Career, Job Search, Reflections

The Fool Leaps (I Quit My Job)

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:

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:

  1. Find organizations that will help you to learn, grow, and thrive. ~ Diane
  2. Align your career with your personal and professional values. ~ @Kristin_Roe
  3. Build your community and expand your connections to support. ~ @GoogleGuacamole
  4. Be open to new opportunities, identify fit, and know this journey may not always direct. ~ @HRGore
  5. Consider how your collaborations and creative ideas can shape your body of work. ~ @DrHelenKara
  6. Assess, know, and play to your strengths to find ways to kindle your passions in work. ~ @ValerieHeruska
  7. Reflect on the “things” (the verbs) you enjoy doing daily: activities, tasks, and projects. ~ @JaimieLHoffman
  8. 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:

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!

#ugstJOUR

Digital Community Development with #ugstJOUR

This Fall semester I am co-teaching the UGST 1000 – First Year Seminar class which is partnered with the Introduction to Mass Communication (JOUR 1210) and U.S. History I (HIST 2610) in a Learning Community at UNT. This section of the First Year Seminar will be connected and engaged on campus, in the community, and online. The plan is to connect students to helpful resources, people, learning opportunities, and places that best support their major/career decisions, while developing their digital identity, and grow their learning networks:

Last Fall, our class experimented with Tumblr for reflections, but I have decided to return to my tried and true avenues for blogging and communication – WordPress and Twitter. To thread our class learning network, my students are sharing their blog reflections and will be tweeting with the hashtag #ugstJOUR. The class will use #ugstJOUR to tag and link their questions, comments, blog posts, assignments, and more throughout the semester. BYOD will be encouraged and utilized for this class.

Here is the WordPress and Twitter section of my class syllabus:

WordPress (WP) Posts:  Throughout the semester you will be asked to reflect about class topics, assignments and other happenings having to do with major/career exploration.  Rather than using a paper journal or requiring you to turn in a reflection, we would like you create your own WordPress blog to share your journey with the class.   Each WP post should have a minimum of 350 words, and posts are due by 11 pm on the date which are listed on the class schedule.  This assignment will be graded as follows:

A = a response that is well-written at the level of both the sentence and the paragraph; it addresses with precision all the required elements and utilizes theory to develop a creative solution to the issue/topic
B = a response whose sentence and paragraph-level writing is good but not distinguished; it addresses with some degree of specificity the required elements and a creative solution to the issue/topic
C = a response whose sentence and paragraph level writing is average and not particularly clear; it addresses a potentially interesting point with the issue/topic being addressed but without precision
D = a poorly written and superficially conceived approach to the issue/topic
F = a work with barely coherent response to the issue/topic or not meeting the word minimum

About WordPress. WordPress blog accounts are free and can be created by visiting http://wordpress.com. If you are able to write in a word document, then you should be okay to write blog posts. For more information, be sure to read the instructions at the end of this syllabus. By default, all posts to WordPress are public and open for everyone to see.  Since we hope that our class is a sharing and connected community, we would like to keep all blogs public. If there are topics or posts that you do not want to share with the class or world at large, please feel free to post these privately to share with only the instructors. Just be sure to provide us with the password so that I may read them for grading purposes. Additionally, when creating posts for WP, you are free to express yourself in any way you see fit.  While every class-assigned post (you are free to post more than is required) must include some form of written explanation, you are totally free to include pictures, videos, audio, etc. In fact, I encourage this.  Because these are blog posts and personal reflections, I will not be asking you to create bibliographies or citation pages, but do be aware that it is good netiquette to link back to the sites that provided your material.  You can find the Official UGST 1000.003 WordPress blog at http://ugstjour.wordpress.com/. For help go to: HOW TO: Set Up a WordPress Blog.

About Twitter: We will be using Twitter (https://twitter.com/) as a forum to engage in conversation inside and outside of our class meetings. Twitter is a form of communication where you can share short, 140-character messages with others. During the semester, you can follow the class twitter handle @ugstJOUR [https://twitter.com/ugstJOUR] and we will be using the hashtag #ugstJOUR to connect our messages.  You can sign up for a free Twitter account, upload a picture and create your own bio. Regular questions and prompts will be given to respond with using the #ugstJOUR hashtag, and you will be required to respond to others tweets as well. For help go to: HOW TO: Set Up a Twitter Account.

Be sure to follow the class  #ugstJOUR WP Blog and Twitter handle @ugstJOURThis two spaces will be used during the semester for general class announcements, campus updates, information sharing, helpful resources and they will serve as a model for your own blogging and tweeting experiences. Also be sure to follow your fellow #ugstJOUR blogs & Twitter accounts. This learning network will be a great space for you to connect, post, communicate & share both inside and outside of our class meeting times.