Once, a bazillion years ago, when I worked for Citicorp POS, I had a life changing experience. The executives took the entire company down to Florida from Connecticut for a three day ropes team building course. It was amazing, but not for the reason the executives anticipated.
I have an enormous fear of heights. So while I was climbing telephone poles 40 feet up in the air, harnessed and completely safe, I understood that building trust for my teammates was important. But more so, building trust that life was not as risky as I was living it and “jumping” out of one career I didn’t like and into one I did was not as risky as I was telling myself.
So I quit my job in the real world, went for my PhD in Organizational Psychology, and became a professor.
My experience in last week’s Op-Ed Project workshop at UNC Charlotte feels pretty close to that level of revolution about a new future. I’m not going to change careers; I love being a professor. But all of a sudden, I feel like a new and very attractive avenue in my career has just opened up.
So what s the Op-Ed Project? It’s a non-profit organization whose goal is to increase the number of women and minority voices contributing to the public discourse in our society. ((This is obviously my interpretation; the leaders of the Op-Ed Project may have a different perspective)) While writing Op-Eds is one way to do this, the real goal is to increase women and minority contributions to all forms of public thought.
I never thought about doing that. I know things. I have things I’d like to say. And I want to say them. I was trained at Claremont Graduate University where one of our maxims in psychology was “Giving Psychology Away.” Again, wow. I’ve wanted to “Give Psychology Away” since I started graduate school, but didn’t know how to do it. (And free consulting is not really where we are financially)
So with a bit of confidence building, insight into writing op-eds, a bit o’ training for live discussions, and a lot of peer support, I am ready to see what is next along this path. There was some talk among the facilitators of having a public Op-Ed Project workshop in Charlotte. I think it would be a great idea!! We have a lot of people in Charlotte community who have ideas they should be sharing with others in a public forum.
Let’s see how we can work this out so that more of us find a new path in our careers that we can start exploring, sharing, and contributing.