This post is written specifically to you, my social network. This week, I’ve done something crazy.
I quit my job.
I hear the shrieks now. “What??!?! Are you nuts?” “Don’t you know the economy has taken a nose dive??” “We just saw you at a national conference! Why didn’t you say anything then?” Believe me, I doubt you’re saying anything to me that I haven’t already said to myself. But I think being at High Ed Web only highlighted that, in Milwaukee, I was surrounded by people from across this hemisphere who love what they do and put up with a lot in order to do it. You tend to see that kind of drive and motivation within social media and higher ed. It’s one of the many things that trips my trigger. In my case, however, the technologies I use, the events I engage with because I love being part of them were not things I was doing for my specific job at Penn State. They were things I was doing for me. The last four conferences I’ve been at? Not funded by my department. That’s right, folks. Over $2000 in hard earned currency for two national conferences, because I felt that strongly about presenting and connecting with others in this field. I’ve also had to take vacation time in order to pursue the kind of
professional development I’ve felt was necessary and relevant to my
interests. Thank goodness for friends who felt it was important I was in the mix as well, because they let me room with them to make this happen. Those are good people, folks. I don’t take that lightly.
I can hear you, you know. You’re sitting there, shaking your head, asking “Why?”
Why what? Why quit my job? Why fund my own professional development? Why go through that effort, time, expense, and frustration?
Because for me, this is the right fit. I am good at making connections. I thrive on social media. I love people, and honestly believe that engaging the entire community can create something bigger and better than if just a few people poke a stick at it. I’ve seen this theory succeed again and again, I know it is real, and I know that it is an incredible high to see people you have gotten engaged see the light for themselves and take an idea to places you never even considered. Call it what you want — drinking the kool-aid, jumping on the bandwagon, whatever — but getting people to see the possibilities by doing things in an open, collaborative environment is one of the best things I have ever done.
And suddenly I realized had no heart for my old job and shouldn’t be there. I want a new one. (Cue Huey Lewis and The News, because I definitely want a new drug.) I want one where, much like today, I bolt out of bed because I have a really crazy idea and want to see what happens. I want to be as engaged as those people I help to see what social networking can really do. In order to do this, however, I have to pull out the resume, brush off the portfolio, and update my life. Do you realize how hard that is to do when everything you can point to isn’t part of the 9-5 job, but rather part of your 5-9 life? It’s not as easy as you might think. And how exactly does one provide examples of social engagement in a portfolio? Can you do that in an engaging manner? Because I have fallen into that old way of thinking, where I sit, dusty portfolio in hand, and I’m really not sure where to go with it–just that I have to go somewhere new.
So now it’s your turn.
I want you to look over this ePortfolio (dear God, I am feeling rather naked and vulnerable here) and tell me, in the comments, how you would improve it. Some things are missing, and some things aren’t highlighted the way they should be. I know that. But I have this crazy idea, you see, that engaging my community can create something infinitely superior to one person poking it with a stick. I’m now holding my breath, my life, and my ego in my hands and offering them to you. I have only some basic parameters to follow:
- My portfolio still needs to stay in the MovableType blog format, because this is what the Blogs at Penn State project is built in. Plus, I like it. You can scrap the tabs, or come up with better categories if you choose, but it has to be MT format friendly.
- I need new ideas–how to better highlight social mediums, technologies, even bits of script or MT plug ins that, you know, “does cool stuff.” I’m totally open to your suggestions and ideas, but if you have URLs for me to reference, that will help. Please add them.
- Many of you have far superior tech skills, but I need this to look better quickly, and my hardcore coding is rusty. Therefore, there are the immediate gratification updates, and there’s the ZOMG-this-is-really-cool-but-will-be-something-I-have-to-bash-my-head-on-for-a-while updates. Tell me up front if your idea is one of the latter. I’ll tackle that next week. 🙂
- First round of suggestions will be incorporated throughout the day today, because I have to submit my portfolio for an interview. So don’t be like me, where you have to sit and cogitate and make the language beautiful to the point that the draft never gets published. Get it down, send it out. I will be thankful.
- Last but not least, please be kind. I know I’m always putting myself out there, but this is unprecedented, even for me. I believe in you guys, and am trusting that you’ll keep your snark in check (well, most of you) and be helpful and supportive. You’re my peeps, guys, and I’m fragile. Ish.
Okay, that’s really all I have. Oh yeah, that and I have an interview tomorrow afternoon. So the clock is ticking.
Tag, you’re it.