I love it when I get a chance to do something well.
One of my goals with my new job is to excel to such a degree that I make myself indispensable to my employer. I want to be "that person", the one that a company can't function without.
In teaching, there is no extrinsic reward for excellence. As long as you can get through the school year without getting fired or reprimanded for gross negligence, you are guaranteed the same pay next year as a teacher with identical education and experience who has devoted hundreds of hours to being great. It is a system that encourages mediocrity in so many teachers. It takes a very rare kind of character for a teacher to continue, year after year, to challenge herself to be fantastic. As much as I would like to think I possess that kind of intrinsic motivation, I know deep down that I don't (at least not at this point in my life). I'm glad I recognized it in time and walked away from teaching when I did. The only thing worse than a bad teacher is a burned out teacher. I was burning out.
With this new job, I feel invigorated and challenged. I look forward to the change of pace and the opportunity to grow in new directions. I also like knowing that if I work hard, do a great job, and produce results, there will be a tangible reward. After years of living on the knife's edge of a paycheck-to-paycheck existence, it's nice to know I have a chance to directly affect the income I earn.
My boss gave my a task to do from home. This is a big job, something they have allotted several months to complete. It's not especially difficult, just time-consuming and requiring a lot of attention to detail. It's something I can do on my own schedule which means I can do it while the girls are in school and the baby is napping, or after the kids are in bed for the night. My goal is to hammer out a huge chunk of the task this week, so that when I meet with my boss on Thursday, I can blow him away with what I accomplished. I'd like to position myself in such a way that I can more or less choose my assignments and work from home as much as I want. I'd also like to be able to name my terms when it's time for my first professional review.
It's very exciting for me to find myself in this position. I had forgotten that there were jobs out there in the "real world" that allowed one these kinds of opportunities.