I’ve posted a few blogs about how we can reach our own personal potential. At the same time, I have been given an awesome opportunity to practice these tips and tricks while learning a new career. I’m not switching careers; I’m just adding another one to my arsenal.
Recently, I was offered the opportunity to teach a few accounting classes at the local university. I must have passed all the interviews because I received the new employee package via email yesterday. In fact, I should be printing the papers and filling them out but I hate completing employment paperwork so I am effectively avoiding it by writing this blog. Well … let’s be honest. I’m also avoiding learning to work my new Mac. I added a new computer to the home and thought I could be more productive with a Mac. For short-term thinking, I was wrong because it’s like I stepped into a new universe. However, this is an another opportunity to remind myself how elusive technology can be to the uninitiated but that will be another blog thread. I digress.
I created this new thread to house all the blogs focused on learning how to teach and it will (hopefully) help me understand the process better. This time next year, I should be “better, stronger, faster”. For those of you familiar with the Six Million Dollar Man theme, sing with me … Daaa daaa daaa daaa!
For those of you too young to understand the pop culture surrounding this epic show, just pick the character you love to live vicariously through. This is how you should view yourself when taking on a new career.
A new career means you have many obstacles in your way and there are villains at every turn; mainly because you know absolutely nothing about the nuances of the new career or whether the processes you follow are corporate-specific or standard across industries. You are practically a padawan (Jedi Apprentice) even though you are infinitely older than your peers. And, like any padawan who is older, you have the propensity to screw things up and/or turn to the dark side. Do you remember how Spider Man kept sticking his web to everything when he first learned of his abilities? Well, that will be you and me during the first months (or years) of this new career move. For the older audience, do you remember “The Greatest American Hero”? Yep. That’s us.
There are a ton of things you can do to prep yourself for a new career. Education is HUGE! I cannot say this enough. Education will be your bread-and-butter to get you up to speed and allow you to hit the ground running. Well, maybe that is a gross overstatement. You will definitely hit the ground hard when starting a new career but education will soften the blow and, maybe, allow you to tuck and roll instead of eating the asphalt. Education doesn’t always have to be formalized or expensive. See if you can volunteer your time in a position similar to what you want to do later in life; this is your on-the-job training. Universities routinely post some of their lectures on YouTube and there are free education sites (like Khan Academy) where you can learn a new topic or brush up on rusty skills. Once I carve out some time, I will hit the internet and learn how to operate my Mac.
Mentors are essential, too! Touch base with at least one mentor. I am reaching out to three in order to create some diversity in the flow of information. This will also decrease my reliance on one person. Mentors have lives of their own and I am relatively sure I will burn out one mentor with all of my questions. Choose mentors wisely because if you choose someone with a poor attitude or someone who is disillusioned about their corporation, you will take on their negative perspectives. Darth Vader switched to the dark side because his mentor, the Supreme Chancellor, told him the dark side ROCKED and Darth Vader was too inexperienced to see the lies.
Don’t forget to take time out for yourself. It is really easy to get caught up in the frenzy of a new career (or hobby) and forget yourself. I love my ‘alone time’ which may be on a trail or working out in the gym or taking a long drive. I also love my socializing time when I get to connect with old friends and decompress. If you are prone to forgetting to take care of yourself, pencil it in as a standing appointment and don’t let life encroach on those planned ‘Me Time’s. We all remember how Clark Kent’s and Peter Parker’s personal lives sucked and they ended up lonely and alone. Do you really want your life to end up like that?
Upon reflection, this blog really needs a new title. “Next Stop … New Career” doesn’t fully entail the epic-ness of this new journey which strongly correlates to heroes initially learning to control their powers. Now I just have to decide whether I’m going to be Wonder Woman (who can be a little too accommodating) or Jean Grey (who switches between heroes and villains). Decisions, decisions.