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* so what’s next?

May 29, 2019

As I sit here looking online for jobs to apply to I realize much would have appeared to pass me by, at least–as far as I can tell–in terms of organizations’ views of what I have to offer them.

“So what’s next?” is indeed the question I am faced with at this point in time.

  • My time as an engineer ended when we moved to Madagascar and I was placed into another type of work–community development.
  • My time in Madagascar, doing what I’ve loved the most in my career, ended back in 1995 except for a few “teaser” consulting trips since then with none for awhile nor in the forseeable future. I had spent 20 years in higher ed earning a bachelors and masters in engineering and then a PhD in Adult Education preparing and then upgrading for that work. I had finally gotten to the level of expertise I had wanted to have for that oh so complex and important work and suddenly we had to come back to the US.
  • My time as a program evaluator at this point seems to have ended when I left Search Institute in part as that’s now 20 years ago (2000). This though due to my time in higher education my evaluation abilities have grown a great deal since then.
  • My time in full-time higher education ended in 2010 after 6 years at Bethel followed by 4 years at Concordia universities. Full-time teaching at Augsburg I’d hoped for after Concordia didn’t and won’t open up without some major changes I doubt will happen.
  • My time in adjunct teaching has been in a slow decline from a lot of adjunct teaching at several schools to now only a small remnant left behind at just one school.
  • My time back in community engagement, in some ways an extension of some of what I did in Madagascar, done for NAMI Minnesota, ended abruptly last year. Of all the different types of work I’ve looked for since then, this is probably what I’d most prefer doing if possible.
  • So now I volunteer with the Center for Victims of Torture hoping it might somehow lead to more as it has the combination of positive, quality outreach and international work I’ve looked for since coming back to the US in 1995. Though with budget cuts I’m increasingly skeptical anything will open up. Time will tell.

Up until 1995 I’d hoped I’d have another 4 to 6 years in Madagascar. Then up to 2005 I hoped I was going to become a tenured professor. Neither happened.

My journey has been impacted in a major way by the bipolar I live with. A part of living with bipolar is that there are times when the illness decreases your executive function and you do and say things you shouldn’t. In working on all this with my therapist we revisited my unsuccessful time at Bethel where I was tenure-track. We did this through the lens of the late onset bipolar I was most likely beginning to live with during that time. This was before I started seeing my therapist, before I was on medication for the depressive modes I was having and about 5 years before bipolar was finally diagnosed with certainty and mood stabilizers became part of who I now am–a person with far fewer mood swings.

So that’s my career. I am eclectic so that’s part of why it looks this way. I am also a “field person,” preferring working on the outside of offices with those the office serves to being “back at the office.” And bipolar has most certainly affected me as well.

So given the above, where do I look for what comes next? “Where?” and “what?” are both mysteries to me at this point in time. As a generalist I can apply and have applied for many jobs but evidently don’t rise to the upper levels any lists of potential candidates for the jobs I’ve been applying for.

So what’s next? Can someone tell me? Please.

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