One of the first rules drilled into a beginner driver is to signal a lane change. At some point, the road you’re on will come to an end and it’s time to exit. Signaling a lane change could literally save your life. Driving my hooptie to the bank to put money into my college savings was a big deal to me. I had two jobs, savings and I didn’t have to ask for a ride. Life was sweet. Several exits away from my destination that peaceful lullaby abruptly stopped playing. The driver to my right decided to jet around the car in front of him who was signaling it’s exit. I saw the signal of the car exiting and didn’t react quick enough to miss the guy to my right. He didn’t see me. He couldn’t wait five more seconds or at least check his peripheral.
On impact, my hooptie reduced the resale value of his brand new car to zero. His failure to signal his lane change was all on him. He tried to present me as wrong. A seasoned driver would have anticipated a car going around in that instance he snarled. My mother, who had to be called in that era to remove the car because I was being ticketed, countered him. Your clients need their money back. The best defense of your apparent ineptness at decision-making is to fault her. She should have anticipated your illegal decision. She went in hard on him and asked why didn’t you merely signal your lane change and you wouldn’t be putting your reputation in jeopardy right now. While he may not have benefited from what she said, I certainly did.
My transition from teaching to coasting to social security has been erratic at times. Each time I tried to leave teaching, I’d start a job that I either wasn’t intellectually, emotionally or financially ready to pursue long term. After a short while, I’d decide that I had to go back into the classroom. The job didn’t meet my intellectual, emotional or financial needs. Decisively, my final year teaching in the US helped me to signal my lane change, All the joy of teaching was gone. My children were now adults and I needed to pursue me. Well, I needed money to do that.
The only way I knew how to make money was as a teacher. Given the right atmosphere, I could do anything for a minute. So, I applied to teach overseas. My son and I made the twenty- two hour drive from Houston, through Dallas to Pgoenix. We drove all night to get there in time for the interview. Upon returning, I sold that car for money to go to Abu Dhabi. All in at that point, I knew in my heart that when I returned I was through teaching. But I needed that opportunity to financially sustain a permanent lane change.
Check your mirrors
Not properly preparing for the next step of my life had me looking like a driver weaving in and out of traffic, I kept looking for my exit. Leaving teaching for a while and then returning only to leave again. My last official teaching job, oh yea! Deplaning in Abu Dhabi I remember gazing out and remarking, I’m good. God signaled it was time, my destination was just up ahead. During that three year drive to complete the last mile of the way, I looked to the left and in the rear view mirror. Many times pondering whether to pull over to the shoulder to co,nsider changing my mind because I didn’t know where taking that exit would lead me. I only knew to trust God completely.
God equipped my mother with the tenacity to advocate for me when hitting a lawyer was a frightening ordeal for a seventeen year old. He wiped my tears and led me right to Wendys for a part time job when my financial aid wasn’t adequate that first year of college. God used a commercial to prompt me to change doctors for my son and that literally saved his life. He woke me up out of a dead sleep when a loved one was being attacked so I could render aid. God gave me the strength to focus on my child who needed me to be there at a hard moment. He guided my job search that resulted in that deplaning pronouncement.
One year after returning from Abu Dhabi, a recruiter called me for a job I didn’t apply for. Instinctively, I accepted the interview and immediately felt it wasn’t for me. I was wrong. It wasn’t anything I would have picked for me, but I totally trusted God then like so many times before, He was in control. After all those years of teaching, I was struggling to let it go. I waffled and wavered. I put in so many applications to teach and got called for interviews for many of them. I literally got physically ill when they contacted me. I didn’t show up for any of those interviews. I knew that I was through with teaching, but a part of me couldn’t accept it. Finally, I changed lanes and took the exit.
I now work customer service and am too relaxed at times. All the skills in my toolkit from all the jobs I’ve held before come into play. I do a great job to please an audience of One. I smile genuinely and truly feel I’m in my element. Every winding road I’ve gone down in my life was for a reason. When I think about how things could have turned out on some of those roads, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude that I’m able to sit here and type about my gratitude.
So when the time comes for you to change lanes from where you are to where you’re going, signal. Don’t trip yourself or anyone else up as you exit. When you reach your destination, share the journey!