I know she means well and I appreciate the help, but I like my job. I even love (certain parts of) it (most of the time). I don't want to even think about leaving my job. I fear, though, that my job may be leaving me--not that my department will be eliminated (unlikely) but that our role will change so drastically that I can no longer love what I do.
But that doesn't mean I intend to start begging to do things for which I'm eminently unqualified.
I recently discovered, entirely by accident, that the official name for the color of my car is Hero Blue. I'm embarrassed to tell you how happy this made me. I'm still hopelessly in love with my car well past the normal honeymoon period, and discovering its heroic nature only makes me love it more.
Lately I've been having nightmares nearly every night in which someone I love is lost or endangered and I'm frantically trying to go to the rescue, but I'm thwarted by the department store that grows into a labyrinth or the pesky injuries that make me fall on my face and claw my way desperately across the floor. I keep moving because if I stop, all will be lost. I know that if I keep trying, I'll reach the goal.
But then I wake up, which is a relief (she wasn't really lost!) but also a disturbance (how will I ever rescue her now?).
A freshman student sits in my office, stoically absorbing the news that the paper he thought was just fine actually needs more work--much more work. He look impassive, shifts in his seat, acts as if he can't wait to get out of the room and cuss me out--but then, a sudden change: his eyes light up and he grins widely and says, "Mr. Hogue! I love Mr. Hogue!"
All it takes to lighten the atmosphere in my office is for one of my husband's former students to notice his photo on my desk. I long ago came to terms with the fact that he's way more popular than I am; whenever we go out to eat or go shopping, students of all ages will come running up and say, "Mr. Hogue! When are you coming back to teach my class?!"
They love him--for good reasons. He shows up in class, spends a day or two teaching them interesting things, cracking jokes, and cracking the whip, and then he goes away to teach another class on the other end of the county. He makes learning fun, and he rarely has to deliver bad news about grades or writing skills or behavior problems. He's their hero.
When I look over the job postings in the Chronicle, I don't see many calls for heroes. I see few jobs in my field, all either entry-level or out of my league. This is a relief: if no suitable jobs exist out there, then I don't have to worry about applying. I'll just have to stay here and adapt to whatever happens in the decade before I can think about retiring, and if I can't love it, maybe I can learn to claw my way through it without too much grief.
But part of me keeps wondering when I'm going to wake up from this nightmare.