Last Summer

Last summer I was still working in higher education as an “eLearning Specialist,” doing zero eLearning and doing too much “teaching people how to Zoom for the 700th time.” I was very bored.

Be careful what you wish for…because a few months later, I left that job, and I haven’t been bored since! But I miss some of that boredom. The new job still feels new, and still feels hard. “Hard fun,” to use a phrase from Clark Quinn (I’m reading his book on learning science for instructional designers).

I felt like writing a blog post from my phone on the job transition, and now I’m sick of typing on this device. It’s a good technique to get to a conclusion. Get this post out there.

Anyway, right around this time last year is when I started to take the job hunt more seriously, and really think about what I wanted to do next. No applications or interviews for higher ed instructional design panned out, and I am so glad. I think I’d be miserable in that context. I’ve kind of burned out on academia and am on the fence about adjunct teaching next summer. I never have as much energy or time as I want to dedicate to that side gig. And the further I get away from the staff side, the more sad I get about higher ed culture in general. I guess corporate culture can be terrible, too. It can all be terrible.

It can also be great. This week, my students are making memes and it gives me life. This week at work, I finally made some progress on some stuff. I have unrealistic expectations of myself and think I need to get things “perfect.” When I know that’s an unrealistic goal.

I’m not editing this, so there will be no good transitions. Stick with me, please. The title of this post is really just an intro, and maybe I’ll make a part 2. Last summer memories are flooding back — memories of burnout, memories of submitting a job application that I didn’t think would go anywhere (spoiler alert, I work there now).

I keep coming across those memories in different digital and physical spaces — an old notebook found on my dresser, full of bullet points about training my student employees, teaching gig things to do/remember, notes on my job application. YouTube demo videos. I filmed an “intro to domains” course video for my trial project for Automattic. I never ended up making a course. I’m still not convinced a course is the best solution (ever) in corporate.

I’m still learning about what learning looks like here. And maybe I’ll get to help shape it?

I want to pick out some more examples from “back then” (last summer, into the fall) and maybe reflect on the work to see if any of it could still come in handy on the job. There was a lot I didn’t know back then. There’s still a lot I don’t know — and I’m learning to be okay with that, because it’s always evolving and changing. Courses become outdated so quickly. But maybe there’s a better model for a “course?”

And with that, I’m off to dive back into How People Learn and the chapter on how and why education is broken. You know, fun, light weekend reading. What makes me happy is that once we admit something is broken, we can begin to work toward a solution. And there might be multiple solutions.

Here’s to wild experimentation in figuring it out together.

Sunflowers lined up by a fence along a walkway
Sunflowers on today’s walk

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