It all ended so weirdly. A Thursday morning in January. A 9 a.m. text from Hawaii. “Jennifer, I’ve heard you are interviewing for another job. Please leave and do not return.” In one month I went from a star student to a fired fish (I love alliteration). I had already decided by October that I needed to leave. The environment was toxic, draining, and no longer fulfilling as it once was. I was going to finish the year and then transition to public school. However, I quietly and slowly became more and more frustrated with decisions being made and the way people were being treated. The last straw came in the beginning of January. I was forced to change classroom assignments; to teach a grade I didn’t want to teach because I was, “the only one that was qualified.” The real reason, like most decisions made at that school, was based on money (Please see where the text firing me came from though, Hawaii, how ironic) They didn’t want to hire another teacher so they thought they could just do a little shuffling. Just move people around like pawns and hide it behind a guise of bullshit. I, however, was not the submissive little bird he thought I was. I instead was a qualified, confident, desirable teacher who did not need to put up with this kind of crap. I was a woman who knew who I was and what I deserved. I immediately began applying for newly posted public school jobs on the Tuesday following the classroom change. I got called for interviews Wednesday. Received the text from Hawaii on Thursday. Had 5 interviews the next two days; offered and accepted a job on Monday. Less than a week from the initial push, the whole thing had snowballed into a great chasm of change, empowerment, and general Fuck you-ness.
He fired me because he had the, “I’m going to break up with you before you break up with me” attitude. I made a perceived mistake telling my Head of School I was interviewing. My stepfather said this was a life lesson. She was my friend, I didn’t expect her to tell our CEO. I also was trying to show integrity and allow them time to find someone to replace me in the event I did leave. Revealing that I had interviews is what inevitably caused me to get fired, however I do not regret this. I acted with the utmost integrity and strength through the entire ordeal. My character shined while theirs faltered. My coworkers, all 7 of them, saw the way things unfolded. This made them angry and nervous, rightfully so. I had worked there for 5 years, was second in seniority, and yet was so easily discarded the second I didn’t fall in line. They discussed trying to stand up to our CEO about the decision. I felt loved and supported at that offer, but declined for two reasons. I didn’t want to be there anyway; I was now free and didn’t want the option to be sucked back in if he changed his mind. The other reason is more fucked up. He would have probably just fired everyone if they did this. He manages from a position of fear and need for power; he’d never keep a staff who disagreed with him on such a fundamental level.
I’ve never been fired from a job before. I have a perfectionist type personality and was surprised at my reaction to this news. If you would asked me a few months ago how I would react to getting fired, I would have said cry, for sure. Be depressed, wallow, but I surprised myself. I have not cried a single tear. I didn’t feel bad or fearful when I got the text, instead I felt relief. I felt empowerment. Some rich old guy tried to bully me and I stood up for myself; I could not control what he did out of his frustration and if standing up for myself caused me to get fired, then so be it. I was not happy and so I started the process to get out. I would not be a victim in a somewhat emotionally abusive situation. I am now free, no longer a caged bird. I am excited about the new possibility and proud of the way I handled everything.
I’m disappointed that that was the way it ended after all these years, but frankly I’m not surprised. I had seen this man treat many other teachers and parents this way. I feel slightly silly and stupid for believing he had good intentions all these years, I feel naive. But I learned a lot and did really enjoy the majority of my experience there, despite the craziness. I made life-long friends and developed deeply as a teacher. I matured and grew from a college graduate to a woman with the help of the women surrounding me. I will never forget those friendships or the lessons I learned from them. I could not imagine my life without a few of these women, know they will remain for years to come, and for that I am grateful.
It will be different. For 5 years, it’s been the same. Two years ago my husband’s life took a 360 (he lost his job, started college and a new career) and now mine is. I can feel the energy from God, the universe, karma, that what is meant to happen is happening. I feel peace, with a brush of anxious excitement. I feel that I was being tested for the past little bit and I passed the test. Change used to frighten me greatly, it still kind of does, but I am learning that there is no need to fear. That life is forever changing, we just have to ride the wave and enjoy the experience.
I’m currently in limbo; waiting for hr to process all my paperwork, hoping I can start my new job next week. I love reading quotes from really talented writers that are congruent with my much less sophisticated brain. I’ve always felt connected to birds. They seem so delicate, yet they are strong and free. The below quote from Monique Duval sums up perfectly my current state of mind. I encourage you to check out her book, “The Persistence of Yellow: A Book of Recipes for Life.”