The Whole Experience has been Bittersweet

I’m going back to Dallas tomorrow night.

I’m really looking forward to seeing my wife and children. It’s been over five months since I last saw them. I’m looking forward to seeing all my friends and relatives. I’m also looking forward to enjoying certain food items.

As you can see from a few of my recent posts, I have managed to have some fun while here on the island. It’s kind of hard to leave behind my new friends. My social life has finally started rolling. I even went to a wonderful dinner party Saturday night. The first one in my nine months on the island. As a result of the improved social life, I finally have become comfortable here. It began about 6 weeks ago.

I’m leaving the island. And by any measure the whole nine months has been a failure. I came here all excited about the venture. I was going to be part of starting a new school. A school that over time would grow into an international brand in education. My excitement was crushed my first day on the job when I finally learned about the structure of the organization. It was clear to me that the manner in which the school had been staffed was going to be a problem. It was clear to me that I should have quit on the first day and flown back home to beg for my old job. I decided that I had signed on for a year and I could manage one year anywhere doing anything. I mean, come on! I spent three years on active duty in the Marine Corps. I’ve been married over 20 years. I certainly could handle a tough working environment for one year, right? I was also being paid handsomely to do so. It should have been easy enough.

But a tough job where you don’t get paid really sucks. Nine months away from home when I’m not sending the money I was supposed to send home sucks even worse. A tough job, with no pay, half way around the world from your family Really. Sucks. Big. Time.

I’ve thrown in the towel. I will return to Dallas, landing Wednesday afternoon, more than a little pissed about the whole affair.

I have thoughtfully examined my own effort. I have wondered, did I push hard enough to move the organization in the direction it needed to move? I believe I have. The only thing I could have done more would have been to just throw temper tantrums, yell at people and just be a complete autocrat. I don’t think that would have worked as I would have totally alienated myself from my coworkers and management. I would have been fired. I am comfortable with the effort I’ve put in here. I’m comfortable knowing that if I had been listened to a little more, the school would be in much better condition than it is currently in. I am also comfortable knowing that it would have been tough, under the best of circumstances, given the very limited capital available to the school at the start.

Starting a school is a difficult task. If you don’t have the capital and don’t have good people, there is no chance for success. It is only a matter of time before this place is completely shuttered. I feel sorry for the students.

I have talked to people from other schools, when I tell them how many students we have, how many accredited programs we have, etc. they all tell me that we’ve done an amazing job. I don’t feel like it’s been amazing as I know, acutely, how much financial trouble the organization currently is in.

I do have a return ticket back here. I will come back if I’m not paid. My boss does not want me back. I think it’s a good thing to have my return hanging over his head. I just might get paid what I’m owed.

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