I’ve recently been asked multiple times, “So, Meg…what are you doing?”
When my students have to write a definition essay, I tell them that one strategy in order to help them define something, is to figure out what that thing is not: this is called negation.
Here’s what I’m not doing.
I’m not living under a rock anymore. I’m not going to keep myself small anymore. I’m not afraid anymore. I don’t care about negative feedback anymore. Salty comments don’t bother me anymore. I don’t wait for other people to speak up on my behalf anymore. I don’t wait around for things to happen to me anymore.
“So, Meg…what are you doing?”
One day last summer, I was having lunch with a girlfriend at Townhouse in Birmingham when her phone buzzed. She brushed it off at first glance and said it was just a LinkedIn notification. I asked what LinkedIn was. She replied not to worry about it because it was “just for professionals”.
Um, I have a major in English with a minor in speech. I have a master’s degree plus thirty credits beyond that. I not only work with my peers and colleagues (like most “professionals” only do), but I am also able to collaborate with fickle and angsty teenagers, their devoted and passionate parents, high-demanding administrators, special educators required to adhere by law to legal accommodations, take rigorous and ongoing professional development courses to re-certify my teaching certificate, create growth goals to showcase that I am, in fact, a “highly effective” teacher according to Michigan’s high-set standards, take a week-long AP summer institute session to be certified by College Board, be a positive role model for impressionable teens, teach them all the tricks of my trade, preserve my legacy and inspire a future generation, bring my work home with me every single night, grade papers at 5 in the morning or midnight, hug a child who’s been interviewed by CPS, comfort and encourage another who’s recently “come out”, walk a student who is suffering from anxiety and/or depression down to the social worker, and keep my own personal crap out of the classroom for the sake of my students…my “foster kids”.
I’m sorry: is that “unprofessional”?
So I updated my resume and uploaded it to LinkedIn. Boom.
I’m not a talker; I’m a doer.
Additionally, I saw opportunity on Instagram for new doors to open. But I was more of the Facebook generation. Instagram? So like any good student, I did my homework. I researched and watched webinars while taking solid notes. I talked to several people having success on this platform–some of whom told me Instagram was a full-time job itself and there was “no way” I’d be able to get ahead on it while having a real day-job.
Ha. Clearly those naysayers don’t know Meg.
So I created my own press kit on Canva and began banging on virtual doors. Boom.
I’m not a talker; I’m a doer.
It’s amazing how many of those doors opened for me simply because I had some mojo and some courage…and nothing to lose. Sheryl Sandberg once quoted that Mark Zuckerberg asked her what she’d do if she wasn’t afraid–and then make stuff happen from that place.
You can’t be afraid of no. It’s just a tiny two-letter word.
Another favorite quote of mine is from Oprah: “You get in life what you have the courage to ask for.” So I began asking for work, for jobs, for payment, for product exchange, for promotion.
Guess what? I’m getting it.
LinkedIn has afforded me many job leads, collaborations, and interviews–some of which I’ve accepted; some of which I’ve declined. I love teaching too much to actually take any of these, but it’s fun to practice my interview skills and gain some context of the world outside of the classroom.
Furthermore, Instagram led me to a contractual job with Millennium Magazine, among other collaborations in the works (some of which I’m totally excited about).
A newspaper feature is going to be written on me in January.
And I have a day-job that I love.
Those who CAN teach.
So there. That’s what I’m doing.
What are you doing?
*Disclaimer: this blog is is no way meant to be condescending or narcissistic. Instead, I’m trying to showcase all the hard work that teachers do without getting paid enough: that was the impetus for me, as a single mother raising two kids, to try and supplement my income. My purpose for this blog is to inspire others to show off their hidden talents and skills. What could the world be missing out on that only YOU have to offer?*