i'm coming up on my two year anniversary of starting my job. and while i was on the plane to connecticut a couple of weeks ago, i remembered what my first work trip was like. i was really nervous. i had to speak in front of a large room full of state government officials and phds from universities. i had to speak about a program i'd only had 3 weeks to get to know, and i was (quite obviously) the youngest person in the room. by a lot.
i had taken this job because a) i needed a real job so so so badly, b) the people who hired me really seemed to think i was the right person for the job, and c) even though it was a serious leap of faith into a realm of education i hadn't even known existed, i knew it was what God had asked me to do.
and so here i am, two years later. and the meeting in ct only confirmed to me how far i've come. i actually know a decent portion of people who work in various state departments of education. and i know how money flows in education (from the federal government, to the states, to the districts; how private foundations play a role, etc). and i know what a vital role congress plays in this whole process, and am acutely aware of how little they know about what constitutes good educational practices.
two years hasn't changed the fact that i'm still usually the youngest person in the room. and it's often by more than 10 or 15 years. but instead of feeling intimidated by the fact that many of the people in the room could look at me and say "you're younger than my daughter!" i actually look at it as a point of pride. in the worst economy since the depression, i'm one of the lucky ones in my generation who isn't letting the older generation continue to box them out. i may be in my late 20s, but it doesn't mean i don't get to have a great career. and i may still be in my late 20s (two years later), but it doesn't mean i can't learn quick and catch up with all the old people.
and on that trip, i had one of those out of body experiences, where i could see myself, talking at a table with the connecticut people, and i realized that hey! that's me talking. that's me that knows what she's talking about and has spent the past two years managing this program!
it was the refreshing i needed. because at the end of the day, i have a pretty cool job. i have a pretty cool opportunity to do some really neat work with some really influential people. and it's completely because God dropped this job in my lap, not because i was looking to climb the corporate ladder. it's a job that plays to strengths i didn't know i had. and it's a job that allows me to pay our bills, pay down our student loan debt, and still eat out every once in awhile. i have a fantastic boss who treats me like an actual human being, and sincerely wants me to be happy in my position.
i just feel incredibly grateful. grateful for the job that i have, for the experiences i've had in it, and for how much i've grown in the past two years. this job makes me feel like a legit adult. and i really love that.