When I was in 1st grade, I came into class one day and my teacher sat us all down on the rug for circle time and pulled out a Snickers bar. Which he proceeded to eat in front of an entire class of 6-year-olds without sharing one bite.
You can bet he had our attention. And he explained that he was having this candy bar because he had worked hard on something for a long time and in the end he didn’t get what he wanted. He was disappointed, and the Snickers bar was a little present to himself to feel better, and to help us understand how badly he had wanted the thing he was working towards.
My teacher had wanted to be the first teacher in space, and was one of the finalists for the position. We all know how that worked out in the end, how blessed he was to stay home, but at the time it was the thing he had wanted with his whole being for years and he didn’t get it. He was sad.
I’ve never had an ambition that big, but when I feel acutely disappointed I think of him and his Snickers bar.
I’m craving one now, as I sit with a small pile of rejection letters for graduate programs. What’s that? Graduate school?
I stealthily applied to Master’s in Social Work programs this spring, with the aim of becoming an LICSW and practicing psychotherapy. I didn’t get in to any of them, which isn’t surprising since I’d be making a radical career jump into an area where I have no experience or education.
I know, what was I thinking? I’m homeschooling one of my kids. It’s not like I’m drowning in time or money or spoons. But. I was thinking that I’m burned out on writing as a day job and need to do something really radically new with my life, with my time and talents. I was thinking that I wanted to move into a helping profession and engage more directly with people. I was thinking I had something to offer.
I think that’s true, that I have something to offer. So I’ve picked up my bruised ambition and applied for a couple of volunteer programs in my area, one of which has gotten in touch with me and I’m hoping to start volunteering with them soon. More on that as it develops.
And in the meantime I’m back to looking for a job that will give me a sustainable income through meaningful work. I’m starting to look into what kind of social work oriented jobs you can get without a degree, as a prerequisite for reapplying to MSW programs, and also considering the possibility that this is a dead-end for me, and I’ll have to get my helping people efforts in as a volunteer while doing something else professionally.
But before I dive straight into the hard work of remaking myself and my profession, I’d like a candy bar to commemorate the effort that didn’t pay off quite how I hoped it would.