I’m a high mileage model well into my third (or so) career. I was educated in business and accounting at UMCP a long time ago. I went from accounting to the dark side, Information Technology, pretty early on. I was a financial systems analyst, serving as a referee between number crunchers and digit crunchers. It served as excellent training for running IT projects, learning to walk that fine line between programmers and system users without being snowed by either. It was also one of my first exposures to receiving and delivering training, which will come up again later. I started as a Fed, ended up as a contractor, and managed to accomplish some things along the way. Curiously, the biggest accomplishments concerned writing and managing winning proposals, which is neither IT nor accounting, nor training. The path winds.
I spent time as a small business owner post Y2K, when I was downsized a second time. The big difference in running a small business is that you don’t have people. As a corporate officer I had people: technical people, finance people, HR people, and so on. I also had peers that I bonded with, socialized with, complained to, supported and was supported. Small business owner, not so much. It’s you. I did do a lot of training, my favorite of which was on a cell phone from vacation on Cape Cod, walking people through running a graphics application. It wasn’t me.
There is some background to reach the third career. As an undergrad at College Park, I joined a local volunteer fire department. It was much more interesting than anything I was doing in school or the early years at work. I kept it up for a dozen years, until my kids reached the point where I had to be with them much of my free hours. Along the way, I became the department training officer, where I felt like I was in my element.
An opportunity opened up at the University of Maryland, Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute for an Instructional Designer. I wasn’t at all sure I knew what an Instructional Designer was, but in reading the job description, they wanted training experience, fire department experience, and technology experience, and I had all of that and then some. I applied and got the job. A co-worker was towards the end of the ISD program and talked well of it, so I decided that if I was going to be an Instructional Designer, I should probably learn about the trade. I did that for 5 1/2 years and then took a position at the Meals on Wheels Association of America, again as one of those instructional design people.
I’m here in Informal Learning as my last elective. I have been looking forward to this class for two years. Several people in my EDUC 671 class were taking this class at the same time and they all raved about Jeannette and the course.
I am a life-long learner. I have to be because otherwise I would get bored and lose focus. I look forward to learning with all of you and sharing our stories.