"The chances of finding out what's really going on in the universe are so remote, the only thing to do is hang the sense of it and keep yourself occupied... Look at me: I design coastlines... I'd far rather be happy than right any day."
"And are you?"
"No, that's where it all falls down, of course."
"Pity, it sounded like quite a good lifestyle otherwise."
Slartibartfast to Arthur Dent.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Book 1
As a small foreward to this (probably) disjointed post, congratulations to Harold Jarche for his 7 years of independent and thought-provoking blogging. He gives me hope that maybe another ex-soldier can make good in the learning world.
As I was participating in the most recent #lrnchat, I commented to Jay Cross that I wanted to be able to participate in more things like MOOCs and other readings, etc. (for example, Clive Shepherd's most recent book is still mostly unread) but scheduling was a challenge. While he agreed he suggested prioritization, although I said to him that negotiating that kind of regular effort would likely require some coordination with those who sign my cheques. He does, as he says, have the benefit of being his own paymaster and secretary. Of course, as I pondered that exchange, I imagined Peter Block telling me that I just wasn't committed enough. ;-)
For all the time I'm spending on what is (relatively speaking) a pretty aggressive and innovative front, I feel a tremendous dissatisfaction that my own development is taking a distant back seat. Part of that, I think, is the post-Grad School hangover, where all of a sudden after 2 years you're not scrambling to read a journal or write a paper or engage in a discussion of some kind. The other part of it is perhaps being in a role where - for whatever reason - there's no overt or explicit encouragement to keep skills sharp or even to participate in events, conferences, or the like. Even my participation in #lrnchat feels slightly ilicit under what is nominally a vendor/reseller banner, but I wouldn't trade my experiences there for anything (although I am considering a separate handle for more of my PLN/personal commentary and only using the main handle for work-specific purposes).
Now I know that part of the recent time issues are of my own making with my agreement to teach two online courses for the College. With 35 learners in one course and 13 in the other, I definitely have my hands full, and - of course - having an active 2 year old does tend to have an impact on remaining time.
So the question is: what to do if I want to keep current or ahead of some of the trend demands? Do I just say, 'screw it' and book my own time to read books/articles/blogs and seek out the brains of my PLN and abandon more event-driven activities? Or do I take a more forthright stand and seek more control over my allowance for T&D and seek out some better Dev opportunities? I genuinely envy some of the folks in my PLN who are in either the right career space or right geographical space to take advantage of conferences, but for us Canadian practitioners who are not self-employed in lucrative thought-leader practices, its a different logistical challenge. Since very few of these big events come to Toronto, one has to travel larger distances and frequently across borders to attend. As an employee in a smaller org., it's also logistics and a certain amount of proposal and rationalizing to convince someone to agree to pay for a flight, accommodations AND conference fees, all the while being generally unavailable for paid work for the duration. While I know that self-employment does have its advantages in
Maybe have a plan?
Ah, there's the rub. Saint-Exupery - I think - said that a "dream without a plan is just a wish". For me, a plan needs to have a goal and some kind of practical outcome. Can I really learn to plan my own T&D for its own sake? I suppose the educational purist in me says, 'well, Duh', but the practical and pragmatic Me has to raise some doubts. "Life", as they say, "is what happens when one is making plans".
But as time goes on, this T&D issue is going to hit critical mass and I can't risk getting left behind in my career. I've put way too much into it over the past few years to put it at excessive risk. I'd much sooner be an in-demand resource than "just another training generalist". Selfish so-and-so that I am, I think I want to be right AND happy.
So, let's see....Social Media, Informal Learning, mLearning....wow. Looks like I have my work cut out for me. Now, where did I put Clive's book...?