Category Archives: when you don’t know how to follow your dreams

Life Lately: An Infographic

Life latelyLife lately has been just a little bit of a doozie. Like, to the point where it feels like I have completely lost track of time and I seem to blink and suddenly 3 weeks have gone by and I’m not quite sure how I’ve entered this mysterious fugue state, but it looks like it’s going to just be my life for at least a little while longer.

So I decided to make an infographic about it. Okay actually that’s not quite how it happened: Really, I’ve just been wanting to learn how to make infographics because they’re a marketable marketing skill, but I was stumped on what to choose as a topic. I was originally gonna make something feministy about how few women have ever been elected to the senate, but my brain could not process how to represent those (incredibly depressing) numbers in a visual way so I quickly gave up. I realized for my first go around, I needed to choose an easy topic that would be a breeze to write about. What could be easier than

Here’s a rundown of what’s been taking up my brainspace lately.

Life lately

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Ch. 4: The Career Questions I Should’ve Asked All Along

“When You Don’t Know How to Follow Your Dreams” is a series of my reflections on a career path that has been defined by graduating into a failed economy and trying to navigate a windy road toward finding my “calling.” Start here.

career questions
By asking myself the right career questions, I finally feel like I’m headed on the right path.

After I decided to quit teaching and yet again felt like a failure in the career department, I realized that it was time to take stock of my situation and rethink my strategy on this whole job thing. I’ve had a fair amount of jobs in my day, including: teacher at an environmental after-school program, sales associate at a natural cosmetics company, babysitter, children’s educator at a botanical garden, volunteer coordinator at an elementary school and a non-profit, development associate, canvasser, baker, and men’s skincare maker (and those are just since graduating college!).

Some lasted longer than others. Some were part-time. None ever felt like they held a future, or at least not a future I wanted. I’d built a lot of skills in outreach, partnership development, event planning, and program management, but somehow none of the jobs that pulled these skills together felt right either.

And I kept thinking that I just hadn’t found the right organization where I could flourish or I just had bad luck graduating into the economy at the height of the Great Recession. But I think the real reason for all of my ongoing career dissatisfaction was that I wasn’t approaching my job searches in the right way. I wasn’t asking myself the right career questions. And that’s why I kept feeling like I was banging my head against the wall.

Continue reading Ch. 4: The Career Questions I Should’ve Asked All Along

Chapter 3: Teaching, Learning, and Knowing When to Quit

“When You Don’t Know How to Follow Your Dreams” is a series of my reflections on a career path that has been defined by graduating into a failed economy and trying to navigate a windy road toward finding my “calling.” Start here.

I’ve always enjoyed teaching kids.

I love 1st-3rd graders best. They’re still just figuring out how to use language and what honesty means and they get so excited and wide-eyed about everything that they just remind me of what pure joy feels like. I’ve been an educator in a few different ways: I led environmental lessons to rising 2nd and 3rd graders where I taught them about watersheds, plant life cycles, and why you should never litter, and after I moved to NYC, I was a school group tour guide at the children’s garden at the New York Botanical Gardens. My Americorps job also had me coordinating the supplementary educational programs at an elementary school and my favorite part of the job was the fact that my office was right near the kindergarten classroom’s bathroom so the kids  would always stop in and say hi while trying to avoid going back to class.

Suffice it to say, I dig kids. So last November, when I was mired in self-doubt about my choice to leave a comfortable but unfulfilling job to work on Make/Do, I decided I should think about figuring out how to work with them again.

I was glancing through Craigslist job listings in the education section when I came across an ad for The Baltimore City Teaching Residency (BCTR). I’d actually considered applying for a teaching fellowship way back when I lived in NYC and I got through the first round of interviews before deciding that I just wasn’t feeling New York and wanted to come back to Baltimore.

This time around, though, teaching felt like the solution that would bring everything into place. Sure, teachers don’t make a great salary, but the ~$60,000 I’d be making as soon as I completed the 6 week summer training intensive and started working as a teacher would be waaaay more than I’d ever made before. And then everything with the Baltimore Uprising erupted and in the midst of all the chaos, teaching seemed like it could be a way to give back to my city and try to help heal a generation of young minds that were being left behind.

Despite applying late to the program, I was accepted. I had to bust my ass studying to pass the required prerequisite exams but somehow I aced them and got all of my ducks in a row in time to start summer training.

Continue reading Chapter 3: Teaching, Learning, and Knowing When to Quit