Why do I get up every morning? Well, for starters, to exercise and get dressed before the toddler awakens with the energy of a T-Rex. And secondly, I get up to go to work. And not just any work. What I truly feel is the most important work I may ever do (outside of being a mother to baby T-Rex). I work in education. No I don’t teach students, counsel students, or coach students. In fact, I don’t even come in contact with students. Yet, students, are always on the top of my mind.
How did I get here?
I haven’t always worked in education. I went to college with big dreams of being….a graphic designer for MTV, a news anchor for NBC, a retail merchandiser for The Limited, a salesperson for Pfizer. Notice anything? There is no mention of education or software. The corporate world interested me from an early age. With corporations come prestige, security, notoriety, and, most of all, high pay. After college I proceeded to enter the “corporate” world. I managed accounts and sold insurance & securities. I wore suits and heels and shook hands a lot. I looked really legit in the grocery store in my stilettos and pencil skirts. The only problem was, I was empty inside. I was always worried about the next sale, the next big account, the next promotion up the ladder. Now I don’t want to knock that career path, there is nothing wrong with it. The world is built by people in those skirts and suits. You know, “they drive their shiny Datsuns and Buicks, back to the phone company, the record stores too” (I digress). They make the trains run on time and ensure profit expectations are met. But for me, I was not fulfilled. Working for an education software company doesn’t come without it’s challenges. In fact, most days are more challenging than not, but working for an education software company is, above all things, fulfilling.
The only person we can blame for being unhappy in an unfulfilling career is ourself. We choose the path and we can change that path. I chose to change my path and join SchoolStatus, a software company working with K12 schools. When I joined SchoolStatus I knew very little about software, and I knew even less about the most effective ways of educating students. But I had heart. I had, and still have, a passion for serving our customers...educators. I quickly saw and heard firsthand the challenges educators face day in and day out doing the tough work that is educating our future generations. I heard their struggles and saw their faces light up when they used SchoolStatus. I saw a weight being lifted when they realized the power of our data analytics to drive student outcomes. I see amazing men and women doing the heavy lifting because they’re driven by a passion for student success. Their hard work often goes unnoticed or taken for granted. If I can make their lives easier or more effective... If I can make even the slightest difference in the education of students... That, my friends, is why I get up in the morning...why I’m fulfilled in my career.
Work is more than just a paycheck. It’s more than a title or a fancy office. Whether we like to admit it or not, we are our careers. It’s where we spend the majority of our time, energy, and passion. So whatever your career choice, make sure it’s fulfilling.
Leslie Ortego finds personal fulfillment leading the Operations Team for SchoolStatus. She encourages and enables her people to be the best customer service in the business. Find out what happy customers are saying here.