Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Working to live

Never continue in a job you don't enjoy. If you're happy in what you're doing, you'll like yourself, you'll have inner peace. And if you have that, along with physical health, you will have had more success than you could possibly have imagined.
Johnny Carson

Today I finished up my job at the University of Canberra. There are many reasons (a few of which I'll write about), but the main reason is that I just wasn't happy in it. Part of me making a better life for myself was not staying in situations that were compromising my time, happiness or values. Luckily I had the opportunity to make a change.

When I started there, I really thought that I was destined for academia. I'd done some casual tutoring previously, as well as working with some very inspirational people who also happen to be academics. I was inspired by them and the air of intellect that hung over hallways, conversations, and even casual coffee breaks. I really enjoyed teaching adults and the opportunity to work with the latest research in my field.

Yep, some of it was great (and to be honest I'm not going to go into great detail about much of the stuff that wasn't), but suffice it to say that the novelty wore off this year and I realised that it just wasn't for me. 
One of the big revelations is that I don't think I'm actually cut out for academia after all. Don't get me wrong, I love learning, but I don't think I have the attention span to commit to one field of learning to the exclusion of all others. A colleague mentioned to me today that they couldn't read a novel over their long weekend because they had to read some articles that related to their PhD study. I can't think of anything worse than giving up reading for enjoyment! 

Also, my 'field' (educational technology) doesn't really lend itself to sustained research. 5 years of PhD study is way too long in the technology world!

And, probably the other main reason, I want to do things other than working! When I left teaching in 2010, while it was daunting, it was also a great decision in that it gave me the opportunity to find work-life balance (this is a subject I am extra passionate about, and will write about again). Teachers work way too hard and while office-based staff do too, it's a very different kind of busy. At the uni, while there are many slow, relaxed times, there are also many super-busy times where the world has to come second. And I just can't do that. I have too many fun non-work things to do! I'll tell you about them later too.

So, I left. Luckily I had a job to go to, and to be honest I don't know what I would have done if I hadn't, but I took the opportunity when it came. I wish everyone had the same opportunity. Now I've just gotta work out how to just do the fun things! :)

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