My title does a terrible job at explaining what I do. My own colleagues – the language instructors, the IT guy, the security guard, the lunchtime cook – they’ve been here for many years now, and they still have no idea what my role does or why.
As a Leadership Resident, my goal is to serve as a role model and mentor, sharing my knowledge and experience. It’s like I live in a sorority, but without the risk management. Instead, I manage stress levels and sleep schedules, boosting confidence and building strength. I’m a Big Sis with 31 Littles.
Let me explain in further detail. Depending on the time of day and the company I keep, I could be an English teacher, a consultant, a counselor, a professional developer, IT support, a therapist, a yoga instructor, a motivational speaker, an administrator, a project manager, a life coach, a comedian, or most importantly, a judge on The Voice Cambodia on the bus ride to Kampong Som.
The work can be frustrating. There aren’t enough resources, no structure. The language barrier between English and Khmer can be extensive. There is a point where I run out of extroversion. Working afternoons and nights as an early bird can be miserable. And despite being Asian, I’m also American, which leads to moments where harmony is out the door and independence just can’t handle how things work here.
I’m spread thin. No college degree could prepare me for this. And to be honest, I’m not sure I signed up for this.
In spite of all this, I am exceptionally grateful and happy. I’m amazed at how much purpose and impact can fuel you. While my previous careers left me empty at 75%, I can somehow muster up 150% with less comfort, money, or clout.
When your work feels like it changes lives, when you’re solving problems of a magnitude beyond your ego or paycheck, it’s remarkable how much abundance, community, and resilience you receive.