OK so I found this question really difficult to answer. 

The word meaningful is a difficult one. I have friends who are doctors, friends who are carers, friends who are coaches and counsellors. How do you define ‘meaningful’?

This blog is a little late (I had intended to write it on Friday night when I got home but I crashed out at 8pm following a run of late nights and early mornings) but when I pulled this card out on Friday morning I was about to spend the day with my best friend – in her workplace. So it seems appropriate to pick her and what she does.

Kate and I have been friends for 21 years since our college days. We did performing arts together and she went on to perform in the West End and travel with her singing. I went on to focus on broadcasting and then communications.

A few years ago Kate decided to train to be a teacher and for the last few years has been a drama teacher in a high school in my home town. For the last year she’s also been head of Yr 11 which I’m sure you’ll agree must be a tough gig!

I’ve never actually seen her at work before and I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Teaching the next generation

Being a teacher, I imagined, would be very strict and stern and require lots of shouting. While some of that is true, it was great to witness Kate in action. She adores her job, talks so highly of her students – even the ones who prove a challenge and she works really hard balancing it with being a good mum. She’s also responsible for putting on some incredible performances and I’ve been proud to go and watch her full-scale musicals of Oliver! and Joseph & His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat at school. You watch those kids who she’s poured all her energy into and you forget they’re teenagers in a school – the performances are amazing.

On Friday Kate asked me to go and deliver a talk on self discipline to the Year 11 kids. It was 30 students a time, over five sessions and I loved it! Some were engaged, some were half asleep but one thing was constant and remained true – they love Mrs Chapman!

What I admired most about seeing Kate in action at work is that she is exactly the same person with the kids as the same best friend I’ve loved for two decades. That’s the reason why they love her – she’s just herself.

The point about it being meaningful is true. Kate is helping young people shape the rest of their lives and her particular subject – drama helps kids to discover their inner confidence or express themselves. We all have that one teacher from our school days who we will never forget and I’m sure in years to come she will be that teacher they remember with fondness.

What can you learn from them?

So the question here on today’s writing prompt asks what you can learn from this person. I can learn that showing up as yourself is a good thing. I try and do this anyway in my work and it is liberating being able to be yourself. Kate is really herself with those kids and as a result they can go to her for support. I can also learn to be more organised and structure as Kate is the most organised person I know. I even had a slide about it in my presentation!

I can also learn that a job is meaningful when it means something to you personally. This is what Kate wanted to do so she went out there, trained, qualified, got the experience and worked hard to get where she is. Her job means everything to her and it shows. It’s her purpose and her calling. I know my purpose and calling is writing and expressing. It fires me up and makes me so happy. I look forward to the day when I can do it full time. If I develop the same tenacity and organisation skills as Kate, I’m sure I’ll get there soon!

What about you? Which of your friends have jobs that are meaningful or that you can learn from?

Gem x