Monday, January 27, 2014

The Newest Lesson... More Endings

I have been looking for inspiration for a new post ever since NYE.  I considered covering the cats of Istanbul... but I don't have quite enough examples yet.  I could (and most likely will) wait and write about my next travel adventures... which should if all goes well, include Greece...FINALLY.
. and Troy/Gallipoli.  But Greece is a week away, and Galipolli is even further.  So I seemed unable to come up with any kind of remotely interesting inspiration, until yesterday.

Welcome to my life... come on in and watch for a few days.  Let me know what you think.  Really... because my ability to be objective about this current situation has long since flown out the window, down the street, and over the mountain on the wings of emotion.

The Deputy Principal (who shall forthwith be known as "DP") of the school I work for has been a good friend of mine for some time.  I have written about him before.  He has hosted me in Bulgaria, introduced me to GOOD swing dancing, and insisted on a Christmas dinner prepared by the Culinary Institute of Istanbul. He is highly educated, experienced, cultured, intelligent, curious, and kind to me.  Anyway, through a series of unexpected and surprising events, my friend was called away from his DP position to employment with the same company but in a higher education slot much more suited to his skills.  Good news for him!  Bad news for the primary school as he was the caretaker of many things small yet critical.  Whoever would be able to take on these necessary tasks?  Indeed.

I know that my friend worked hard to convince administration that I was the perfect person for the job.  Remember, this man is my friend, but he is also well acquainted with me and knows my capabilities.  They agreed.  The change came way sooner than expected and suddenly I found myself moving from a lowly counselor's office to a corner office with a nice desk, and a magnificent view.  Tea, breakfast, coffee and an occasional afternoon snack appeared magically at my fingertips.  I became the heir apparent to the DP position.  "Interim DP".  Not a terribly difficult job.  But I was still doing my counseling job as well.  Yes indeed, two , two , two jobs for one.   With a nominal stipend thrown in for comfort.  But it has never been about money for me.  Always it has been about work that I enjoy and which is meaningful.  I learned as I went.  The detailed paper shuffling, accounting, public relations, culture setting, don't fail the principal, kind of work.  I loved it.  I had fun.  It was new, it required me to always be on my toes, and I was good at it.
It fit.

The school however, had decided that though I had agreed to take the job on for the next 6 months, it would post the position for the upcoming school year.  Hmmmm.  That alone should have been a clue, but I am often too trusting and assuming.  I was told I would have to apply for the position, and interview.  I sent them my CV (though they already had it on file) my Educational Leadership Platform, and a cover letter explaining why I felt I would be a good fit for the job.  I actually interviewed with the school Assistant GM and my principal on the same day I started working in official capacity as the "interim deputy principal".  The interview went well, the principal even commented to me that he felt I did very well.  Alas, some deeper thing was at work in the minds of people who make decisions.  I still don't know who exactly that is.

That same week, these two people went away to a hiring fair for 3 working days.  I was for all intents and purposes, in charge of the school, which did not burn down or fall apart.  With many people out at fairs, there was a lot of juggling to do, but I am good at making puzzle pieces fit together.  I was thanked for the great job I did while they were away.

The following Tuesday I was called into the head's office.  I knew that the meeting was for the purpose of letting me know about the job.  Earlier that day, I had passed her in the school hallways, but instead of her usual friendly smile... she frowned at me.  Bad omen.

Upon arriving at her office, I could see she was texting on her cell phone as her door was open.  The kind secretary had me take a seat, which was a tiny little chair ... no kidding, it's a chair from the kindergarten classroom.... I waited, uncomfortably and was told it was the "naughty chair".  ???  What?  Five minutes later the principal arrives and walks into the room.  I am now allowed to come in and have a seat with them.  He opens the conversation by telling me they have called me in to "get the pain over with".  Honestly.  This is how I am informed that they have (had?) chosen someone that the head and secondary principal "bonded with" in Australia hiring fair.  This person has 8 years experience as a dp.  She will be taking over the job next fall.

Have you ever seen "Up In The Air" with George Clooney?

As soon as you accept this, you can get on with the next phase of your life.

My reaction I guess was shock.  And trying to hide the urge to cry.  In that state you don't ask questions.  I just nodded my head, thanked them, and shuffled out of the office ... in great humiliation.

I had asked my 3 best friends in Istanbul to dinner that same night, for what I thought would be a celebration.  I ended up drinking at least one bottle of wine and crying my heart out to these dear understanding souls who comforted me with wisdom and understanding and for at least two of them, the commiseration of righteous indignation.

I still don't know what hit me.  Or why.  None of it makes sense to me.  I loathe intrigue in the workplace and I know there are pieces to this particular puzzle that will forever be lost to me, because let's face it... people just aren't absolutely forthcoming.  In the meantime, I am to continue in my dual capacity as school counselor, teaching 12 classes a week and doing the duties of an "interim deputy principal."  I will work hard.  I won't shirk and I won't screw up.  But something has changed in me.  It may pass, but I don't think so.

At the end of my working life, with eight to ten years left before I can retire, this doesn't seem fair.  I don't understand, and I am not so sure that the joy I get from working will return full force.  I like to grow and constantly learn new skills and take on new challenges, but now I seem thwarted.  I also love Istanbul, and Turkey in general.  My plan was to stay.  Maybe even have some roots for a while.  I no longer know if this is possible for me.  I am in a psychological limbo... thrashing about for answers in between increasingly infrequent crying bouts.  Here is what I do know, what I am clinging to... advice from friends, nuggets of wisdom from mentors, and the everlasting Word of GOD;
  • This too shall pass
  • Time will heal your anger and you will go on to better things
  • "Your feelings, hurt pride, anger betrayal are all feelings generated by your ego.  TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR EGO, SILENCE IT and stay in Istanbul and the school if you really like it her.  If not, you can go look for jobs, and I promjise you that you will be hired in no time."
  • You are going to learn so much from this experience 
  • Everything happens for a reason, this included
and lastly.....

Istanbul has challenged me, grown me, inspired me, loved me, threatened me, hurt me, and finally ... given me an experience that many in this world will never be able to drink in.  I still love the city, and the children I work with.  I love my co-workers and my friends.  

It's kind of funny... almost as if I am coming full circle back to the beginning of this blog.   When I began this journey, I titled the blog  "Endings, Beginnings and Panic...".  At one point this year, I thought perhaps I needed to change that name, but as I finish up this post, I realize that perhaps life is a series still of these stages... I have however resolved to remove the PANIC from my life.  As these days pass, I will work to calm my soul, pray every day for wisdom and the strength to continue in my job(s) with Grace, and this time, I will not panic.  I will trust. and I will rest secure in the belief that.....

"All will yet be well."
            Julian of Norwich


  1. You will go on to better things and it shall pass but in the meantime I totally understand how you feel. It just doesn't seem fair. Good luck to you and God bless!

  2. Thank you Anonymous. Not only does it not "seem" fair, it really isn't just. But this isn't a just world is it. My struggles are nothing compared to some in this world. Thank you for the kind wishes and blessing. I will need them.