TBT Recollections of a High School Counselor: “One Day Back at the Office”

retire-work-road-sign1-300x300I returned to the work world this morning for the first time since retiring last June 7th. Today I returned to the wonderful world of academia to help out my former colleagues. It was just for the day and done on a voluntary basis. One of the counselors is in New York this week taking care of some business so I was asked by Tony, the senior counselor if I’d be willing to help them register eighth graders for next school year at one of the three feeder middle schools. Well I had to think  about it for about half a second before saying yes. How could I pass that up?

It was easier than I thought it would be returning to my morning work routine and I was out of the house with time to spare. The 210 freeway at 7:35 AM was exactly as I left it back in June, a tangled mess of bumper to bumper, chrome, steel, aluminum, carbon fiber and plastic, lots of plastic. God I love L.A. freeways. not!  Along the way I even saw a few faces behind the wheel of familiar looking automobiles that I thought I remembered, but I’m not really sure. It has been nearly ten months. It ended up taking me twenty minutes plus to make the 7 mile run to Azusa, it could have been worse. I think the longest it ever took me was nearly 45 minutes, so 20 wasn’t bad, but it was still slow going.   

All in all it felt pretty good to be helping out. Spending the day with my colleagues who included two former coworkers and the new counselor who took over my job, felt really good. We worked well together. I also had the opportunity to visit with the three counselors from Gladstone High School who were also there registering students. We all had a very enjoyable lunch together. It was great catching up.  Even my former boss who left mid term last year to become the new principal of Slauson Middle School came down to the cafeteria to visit with us, then later joined us for lunch. It was good seeing her, She was a very good boss and I really enjoyed the years I worked with her. Yeah seeing everyone was really nice. But without a doubt the best part of the day was my time with students.

Slauson Middle school Students

Slauson Middle School Students

I have to say sitting and talking to students about the classes they will be taking and the transition to high school really made the day.  I could have sat there all day discussing academic classes, electives, study skills, activities and the like. It felt really good to be making a connection with the kids. Yeah, if there is one thing that I truly miss about my job its the interaction with students I miss the most. They made my job worthwhile. Not that I didn’t enjoy interacting with my colleagues, teachers and other staff for certainly I did, but it was the students who were the heart of being a counselor.

So, You’re probably wondering if my day on the job made me long to return to my academic workplace or made me wonder if perhaps I may have retired prematurely? Well I must confess that those thought may have crossed my mind for a brief moment, but there is only one answer to those questions. “Oh Hell No!” I’m not insane! I like being retired! No, let me rephrase that I love retirement!    

As much as I miss the kids and my workmates, there is so much more I don’t miss about the job. Before I turned in my retirement papers I sat down and made lists of pros and cons about my job. Believe me, the cons outweighed the pros, not by much, but enough to allow me to turn in my paperwork with the peace of mind that I was making a good decision. I truly believe the time was right. It was time to move on to the next part of my journey and God willing I’ll be around to enjoy it for quite awhile.

Will I ever go back to work? I don’t know, maybe. Today was a good day. I enjoyed helping out and look forward to doing it again if the need arises. In time I may even long to work more regularly and look for part time employment of some sort, but right now I have more than enough projects and grandkids to keep me busy for awhile.

Life is Good…

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