When you find your dream, never let go, not for all the money or prestige in the world. Otherwise, you may regret it later. Your dream is a reflection of your soul, of who you really are. Finding your dream, your niche, is hard enough. Discarding it in a knee-jerk move can be disaster.
eastwind journals, November 5, 2021
By Bernie V. Lopez, email@example.com
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Inspired by a true story, Professor Joel teaches Accounting for Beginners at the Ateneo Graduate School of Business (the old name). At that time, I was teaching Communications. Joel had the ability to simplify complex accounting principles. As a result, he became very popular and students would flock to his class even though the subject was an elective.
Students had a chance to evaluate professors at the end of the course, with the goal to improve curriculum. The students ranked professors as ‘5’ for excellent and ‘1’ for poor. Joel and I always got a ‘5’ in all our subjects. So, we were both called ‘555’ by students.
The school opened up another section when his class started to overflow. The new professor, inexperienced on the subject, secretly copied Joel’s syllabus for his class.
Prof. Joel – Copying my syllabus secretly is unforgiveable.
Me – You’re angry because he did not ask your permission. So what? Sharing your syllabus is a benefit to the students and the school. You have to forgive him, Joel, otherwise this unexpressed grudge will consume you.
Prof. Joel – You’re right. I did not look at it that way.
The new professor came up to him one day to apologize.
Joel was elated when he was appointed Assistant Dean. He continued teaching, and got a fixed extra pay on top of his per-unit salary as a professor. There was a move by young Turks in the faculty to get rid of the seniors with their ‘out-dated’ teaching methods. Slowly, they were replaced, except Prof. Joel. Students threatened to stage a protest if he was ousted. He was the only senior professor retained.
As time went by, Joel was promoted to Dean, the most prestigious graduate school position. But as a full-time Dean, he had to stop teaching. He had to give up the greatest love of his life. He was so alive in the classroom. When he saw the faces of students light up, that was its own reward. Sharing his wisdom was all he lived for.
Prof. Joel – I miss my classroom days.
Me – It’s your fault. The prestige and high pay blinded you. You replaced the magic of the classroom with the boredom of administration work that is now killing you. Resign and go back to teaching. Get demoted to get promoted.
And so, Joel went back to teaching and lived happily ever after.
Eddie was a first-class field journalist who delivered fantastic articles, which made him famous. One day, they ‘promoted’ him to Editor. Eddie grabbed the opportunity. Alas, after just a week, he started missing the excitement of field coverage – meeting tribal chieftains and communist commanders, rubbing elbows with mayors and governors, having dialogues with rainforests. Just like Joel, Eddie resigned and went back to field coverage. He was back in his niche. When they told him he was crazy, he just smiled in silence.
There are a dozen other professions with this predicament. A concert pianist gave up his solos to be the conductor. Losing the creative and expressive aspect of his life in favor of prestige destroyed him. Last but not least, a human rights lawyer gave up the joy of free legal services to the oppressed with low pay to become the spokesperson with high pay for a congressman who never knew what he was talking about. She would pass quickly scribbled replies from behind him in front of the TV cameras to help him answer questions. Alas, the hypocrisy killed her spirit.
When you find your niche, never let go. Never sacrifice fulfillment for higher pay or prestige. Your creative and expressive skills are your greatest treasures, which are like fine desert sands. The more you grasp fine sand, the more it falls away. Loosen up and you retain it.
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Author’s Credentials. Blogger – ex-Columnist (Inquirer) – Healing Ministry – ex-Professor (Ateneo University) – Documentary Producer-Director (freelance, ex-ABS-CBN, ex-TVS Tokyo) – ex-Broadcaster (Radio Veritas) – Facebook “Bernie V. Lopez Eastwind” / Pages “Eastwind Journeys and Journals” and “Mary Queen of Peace”.