Do the Damn Job. Period.

Gotta give some credit here – Cristian Mihai over at  The Art of Blogging  got me inspired this week into “punch the damn keys”.  Thanks Cristian!  So here we go . . . .

This school year has been a marathon with some bootcamp-style obstacle courses thrown in once in while, just to keep it interesting.

What the what?!

I’m sure you’ve had one of those times in your life, too.  The funny thing is, after living through a lot of variations of this scenario, I find it never really gets any easier to get through it.  I feel like it should get easier.  But no – it doesn’t.

What DOES get easier is recognizing the situation for what it is and accepting that it’s going to suck for while.  I can freak out, complain, quit , OR . . . just do the damn job and put in the work. Period.

So what does that mean for me?

It means make a list of all the things I need to do (no matter how long that list is!), start prioritizing the order it needs to get done in, and fight the urge to freak out and hyperventilate at the sheer volume of work that has to be done in such a short amount of time.  As awful as that list can look, I need to know the truth of what I’m facing.  I can’t do the job if I don’t know about it in the first place.   Believe me – there are some tasks I really wish I didn’t know about.  However, the head-in-the-sand approach usually just gets me kicked in the caboose.

It means do all the mundane, boring, time-intensive stuff that is not sexy, goes on behind the scenes, and chances are no one even knows I do it.  And do it every day . . . on time . . . to the best of my ability.  Whether I want to or not.  Period.

It means get that schedule and routine set and then DO IT!! Every day.  Do it even when the day is going sideways.  Do it even when it seems everyone has a problem they need me to have already solved 5 minutes ago.  Do it when the report I need to have done by 4:30 suddenly has to be in a different format – and I find that out at 4:00.

Breathe.  Stay calm.  Maybe even laugh at the absurdity of it all.  Yes, sometimes it really is so over-the-top it actually IS funny!

And do the damn job.

How do I know this is the right course of action?  Well, my students let me know it is.

My students have always been and continue to be my endless source of inspiration, renewed commitment, and still provide me with the “why” I run this gauntlet every year.  And this year is no exception.  Here’s just a few examples from this past week alone that give me that boost.

  • A kindergartener who did such an awesome job in class he earned the chance to come eat lunch with me. He’d heard that I was a drummer, and he was so excited to tell me he’s a drummer too! He’s five, and he was so happy to spend his lunch period talking to me about drums and drumming, like I’m some kind of rock star.  I was humbled, grateful for such a moment, and just happy to share my love of drumming with another drummer.  I told him we totally need to do something drums together at one of our monthly HERO assemblies.  He looked like he’d just won the lottery.


  • A student who I’ve been talking with for over a year about making good choices, choosing friends carefully, and taking responsibility for his own successes or flops, sat in my office and told me he wanted me to know he finally decided to listen to my advice – and things are starting to go a lot better for him in class. I told him how proud I was of him making good decisions for himself – he’s worth it.


  • Three different fifth graders who signed up for Running Club, of which I’m one of the coaches, who told me thank you for coaching them and doing this every week.One said she wants to be a runner; one said he needs this so he can go out for sports in middle school; and one is overweight but she said she’s so grateful we didn’t say she couldn’t join because she wants to get healthy.

Amazing kids, amazing stories, and when I get frustrated, tired, or just plain run on empty, they are the “why” I shut up, get going, and do the damn job.  Period.

What gives you that boost you need to keep going when the  Top of the World falls on you?  (song title and lyrics by All American Rejects)

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