According to Hans Urs von Balthasar “a vocation is something lived, something enacted and a concrete life story” (Contino, 2004, p. 85). My vocational life story has developed over the past forty years with my first job at twelve babysitting six children to where I stand today teaching home economics at Chowchilla high school. “I build my own life story through the decisions of projects I undertake” and the choices I have made regarding my career path (Contino, 2004, p. 85). Someone looking from the outside at my wandering path might believe of my career changes seem a bit radical. Moving bicoastal, leaving a stable career of twenty five plus years to go back to college, take a pay cut and joining the unstable labor market of Home Economic teachers to some seem strange. In retrospect my personal values, leadership strengths and leadership lens validate many of these career choices in the past and will continue to play an important part in my future as an educational leader.
My “five top personal values” according to the “Core Leadership Values Identification” are “Creativity, Fun, Learning, Relationships and Relevance” ("Core leadership values," ). These personal values have dictated much of my career path choices and help fulfilled my vocation calling. They are also interrelated and link directly with my “five top leadership strengths” according to the Gallup Clifton Strength Finder 2.0 of “Ideation, Input, Adaptability, Empathy and Activator” (Gallup, Inc., 2014). My career vocation is at the core of how I view myself as a person. In order for me to view my métier as rewarding it needs to have elements to allow me to create, grow mentally, be part of a community, have an element of fun and feel that the work is relevant. If all of these factors are not part of the job, I can get frustrated, disillusion and look for a new area to explore.
I spent over twenty five years in research and development for Food Manufactures where using Transactional leadership lens strengths were advantageous as a results-driven strategic planning leader. A core member on cross-functional business ideation teams, I was the key in-house creative resource person for culinary and concept development for marketing, public relationship and advertisement campaigns. I managed staff and freelancers while developing and delivered projects and marketing programs using SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely) goals" (Dems, 2008). Overall I was good at my job and extremely satisfied with my vocation. When I look at why I changed jobs it was due to one of the leadership strengths not being met anymore. My job is more than a pay check. A career vocation needs to be meaningful, allow me to learning and create with a social element. Through the vocation of education I can meet these needs by make a difference and giving meaning back into my career for the second half of my life.
As a teacher, my leadership lens has been as a situational style leader...