Friday, November 06, 2015

Mid-Career and Liking It

It occurred to me I a) haven't written in my blog in just over a year, and b) I do really enjoy and miss regular writing. I may take it up again to exercise my writing muscles by providing a few updates here and there.

This post is a brief reflection on my career. I consider myself to be in the beginning of my "middle aged" time, and I am also definitely mid-career. I like it. It's a good realization to actually enjoy one's career. I've been in higher education in some capacity for over 20 years now. That 20-year mark will be made official next summer when I will celebrate the 20-year anniversary of my master's degree in higher education. Earlier this week I celebrated the 5-year anniversary of earning my PhD in higher education. Time marches forward, and at the moment I feel I've usually used my time very well. Sometimes I felt it took a long while to complete my education, but if I look at it as an overall process, it's not like I'm "done" learning in my life. It's all one big ole process anyhow.

I enjoy directing the small research center here at LFU. It's been a good 15 months thus far, and I'm just beginning to get my grounding. That transition has taken quite a while, but here we are...transitioned in and moving ahead. I still have plenty to learn, but I'm certainly no longer "new" in this role anymore. Am at the time where I'm bringing about my own vision for the future of this center. That is both exciting and a little daunting at the same time, however, I definitely feel comfortable making these sorts of decisions based on my years of experience and steeped knowledge in this sort of assessment-y / research-y role. I look forward to working with the others in my department to help determine steps toward reaching that vision. If you had told me I'd be in this decision-making role at a LFU just a few years ago, I would have told you were you nuts. It's really cool to finally be at this point in my career.

It's also nice not to feel a huge push to consider what my next steps will be. And yet, I can visualize them pretty well. I will likely assume a role of AVP or VP for institutional effectiveness or something else in the long-range planning end of things to advise a president or a chancellor. I like the advisory, behind-the-scenes role. I think it suits me well to have some decision-making responsibilities but also to be supporting those who are on the front lines of our work. Sometimes I wonder if I want to be in a senior leadership role someday or whether or not I'd prefer the advisor-on-the-side sort of role I'm in now. Not sure yet, but fortunately there still is room for me to consider all sides and grow. And it seems that growth could occur here at LFU, so we may not be moving to Chesterley IV anytime soon, which is GOOD.

That's all for now. Next up will be some sort of a house update or two.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

RIP our beloved Chester: March 15, 1999 - October 20, 2014. We will always miss you.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Ten Months, Many Changes

It's been over ten months since I've written up here. Since then, we've gone through a pretty major renovation of our lives. We left Large State Capital after 7 years for a new job in Very Similar Large State Capital (VSLSC), in a different state, so I can work at Large Flagship University (LFU) helping to run a research center that studies college students. I love the new job thus far. While we were reluctant to even consider moving to a new destination at this point in our lives, the move has been quite worth the experience. Moose is settling into a new school very well, and Wife and I are adjusting to our new digs just fine.

Speaking of the new digs, the house itself (Chesterley III) is about half the age of Chesterley II, and yet it's already been renovated in terms of its kitchen, HVAC, carpet, and many fixtures in the bathrooms. Overall it's a great place that we hope to stay many years. Pictures forthcoming. In addition the place has a really swell garden and an irrigation system; already we're de-stressing in the garden and plan to keep it just as beautiful as it was when we first saw it.

Bad news is that our beloved Chester is not doing very well. He's reached the grand old age of 15 1/2, so he's lived a long life. He's slowing down and is no longer eating regularly. It's only a matter of time, I suppose, and it's really alright. I'll be very sad when he goes - after all we've had him in our family longer than our own son, so life will be very different without him. I don't look forward to that adjustment one bit.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Insulation and Offices

Maybe I'll turn this into a blog on house renovations after all? I dunno yet. 

Tomorrow morning we're having insulation blown into our attic. Said Attic currently has the original 1965 insulation that is now only 5" thick. We need 14-15" total to be up to the proper magical R-value of 38 which apparently will keep us warm in the winter and cool in the summer. This makes sense, seeing that it in the winter it's about 2-3 degrees colder on the second floor as compared with the first. Heat rises, so yes, we've been heating Said Attic for the last six years. Sigh. Time to get that under control. 

And now back to the long-disputed issue of my Office-Prison. It's no longer really a prison unless I'm burning the midnight oil on a work-related project, seeing that I never do any research or writing of my own (and that's a whole other blog post, or five), but I do still struggle with keeping it uncluttered. I really do prefer things to be neat and orderly, but I've had a few years of work priorities and have lost the habit in the office. Well, one thing I will say I've gotten under control in 2013 is filing paperwork. The problem is filing (or tossing) the paperwork from several years prior to 2013 that now sits in piles in the Office-Prison's Closet Floor or in several boxes stored in Said Closet. 

