Sunday, August 26, 2007

A few (okay, well many) words on what lead up to my career change

Growing up it was always impressed upon me by my parents how important it was to do well in school and to go to college if at all possible. Not really by them saying it as much as their actions on the subject. My parents sacrificed quite a bit to make sure that my sister and I had a solid foundation in grammar school. I am forever thankful for the opportunity.

I did well academically in high school and found that I was especially interested in Psychology and Sociology, and specifically criminal justice. I always thought that any sort of future career goals should involve something that I found interesting. So focusing on Psychology and Sociology as an undergrad was a no-brainer. But unlike many of the overachieving high school seniors that I graduated with, I didn't really have a career plan. Which was okay at the time. I was going to college and that was all that mattered.

My senior year as an undergraduate, I thought I was going to law school. Then I had a total freak-out the week before I graduated and under the guise of "I'm going to take a year to figure out where I want to go to law school", I left with my BA in Psychology not knowing what the heck I was going to do. I took an intro class in radio broadcasting at a local community college and did a stint on their AM radio station. I took a job filling phone orders at a catalog call center. Then a position opened up where I interned my sophomore year. I figured -- here I have this BA in Psychology ... I might as well use it for something. So for my first "real job" I was asked to take on the role of Juvenile Counselor a.k.a. Juvenile Probation Officer for the local Department of Juvenile Justice/Juvenile Services (or whatever they call it these days). Thus started my foray into the human services/non-profit world.

From Juvenile Justice I bounced around quite a bit ... spent some time coordinating a needs assessment for children and family services where I lived; worked in victim/witness assistance in the State's Attorney's Office; facilitated state-wide community planning for HIV prevention services and coordinated a mobile HIV early-intervention program; became an information specialist for the local department of Social Services; ran a restorative justice program for juvenile offenders; was program director for a local non-profit that focused on reducing gang activity among youth; and coordinated technical assistance projects for school board members on school health topics.

For most of these job changes, I rationalized it with - it wasn't the right position for me, I need to focus on a different area, there is no room to move upward in this organization, etc. I hated job jumping, but couldn't find the right fit anywhere. Someone once told me that it wasn't job jumping -- that I am a Renaissance woman, but I'm not sure future employers will see it that way. And then I was offered a job as an Executive Director for a local non-profit that focused on homeless prevention. I thought -- this is it, the job I've been looking for! But after almost of year of high-stress, low pay, and little support, I forced myself to face facts --- it is time for something completely different.

I looked at some of the projects I enjoyed during my time in the non-profit/human services sector and decided to pursue a career path that incorporated training and technology. I started working for the local community college in their Extended Learning Program. I took a few classes at the local university focusing on Instructional Technology and Instructional Design. And then I decided to take the plunge and start a full-time program with the goal of "immersing" students in a legitimate instructional design project. That will start tomorrow. I'm not sure what to expect. But I know it will be pretty intense based on the feedback from former Immersion students.

One of my high school instructors insisted that I would become a teacher. A colleague once remarked that I am a process person. I love learning about and trying out new technologies when possible. If this program will not test the validity of these statements, I'm not sure what will.

I hope I can post consistently on my experience. If not, that means I am completely snowed under with work. But I do appreciate you checking in every once in awhile to see my progress.



Jeannie said...

"But I do appreciate you checking in every once in awhile to see my progress."

Of course I will! You are obviously very intelligent. You'll do just fine in graduate school.

I will miss you around Konpira's site, but you will be in my thoughts. Keep in touch.

ID Grad Student said...

Thanks Jeannie -- you are too kind!

jen said...

I must admit my ineptitude at blogging and coming up with names for blogs. It is all new to me!! But I enjoyed reading yours and I look forward to reading more as the semester progresses. Best of luck to you for a happy, productive grad school experience. I'm sure you will do great. :)

pamwax said...

I am sure you will be fine. I know what you are facing. My son is getting his Masters in Math as we speak. He also teaches full time. It is not easy but well worth it. Hang in there.

pamwax said...

I have every confidence that you will be fine. My son is getting his Masters in math and teaching full time so I know how tough it can be. Hang in there, you'll do great

ID Grad Student said...

Thanks everyone for your support!

elaine said...

Enjoyed your blog -- especially the part about your parents! I learned quite a bit about your new venture.

I guess you could say you are a dolpher or a beavin.

I know you'll "shine", as you always do, -- because "your day is what YOU make of it"!