad Idea

After Church today I was having a nice conversation with a fellow Catholic school teacher and a lay leader in our parish. We spoke of school, ministry roles and whether or not we might ever leave Catholic education in order to make more money in the public school system.

This is the kind of conversation that teachers in faith-based schools have every few years. The financial advantages of public school are well known. The spiritual advantages to faith-based (or even mission-based as in many charter schools) institutions are more subtle, like an acquired taste in terms of professions.

As for me leaving the Catholic school system?  No thanks.

It's not that I don't respect public schools- I am a product of one. It's deeper than that. I think that I simply realize how fortunate I am at this moment in time. Take away a few of the people around me and I'm pretty, well, ordinary. The core around me makes me look good most of the time and I cherish their gifts and incredible talent.  I couldn't do what I do without them doing what they do so very well.

Malcolm Gladwell has written often this phenomenon, calling it  the power of context. Take away the people around us at a given point in time and our gifts don't seem quite as portable. Try to imagine Steve Jobs without Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. The latter you may not know but Jobs has become an everyday icon. The fact is, they happened to be in the same place at the same time with the same interests. The rest is history.

Success is like that- personal gifts intermingled with the mysterious, irreplaceable talents of those around us. Take away others' gifts and your own ability may seem somewhat plain.

All of this just might translate into your next job being less successful than your current situation.  We think that because we are doing well now that our success will translate in the next job but not so fast. At the end of the day, much of our victory depends on those with whom we lock arms in the daily battle to create schools that matter, homes that are filled with love and communities that care.

Rather than be bummed out by this, turn the realization into moments of gratitude that you can demonstrate to your peers every day.  You can tell someone you appreciate their hard work or drop someone a Thank You note.

The opportunities are right there so what are you waiting for?