(For the past six years, I’ve used Reverb10 prompts to give myself a question to answer every day of December. It’s a great way to reflect on the year and set goals for the future. I’ve kept my favorite prompts, added a few from other sources, and created my own month-and- a-bit of questions.)
Brave. What was the bravest thing you did in this year?
As I’ve gotten increasingly dissatisfied with my job, I’ve gotten braver. I’ve done a few things that have given me pause. I find myself thinking “I might get fired if this doesn’t work out” and then going ahead and doing it anyway. So far, so good. Bold decisions have been rewarded. It’s simultaneously freeing and disheartening. Why didn’t I do this sooner?
By ‘this’ I mean:
Being blunt with a parent when they are out of line. Even when I know that everyone else treats them with kid gloves. Even when they are a large donor.
Paying for a student’s application fees when I know that they are on significant financial aid and can’t afford it otherwise. It makes my stomach hurt to think that cost (and fee waiver algorithms) might keep a great kid from applying to a great school. I’ll figure out where the money comes from later.
Leaving early when I need to take care of myself.
Calling out another department for dropping the ball with specific (but constructive) feedback.
Letting my boss know that a few kids I work with will not be headed to college, and I support their choices even though private high schools like mine hate having to report that they don’t send 100% to college.
It all reminds me to tell the truth. Say the thing no one else will say. Do the thing that you know is right, even if it’s messy. Be bold.
(P.S. Last year I wrote this.)