That is what my life seems like these days, endless transition (long, personal post/update to follow). Of course there are a few solidities, most important of which is my husband, my daughter, my big extended family. But when it comes to my professional life and interests, everything is remarkably fluid right now. And given my childcare challenges*, the little peep comes first. I have been extraordinarily lucky to have been able to spend the majority of my time with Ellora during her first (nearly) 15 months. This choice has had some serious ramifications for my professional and financial trajectory, however.
Several months ago, I indicated I was looking for a full-time position. Shortly thereafter, I was offered the opportunity to teach a couple of classes at communications school in Paris. I jumped as I was very interested in actually getting some teaching experience given I am working on my doctorate and my long-term goal is to become a professor. Having never taught undergraduates, I thought it was probably a good idea to do so before I made any final decisions. Happily, I loved the experience and the students seemed to like my teaching style, and, more importantly, said they actually learned something. The school wants me to come back, and I hope to take on more classes this fall. I think my love affair with teaching is only just beginning, and I am looking forward to continuing it. I am also networking with other profs and students at PROpenMic and other places in order to improve my performance (god knows this rookie has plenty of room for improvement!).
So what happened to the job search? Well, I interviewed at a few places, but no offers came up. Quite honestly, I think my background and approaches (not to mention years of working as an independent) just made me a misfit for French teams. My impression was that they were looking for much more conventional candidates. (I was talking to large companies, not agencies - I didn't actually pursue much on the agency front.) I think that the job I would really jump at doesn't exist yet, or if it does, it is probably in the US. Finally, I didn't end up looking very hard, as something inside of me was just resisting the whole idea of going back to work for the man, or however you want to put it.
When I compare how energized I feel about teaching and how a regular job fills me with trepidation and self-doubt, I think it is pretty clear that I won't be going corporate any time soon. Luckily, I have some fun projects that are very flexible and help me keep an hand in.
What is also interesting to me is how much my focus has been moving away from PR. Or perhaps I should say it is broadening. I am learning about advertising, television and branding, and looking at what the future holds for these things. I read more on the future of work and video than I do about PR topics. I haven't shared too much of that here yet, as I am still sorting all my thoughts, but the last few posts on "free" and "relationships" are indicative of what will be forthcoming here.
Given the constraints on my time, I am blogging much less and participating in fewer conversations around the blogosphere. I am still listening, and very aware of the latest trends, buzz, brouhahas etc., but unless I have something really substantive to add to the conversation, I simply file and move on. Given I am in this for the long haul, I suspect my participation will ebb and flow based on what my life is like at any particular phase.
I want to share more about my doctoral work here. Currently I am mainly reading and thinking. My subject is, of course, communications, but I am studying philosophy. Not having a traditional philosophical background, this means I have a lot of catching up to do and a fair amount of uncertainty about what I am thinking about. I am debating sharing more of my musings here, but given their style is so different from my usual posts, and they often require one to have read the same things I have in order to follow along, I am just not sure if it makes sense or not. Maybe I should start another blog, but that seems like too much work right now.
Gosh, I am really rambling along now, aren't I? I wanted to share these thoughts with you -- particularly for those of you who have been reading me for a long time now -- so you have a better frame in which to interpret my recent and upcoming writings. I hope you enjoy and/or find provocative and interesting the things I have been writing about and will write about. I try very hard to say new things, identify hidden assumptions, create new juxtapositions, and clarify distinctions in what I have been recently discovering on the topic of communications. As always, I hope you continue to participate in the conversations here. You always add value and spark new trajectories for me.
I also wanted to let you know that I will not be going to the New Communications Forum next week. I will be very sad to miss seeing my blog buddies, but financial and time considerations have reluctantly led me to this decision. I am sure you understand that my family must come first.
*In France, we are experiencing a baby boom. Municipal daycare is full with waiting lists a year+ long. And you have to have a traditional full-time position to even qualify. There are other options, called an assistante maternelle. But again, it is full-time childcare only, and you have to have a full-time job to qualify. There is something called a halte garderie, where you can leave your child up to 10-16 hours a week, depending on availability, but it requires reams of paperwork, interviews, more paperwork etc. GIven the French government lost some critical papers of my husband, we are unable to complete the halte garderie paperwork. We have been working a year and a half to get the problem fixed, and are probably still 4-6 months away from a finalization. The private creches are also full, with waiting lists, and we simply cannot afford a full-time nanny (and it is pretty much impossible to get a part-time nanny). Luckily, my husband's parents live relatively nearby and babysit for me when I have meetings, classes etc. Otherwise, I do my work during her naptimes, before she wakes up, at night and on the weekends.