Notes to Self—A Belated Collection of Professional Insights
I really wish I had kept a journal. Not a day-to-day personal diary mind you, but a record of memorable professional and academic experiences over a 40-year career. You know, notes. What were the ups? What were the downs? What did I do right? What could I have done better? Who helped? Who didn’t? What were the accomplishments? What were the failures? What were my own motivations? What did I really learn? One thing for sure, I should have taken better notes. In retrospect why does any of this matter? There are two basic answers.
First of all, I just can’t help myself; I am still an adjunct instructor of civics, public policy and administration. Although the obsession with grades drives me absolutely nuts, I still enjoy teaching this stuff. I get satisfaction from students that are curious and excited about their newfound knowledge. In many ways it is a reflection of my own past. The majority of these younger adults are where I was when I was trying to figure out my own direction. What I hopefully bring to the table is a compass. Eventually we all need a sextant. Professional insights still seem to be of interest especially to those early in their careers. Whether veteran or novice, there are lessons that continually need to be learned.
Secondly, it’s an age thing. I’m in that transitional semi-retirement mind-set. It includes a lifetime of rewinding narrations that needs to be written down. This may sound like a preface to a memoir. It’s not. That would be boring and would require a composition reliant on a not so reliable memory. In contrast, this collection is meant to be a compilation of knowledge acquired from my own mentors, research, plus a long time spent in the public, private and academic sectors. In format, it is meant to be a series of belated journal entries, notes as it were. In function, it is my hope that these reflections will help the next generation map their own career paths. For me, I stay professionally and academically relevant by providing the mentorship that I was once afforded.
My challenge is not in the conveyance of personal epiphanies. It is to avoid preaching from the pulpit or repeating anecdotal simplicities that are for the most part, common knowledge to each generation. At the end of the day, I would hope that this series provides enough motivation for all of us to take notes.
Stay tuned—The “Notes” are coming.