As an avid road bicycle rider, I rely on equipment/technology to transform my energy into pace over distance.
My five-year-old bike, a Trek Ultra Series 2300, is battle-tested and battle-scarred. Recently, I had to replace some of the original Shimano Ultegra components. Thing is, the components wear together over time into a unique fit.
Therefore, when you change one component . . . you often have to change several. This can get quite expensive.
As a cost control measure, I opted for some less expensive components. When I got the bike back on the road, I could no longer ride in my favored and accustomed gears without the annoyance of grinding components.
I had been riding these gears for five years! At first I lamented that things were not the same. Then I learned to ride new gears . . .
That got me thinking about my career. Yes, the 25-year ride has all been in education. But the gears have kept shifting, and I have learned to ride in many new ones such as . . .
- High School English Teacher (inner city, DC)
- High School Basketball Coach
- High School English Teacher (beach community, NC)
- Sports Medicine Responder
- Community College Adjunct English Faculty
- University Adjunct English Faculty
- High School Technology Facilitator
- North Carolina Teacher Academy Technology Trainer
- Independent Consultant for NCCAT, NCDPI, and school systems
- State Department of Public Instruction Technology Teacher-on-Loan (Teachers Connect)
- Assistant Director of University Outreach and Research Center
- Middle School Technology Teacher
- School System Director of Media and Technology
- School System Director of K-12 Arts, Healthful Living, and Physical Education
- School System Director of Athletics
- School System Coordinator of Distance Learning
- High School Assistant Principal
- Elementary School Assistant Principal
- High School Assistant Principal and Athletic Director
- High School Principal (current)
That’s 20 job titles in 25 years! Some could read that as a spotty record. But trend analysis makes me think that, outside the world of education especially, eventual career roadmaps for our current students have a high probability of having a similar look and feel.
From my experience, twisting and turning career roadmaps require flexibility, risk, adaptability, research skills, commitment to learning, interpersonal skills, communication skills, vision, passion, and energy.
Navigating such a course often requires a “balcony view” and an over-riding ability to connect the dots (such as above). It is perhaps the difference between management and leadership.
Here’s to new gears! Cheers.