I abandoned my pursuit of a History Ph.D. in 1996.
At the time, my colleagues asked “So what are you going to do? Teach?” They had images of me standing in front of a classroom of 6th graders.
My response was “I’m not sure, but I have transferable skills as a result of this education. I’m sure I’ll come up with something.”
This question kept popping up in the back of my head:
How do I combine the History experience with the Staging experience and do so in a way where I could put together a career and make a decent living?
I knew that a long career as a full-time stagehand was not my path – which was why I pursued a History
After a move to Baltimore and a few false starts, I found myself working at Towson University in the Media Library. This was the combination I was looking for – I could leverage my History experience and my Staging experience in that job.
Towson also had an Instructional Technology graduate program – which provided a way forward and a framework where I could learn and study whatever caught my fancy. Since the degree program directly related to my work – I was able to apply my homework assignments to my job and vice versa.
I’m not sure I would have been able to complete my MS in Instructional Technology if I didn’t have the ability to combine my job and my schooling in that way.
The result – a successful 15-year career in Instructional Technology and IT that has provided a great living, many opportunities to learn, exposure to bleeding edge technologies, and an awesomely supportive cohort of professional colleagues.
So far, none of them have told me that I am off my rocker (to my face) yet.
As I shift into my next chapter, I’m asking myself a similar question to the one I asked as I left my History Ph.D. program over 20 years ago.
How do I combine what I’ve learned over the years and create a vocation that supports others while being personally sustainable?
It’s a measure of the evolution of my friends that the knee jerk question has not been “So when are you going to start working for Amazon?”
Nothing against Amazon (or the rest of Corporate A
Furthermore, 2018 taught me that if I have something that I want to contribute to the world, now is the time to do it.
Being able to combine goals and also combine goals with the opportunities that present themselves is a powerful technique.
- I want to live overseas and have a strong relationship with my family. What would that combination look like?
- I want to go on outdoor adventures and make a good living. What would that combination look like?
- I want to travel around the world and have kids. What would that combination look like?
- I enjoy writing and I enjoy trapeze work. What would that combination look like?
Combine any two seemingly conflicting activities or goals. I find it a great trigger for creative thinking and opening myself up to new opportunities.