Problem for tomorrow's renovation: The only access to Said Attic is through a trap door in the ceiling of, you guessed it, Said Closet. So I need to pull out the contents of Said Closet this evening and completely screw up any sense of organization I've had in the Office-Prison.

I should set a goal of purging all the crap instead of shoving it back into Said Closet after the insulation installation (say that five times) is complete. Call it a New Year's Resolution, if you will. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Closing Out 2013

Here I am about six months after the last post, preparing to close out the year 2013. Tough to believe it was almost nine years ago that I started this blog. I find myself in a writing mood today for the first time in a long time. 

This semester was one of the craziest for me in a long time. The faculty fellowship has gone slowly for me - wish I had more time to spend on it. The teaching experience was great fun - again, wish I had more time to spend on it. 

The job situation is identical, albeit probably a bit more tolerable than it's been in the past. Maybe I'm just getting accustomed to the new environment in spite of the same old, same old. I can't really complain - I have a job where I enjoy the work, most of the people, and the salary isn't bad. Well, I guess my viewpoint on salary has changed quite a bit this semester given I've had three jobs. Money isn't as much a worry, though I now have absolutely no time. Not sure which is money or no time? If I could earn the same amount in just one job, that'd be ideal. Fat chance, Rob. Yeah, I know. 

But seriously folks, I do have to focus on the fact that I enjoy the work and I'm employed in my field. That, in itself, seems like a fairly major feat these days, so I'm pleased about that much. For now. 

Well, Merry Christmas to one and all, especially to the 2-3 people who may actually read this in the next three years. haha

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Where things stand

Life post-dissertation has been interesting to say the least. I'm not using the word "interesting" as a code word for "bad." I do find things fascinating these days. 

I'm ready to move on from my current position, that's for certain. I do enjoy the work itself, but I'm ready either to do this sort of work in a different venue or PERHAPS make a major switch. I'm not really leaning toward the major-switch thing, I must admit. The thought of starting over in my early 40s isn't something I would choose to do at this point in my career/life. I think I am looking for an opportunity in which the venue where I work is more Important. The current venue, as is, isn't really cutting it for me. 

In the past couple of years I have applied for three jobs and been a finalist for two. The third was a big stretch for me into a different area, and I wasn't really expecting to progress very far, so that was no surprise. One of the jobs for which I was a finalist is similar to what I'm doing now, and the other would have been quite different. Neither ended up panning out, and for various reasons that's been OK. Both would have been major increases in pay, and not getting those has been UNGOOD. I hate to be focused on money, but it seems odd still to be struggling financially after having all this education and experience. Right? Tell me I'm right, please! 

Anyway, the funny thing is that the longer I stay in this job, the more opportunities seem to be opening up that I can do on the side that really interest me. First, teaching: I have been teaching one course per year in the higher ed program at LMUU for the past four years or so, and they have "promoted" me to official adjunct assistant professor status. I don't think it means much other than an acknowledgement that they will re-hire me as long as I'm available and as long as their situation with professors doesn't change. That's pretty cool. I'm picking up a second course this fall. Both classes are required classes for the master's program, so that's a really neat experience. 

I also picked up a faculty fellowship for the academic year to do a qualitative data analysis project with some really great colleagues. I'm excited for this opportunity. Could lead to something else here or there, like an article or perhaps another position with these folks. Ya never know. 

So yes, this fall I will have two additional jobs aside from my full-time one. They will help pay the bills, but more important the experiences should be quite rich. Funny how sometimes staying where you are brings about other opportunities on the side, at times. 

And maybe these are just clues of where my career will lead next...

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Blog Purpose?

I have lost my penchant for keeping up this public diary. In some ways I miss it since it's really the only writing outlet I have now (at least, the only outlet where I have complete control over the content). In other ways I don't really give a rat's ass. My life isn't that exciting, honestly.

Anyway, if I do get back into keeping up with this blog, what will the purpose be? For five years it was about my dissertation. Since then, two years later and it's just been hit or miss. It's been more about my "thrilling" life than anything else. I guess that's alright. Boring, though.

At one point I thought this was going to be a way to chronicle home renovations on our mid-Century traditional house that we bought from the 1965 original owners. However, renovations have been few and far between least the ones anyone will ever see. I mean, we have a new furnace! We had to get a new basement floor put in after the furnace installers messed up the old floor. Stuff like that. Big friggin deal. The bigger stuff requires extra cash or actual skill on doing things oneself. I have neither. The avocado-green kitchen floor remains in its 1974 grooviness (it's one of the few non-original things in this house). And my life keeps on being pretty boring.

So, I dunno if I'll continue this blog. Maybe I'll shut it down, though it'd be a shame to lose almost eight years of a chronicle of my (boring) life. Maybe I'll be inspired by a whole new theme. Isn't this nice? Or perhaps I'll be inspired to add new content by the coming of the new year.

And maybe not.