I know it may be premature and saccharine, but I love my job! I'm aware that any form of gainful employment will seem celestial after six years in scholastic purgatory--but a few signs tell me that I am on the right track professionally.
1. I'm surprised when it is 5:00. The time races by at work. I enjoy teaching my classes, getting my lessons together, writing tests, learning how to handle all of my grades, playing with "instructional technology," etc.
2. I get to go home when it is 5:00. If I work hard all day I can leave everything at school. None of it follows me home. I don't assign homework so I don't have to take home papers. (Sorry, English teacher/history teacher types.) The only homework I have to grade is lab reports and those aren't too bad.
3. My co-workers are cool. All of them seem pretty easy going. My department chair is VERY nice. One of my cubicle-mates is a falconer. He also hunts and is a fantastic wildlife photographer. He just got back from safari in South Africa. I'm taking the kids out to see his place on Saturday. He has two peregrines and one gyrfalcon. He also has a half-mount stuffed zebra and other dead things hanging out all over his place. My other cubicle-mate is the caretaker at the local nature preserve and is great. (The cubicles are temporary until I get my OWN office in the renovated science hall.)
4. The students are fun. I like my non-science major students. They're not academic whiz kids, but none of them are "dumb" either. I can identify with them and I want to help them meet their goals. I think I can help them have a good academic experience which motivates me to improve as a teacher.
5. I get summers off. My salary isn't what it would be if I was a research professor or had gone into research in government or industry, but I will have time to work with the kids on our garden and farm projects all summer.
So there you go. I would have never seen myself here until a little less than a year ago, but I'm glad things worked out the way they did. How about y'all? What do you like about your job? Anybody planning a career change?