When Birds Get too Big…

playbills in cubicle“When birds get too big for the nest, the mother pushes them out. That’s how they start to fly.” Two years ago I took on an administrative role in the Arts & Communications Department of the cubicle with Kate Spade calendar 2011fashion college where I teach. Up until then, I was strictly an adjunct. I taught at several schools to earn enough money to pay my bills. At the time when the admin gig was offered to me, I was  tired of commuting between institutions. I wanted a place to call home. Working as the Department Coordinator was an amazing opportunity. I now have a stronger sense of how the work I do as an adjunct professor fits into the grand scheme of the institution, and I am so grateful for that experience. But when I took on the Coordinator role, I knew it would be temporary. The college had an active search going for a full-time faculty member with a Ph.D. As soon as that person was hired and trained, I was out. Well, my replacement is finishing up her first semester. She’s extremely capable and talented, and the department is is good hands with her. It was fun to have an office for a while, and play like I was a full time faculty member, but alas the stable , tenure-track, salaried life is not the one I’ve prepared for. I am, at heart, an adjunct professor. A gypsy. An artist. A free spirit pursing projects of passion. I thought I would be happier putting down some roots and stabilizing my work-life, but I wasn’t. In the time that I served as the Department Coordinator, I had the least professional development of my career. I didn’t present at any conferences, I didn’t submit any articles for publishing, and I pursued only minor performing opportunities. I was so busy taking care of other people, that I didn’t have time to take care of me. I realize I will miss being the hero that everyone turns to in times of crisis. I enjoyed the attention, and the rush that comes from solving problems. But now it’s time to rediscover what appealed to me about academia: the flexibility to pursue special interests, the variety of work, and the independence. This is a shaky, nervous step for me, but it’s a step towards freedom. I look forward to seeing what lies around the next bend.

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2 Responses to When Birds Get too Big…

  1. Pingback: Back to School |

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