School was out for the summer. The last few months I designated as an intentional “break” to archive projects, wrap up research, draft/edit/re-submit manuscripts, and continue my own learning. The Fall/Spring terms are full-on with a large course loads, so this pause from instruction offered me some mental space to reflect on my professional practice. My career questioning had me reflecting on my own interests, talents, and support. Like others, I’ve been rethinking what professional success looks and what really constitutes meaningful work for me.
Over the last five years I’ve been a non-tenure track faculty member, a Lecturer/Senior Lecturer who doesn’t really lecture, facilitating, designing, and creating digital learning experiences for a diverse, working adult population. I’ve also been able to collaborate with a clever group of researchers to understand more about how we educate online and explain/animate these practical outcomes/findings of our scholarship. Lately, I’ve been questioning my own direction. I’m not sure if more teaching is the right fit for me now — so I’ve come to the “what now?” and “what’s next?” crossroads. This professional itch definitely is driven by my goal to find a new challenge and a possible career change.
So, I spoke with a number of friends and peers in my professional learning network, to learn about their career changes, pivots, and moves. And, since I have a podcast (or two) and very gracious colleagues (who let me record these conversations), I decided to share what I was learning on the #InVinoFab podcast for a series called #CareerChangers back in 2019.
I’m so grateful for the candid sharing of their life experiences for me and the pod. I have no doubt that listeners (and maybe future listeners) will find these stories just as fruitful and interesting as I did. On #InVinoFab episode no. 44, I highlight my lessons I learned. Really, SO much more advice was offered — but I will let you listen and learn on your own. Here’s a quick preview of career changing advice:
- Find organizations that will help you to learn, grow, and thrive. ~ Diane
- Align your career with your personal and professional values. ~ @Kristin_Roe
- Build your community and expand your connections to support. ~ @GoogleGuacamole
- Be open to new opportunities, identify fit, and know this journey may not always direct. ~ @HRGore
- Consider how your collaborations and creative ideas can shape your body of work. ~ @DrHelenKara
- Assess, know, and play to your strengths to find ways to kindle your passions in work. ~ @ValerieHeruska
- Reflect on the “things” (the verbs) you enjoy doing daily: activities, tasks, and projects. ~ @JaimieLHoffman
- Always be learning and be a curious learner throughout your working life. ~ @Carol_Ed_Dev
This is just a slice. There was so much more I gleaned from these brilliant women (and many others) who let me bend their ear. I appreciate all of you who answered my questions, offered me professional advice, and provided me with insights to consider as I contemplate my career plans. Thanks y’all!
Beyond these informational interviews/conversations, I’ve been listening to and reading loads on the topic of career transitions/pivots. Here is my short list of podcasts and book recommendations, on the topic of career exploration/development, professional pathways, talent discovery, and what it means to get through this process:
- Going Through It mailchimp.com/presents/podcast/going-through-it/
- Hello Monday www.stitcher.com/podcast/cadence13/hello-monday-2
- Longform Podcast longform.org/podcast
- Present Company podbay.fm/podcast/1468510314
- Designing Your Life: Build a Life that Works for You by Bill Burnett & Dave Evans
- Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes by William Bridges
- Reboot: Leadership and the Art of Growing Up by Jerry Colonna
- Pivot: The Only Move that Matters is your Next One by Jenny Blake
With all this reflection/learning about careers, I thought I should mention…
I Quit My Job!
I decided to take a leap and I turned in my resignation in August. After spending 10 years at the University of North Texas, as a graduate student, staff, and faculty member (sometimes in a couple of roles, concurrently), I knew it was time to say goodbye. This end to a decade of work, did not come without all the feelings (good and bad); however, I thought it was time to make the move. Oh — did I mention I made this leap without the safety net of another job offer or another role lined up? This is true. Brave. Impressive. Stupid. What? These might be a few of the things going through your head (and mine) — but make no mistake, this decision was by choice and not just by chance. I am not lucky but rather being purposeful of what I do next — with the option to do so for once (i.e. no visa restrictions/requirements). p.s. If you email Laura.Pasquini@unt.edu — you are out of luck, as this address is gone. 🙂
The purpose of this career leap is to search, apply, and seek out a new professional experience to really excite and challenge me. Life is too short to “sort of” like what you do, as we spend a great chunk of our lives working. Since I gave my notice, I have a had an offer, negotiated for salary, turned down an offer, had discussions about another role to be created, and then some. I am not defecting from work. I don’t want to start my own business. Nor is this a move to ‘disrupt’ careers in higher ed. And, you will not find me outside your office window with my boombox protesting for a job reunion. All this, is to say:
“I am officially on the job market.”
I am looking for an organization where my skills and talents will be valued, and I can thrive in a thoughtful and creative culture. I am a solid multipotentialite who would be a perfect intrepreneur for any organization, if you are in need of a Laura-Of-All-Trades related to learning design, research, training, performance, and creative works. I know that I thrive in a multifaceted role that offers some agility and growth. And, I definitely want to be part of a collective that is seeking to improve the status quo and loves to have a curious learner around to think about things a bit differently. My future professional role is not industry-specific, nor does it require any set location.
I am MUCH MORE concerned with the VERBS (the work and what I’ll be doing), rather than the NOUNS (the title, role, or label) for what comes next. And looking back at my “Idea Job” description, I blogged about few years back and I smiled as most of these attributes and interests still hold true (+any opportunity to join a media/audio/podcast production team).
I smiled a bit when I heard the Overcoats song called ‘The Fool’ as I could identify with the sentiments and purpose of this song’s goal towards new beginnings:
JJ Mitchell (of the Overcoats) described how their song ‘The Fool’ (song) is similar to the tarot card: “It signifies taking a leap of faith and jumping into the unknown. Conceptually, it felt like the beginning of the project. We wiped the slate clean and decided to jump. That’s why the video includes the footage of us shaving our heads. We’re ‘The Fool’, and we’re taking our leap.”
For now, this “fool” is has leaped and is around and open to the possibilities. What are you thinking about your world of work these days? Are there potential career opportunities I should consider? What questions/emotions/thoughts are you contemplating about your own career path and professional life? Feel free to reach out, I’ve got nothing but time – let’s connect!
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