Take The Chance

Martha & DanielWhen my son started first grade, I decided to look for a part-time job to help supplement our household income.  I had worked as a free-lance writer for several years, but both the assignments and the pay were sporadic at best.  I heard that the local school district often used substitutes for their various offices, and so I applied for the job.  Shortly afterwards, I was called for an interview to be a substitute teacher.  I knew there must have been a mistake, but since it had been a long time since I’d had a job interview, I decided to go anyway, just for the experience.  Surprisingly, I was hired on as an elementary-level substitute teacher (my bachelor’s degree qualified me for short-term assignments), and added to the list of potential office subs as well.

Early one morning a few weeks later, I got a call from a woman in the Human Resources Department, wanting to know if I could come in right away.  I should have been thrilled, but I was standing there in my underwear, with my hair still dripping wet from the shower, and I had no way to get there because my car was in the shop. “No problem,” the woman said when I told her I had no transportation, “I can come get you.  I’ll be there in fifteen minutes.”  So I scrambled around and got ready, and spent my first day working as the only person in the Human Resources office, answering phone calls, fielding questions, and even securing a substitute for a teacher who had to go home sick.

Still later, I was called in to actually be a substitute teacher for a third grade class at my children’s school.  The administrators and other teachers were very supportive, the teacher I was subbing for had left an easy-to-follow lesson plan, and the kids were mostly well-behaved.  I was exhausted by the end of the day (don’t let anyone ever tell you teaching is easy), but I must not have screwed up too badly because I got more assignments, and even had teachers request me for planned absences.

Eventually, I gave up subbing in the classrooms, but I stayed on as an office sub for the next twelve  years.  The work was sometimes mind-numblingly routine, but I really liked the people I worked with, greatly improved my computer skills,  and the job provided the flexibility I needed to pursue my writing career and be available to my kids.  In short, the job was a good fit for me and my family at the time, and I was fortunate to get it.

It would have been so easy for me not to go on that initial interview, since it was for a job I didn’t apply for and didn’t think I qualified for.  And it would have been so easy to tell the woman who called from Human Resources that I just wasn’t available to come in that morning.  Looking back on it, I’m surprised I said yes, because taking risks is not my strong point.  I tend to play it cautious in life, choosing the easy option over the difficult one, and am a little too quick to think, “I can’t do that.”  But if I hadn’t stepped out of my comfort zone all those years ago, I would have missed out on a great part-time job.

I try to remember that these days, when I’m faced with an opportunity that feels a bit too challenging and my first instinct is to say, “no thanks.”  I try to remember that every good thing that has happened in my life:  my marriage, my children, my writing, my volunteering, etc., came only when I was willing to try something new and take on a challenge I wasn’t entirely sure I could handle. Mostly, I try to remember that, when given the choice, it is almost always better to take the risk.


29 thoughts on “Take The Chance

  1. Isn’t it funny how the very things you initially think are a bad idea turn out to be the very best! The same goes for situations you accidentally stumble into. I can’t tell you how often fate has put me at the right place at the right time for something I totally would have walked away from it I’d had time to consider it.

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  2. Another great post, Ann. Who knew we had so much in common, subbing and working in HR. 😊
    But you’re so right about taking chances. Our fears and insecurities sometimes hold us back from possibilities and the chance to enjoy life in so many different ways. Sometimes it only takes one step and a few moments of feeling uncomfortable before it all begins to click into place. All we ever need to do is give the opportunity a chance.

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    • Sometimes taking that one step is hard for me, but afterwards, I am always glad that I did it. Even when things didn’t work out, I have the satisfaction of knowing that I tried. And that’s so much better than always having to wonder, “what if?”

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  3. Ann, this is such a great reminder to not let fear get in the way. Like you, I’m often timid when it comes to taking risks. But when I do take a chance and something works out well, I just know it was meant to be!

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  4. I had a boss who always said to me that the only way to make progress was to step outside our comfort zone. I admit, I’m not great at doing this. I mean, it’s uncomfortable! I think he was probably right, though.

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  5. It’s fun to read about how the school district strongly encouraged you to be a substitute teacher. What a great adventure! Life has so many unexpected twists and turns that end up providing wonderful opportunities.

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  6. The message in your post is very timely for me. I am currently in the valley of decision as many new opportunities have been flung my way recently and with long range lenses I can see a better life for myself in the future. But getting there would involve stepping out of my comfort zone… Stepping out of the bubble of safety I’ve created for myself over the years and starting over from scratch. It’s a scary feeling, but all signs are pointing to a fresh start and I simply need to have faith in the higher power moving pieces into place for my good. And ultimately, I need to have faith in myself.

    Thank you for sharing your story. It has blessed me richly today.

    Hope you’re having a lovely weekend. Hugs ☺ 🌷

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  7. Thanks for taking the time to let me know this post spoke to you! I hope you do take the risk, and that it works out well for you. Sometimes it’s hard to have faith in ourselves, but if we don’t, we never find out just exactly what we can do! Best to you….


  8. Such a great picture! Remember the kids just like this. I bet you were amazing! Good subs are worth their weight in gold…

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    • Thanks, Louise! I remember why Cy was this age, too. And let me tell you, subs are only as good as the teachers they sub for. I knew exactly which classrooms would be easy for me to sub in. All I had to do was look at the lesson plan, and see what the kids were obviously used to. Good teachers are the key to everything…don’t ever doubt that. And you are one of the best!


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