Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
Let me tell you a story.
August of 2008 1 would make a decision that would signal the beginning of one of the lowest points in my Life. i would eventually be Jobless. Aside from pan-time work, I would be without a permanent full-time position for approximately one year.
....because I decided I would not continue to remain unhappy at my former place of employment, I decided that I was larger than the limited amount of professional courtesy they were willing to grant me. I decided that I could nu lunger afford to waste time in a situation/environment that was corrupt at its core. I could no longer attempt to elevate young minds with theories of freedom, liberty, diligence, and integrity, when at the same time, the administration of the institution was aggressively enacting "unwritten" policies that were quite the contrary. These issues, coupled with the professional jealousies, intimidation tactics, and "office war games," were sources of unnecessary stress and fatigue.
I resigned. I struck out on my own ignoring the news of an ensuing national Recession. I figured I had enough education, experience, and wherewithal to land another position without much worry, I was wrong.
Thanksgiving Weekend 2008, after selling everything I couldn't cake, I packed all my belongings in a Jeep... and I headed home [Texas]. During that 1,500-mi1e trip west, I thought about how my nation's media was reluctant to discuss this Depression in open/honest terms, "Is there really a Depression?" "No, it's more of a slight recession. We'll bounce back shortly." "Is there an end in sight?" "If it's just a recession, how long will it take to recover?" Then they'd bring some "expert" economist on to discuss the "possibility" of a Recessionary/Depressionary economic climate. This BullShit would often times evoke profane rants leveled at my radio as I banished all the pundits co Hell.
I pulled into Texas on Thanksgiving Day 2008... and I stopped ac a friend's house in Dallas. His family was in the middle of having Thanksgiving Dinner, and they allowed me to shower "the road" off me. I was probably in need of a GOOD shower, too. I felt like a Bum. I remember looking at all the residue I left in their bathtub... and I knew I wasn't far from BumStatus at all. Little did I know, I was just at the beginning of a nine-month period of Awakening.
After visiting family in Austin, I eventually got to Houston. Houston would be home-base for this particular period of my life as my mother and sister live there. I moved my stuff in the garage, and immediately "opened up shop." I was on the internet everyday. Job search. Job search. Job search. I enacted the same routine that proved futile in Baltimore. But, the good news was I had my supplies ready [resume, e-mail, cover letter templates] and my rhythm down-packed. Everyday I would contact schools, I was in between the phone and computer. Go, go, go. Day in--Day out. finding a job was my full-time job.
In between searching for a job, I found time to go through all the FEELINGS of insecurity, anger, depression, disgust, shame, bewilderment, confusion, frustration, angst, doubt, and embarrassment, inviting my Brain to participate with my Heart wasn't too hard, as I also had THOUGHTS which included engaging in political violence, bank robberies, entering the dope game, Panhandling, robbing random "rich people," pimping, and I even thought about working as a male stripper. Life was tough.
In the seven years I was on the East Coast, I didn't attend church on a regular basis. I would jokingly refer to the DC/Baltimore area as "purgatory" with my SouthernBrethren... and I would also tell them that I was one of the CrunkestHeathens. (heehee.) They'd laugh. As I would sit and observe the deacons pray, the people clap, the choir sing, and the preacher preach, I would occassionally think about how I could collect a few dollars from the members as efficiently as the church did. *Oh, Devil, get thee behind me.* I did enjoy some of the inspiration presented in the sermons. Church also gave me the opportunity to mediate and relax. The music was ofter times uplifting. ---and it also gave me the opportunity to see my Momz in her HappyPlace. Accompanying her, was my major motivator for being present.
I DID have my Familee. ---and I am so Grateful for them, too. My Father, My Mother, My Brother, and My Sister; these People are the absolute best thing I have in this Life. Through this entire period, they never gave up on me. I hadn't lived in such close proximity to them in seven (7) years... but when I came back, we were right in sync.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
This day the rhythm of my Life rook a drastic change. I hadn't realized thar I had grown so accustomed to meeting "dead-ends" in the job hunt. I had grown so comfortable with hearing "No, sorry, we don't have a position available" that I actually got scared by hearing, "Yes, there's an opportunity." On this day, TWO opportunities lay before me. I suddenly felt a new kind of pressure. Now, the "ball was in my count," and I held a leverage that I hadn't held in nine months. In actuality, as it relates to the job market, I hadn't EVER held this type of leverage/choice. My options were as follows:
1.) Take a tenure-track position as an Assistant Professor at a Texas university.
2.) Sign a contract with Daejeon" Metropolitan Office of Education and take a job reaching English ac a high school in South Korea.
Robert Frost's, "The Road Not Taken," is the poem took with me to sleep.
Friday, August 21, 2009
I woke up that morning prepared to take "the road less traveled by." I didn't tell anyone about my decision to sign the contract for the job in Korea because I didn't want any external "noise" in my head. I signed it. I fazed the Korean consulate and quickly finished the last steps of obtaining my Visa. I was going to jump on a plane five (5) days later and fly to country I had never been to, and knew very little about, to live and work for a one-year period of time.
Soon after securing the position in Korea, I had to visit a professor who was quite instrumental in securing the Assistant Professor position at the university. It was going to be one of those tough talks that a person hates to have... but, nonetheless, HAS to be done. I had been at orientation for the entire week with the university; I had received a teaching schedule; I had met the faculty members of my department; I had met faculty university-wide; I had even seen my new office... I had all but signed a contract, and new, I had went to discuss my decision with my Colleague and Friend.
Though we hadn't known each other for the longest time, through this employment process, we had connected on a certain level. She was someone who I liked, and more importantly, someone who I respected... and still do. Not knowing how she would react to the news, I called her cell phone and requested to meet her on campus. I think she tell by my voice that something was up. When I arrived on campus, she left an orientation session (a session I most likely would have been in) and met me in the hallway. "What's up? Everything okay?" she asked. I looked at her, and broke the news. "I've signed a contract with a school in Korea. I'll be flying out next week." I went on to explain how grateful I was for her help through this process; and I MEANT that. I was truly thankful for her honesty, candor, and kindness through the process. She accepted my decision with grace.
And if she ever reads this, I want her to know, "I got nothing but Love for you, Doc."
WHAT A DAY! ...and it wasn't even NOON yet!
I've shared this experience with you all now because I have been in Korea for approximately one year new and four months now. And I must say, this had been one of the BEST decisions I have ever made. I can truly say the "road not taken" is sometimes the BEST road to lake. I had a multitude of reasons to stay in the States. (In spite of the difficultly I was experiencing.) I had people who I KNOW Love me... try to convince inc to stay. But, I knew that I had co leave. God had shown me how rough Life be through this experience... and I felt through the decision to come to Korea, He was also showing me that the choice to change my lot in Life is Mine.
The decision is YOURS, People. Do not limit yourself through Doubt and Fear. You can do Anything you want to do. You can. You can do Anything you want to do. AND you can do it the WAY you want to do it. it's going to take a Plan; It's going to take Dedication, a tolerance for Pain, an Endurance Reserve... and it may not be easy. BUT, you can do it. When opportunityarises, DO NOT BE SCARED TO SEIZE IT.
By eRIC Durham Ph.D.
The GoodDoctor's Conner -
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