Friday, March 28, 2014

Dissertation Hiatus - Lesson's Learned

Well, it's been a crazy long journey, but I finally finished my dissertation and have sent it off to the committee. One more step towards this ever elusive doctorate.  Two more weeks and I defend and hopefully all these years of learning, researching, writing, and writing and writing will pay off.  I know my husband is hoping so, as he has high hopes I will get a job now!!

I will say this past 11 months of 'unemployment' while I devoted myself to research, research analysis and then writing have been very interesting. I managed to start my fledgling independent consultant business and do some interesting consulting that broadened my experiences and also provided at least some financial support. I helped one company develop a webinar strategy and helped another with suggestions for PD and curriculum standards alignments. I was able to work with the technology I love, TinkerPlots and Sketchpad, and train some teachers in two different large school districts. And I did some online coaching for administrators and teachers around the Common Core and creating positive school cultures. Independent consulting has been diverse, which I enjoy.

The research, analysis and writing have been, well, less than fun.  At first it is exciting, getting into classrooms, seeing what is happening.  But then, after hours of transcribing, even more hours going back over (and over and over and over) the data looking for patterns and themes, and finally, writing it all down, citing sources, doing research....well, it becomes tedious. I probably should have recorded all the hours I have spent on this - in the last week alone working on final edits, I know I spent about 60 hours just writing and rewriting. So - that's a lot of hours over 11 months.

Not that I am complaining. My husband should be complaining - he has been working hard so I could take this time to finish. Love him for that! Course, now I have to get a job and support him, right?!

What have I learned through these last months?
1) It is possible to live very comfortably, with half the household income. Something to think about.(And this with three of us in college - my two daughters and myself all paying college tuition).
2) I do NOT like writing research.  I love writing - but not research.  I think it's all the citations.  Probably need to get over that if I want to continue to write and share my work.
3) It's very lonely. I have worked from home for the last 7 years, but always traveled several times a month to my home office or schools, so I saw people. This sitting and writing all day, not interacting with anyone on a regular basis - well, it's lonely and let's face it, a little depressing.
4) Which leads me to this - I miss traveling and I miss interacting with others in my field and doing presentations.  I am a people person and I need some people!

So - couple more weeks and hopefully this will all turn out the way I hope.  Which then means - I need a job!  I want to have the flexibility to work with lots of people and do lots of different things, so continuing my independent consulting work seems like a plan.  But, it's a tough plan, because there is not job security.  I think I might also consider working for another company, maybe part time, if I can find a good fit. If anyone has any leads, let me know!

I also plan to start blogging again. Time to get back on track!

And so begins the next adventure....