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48 Days to the Work You Love: Chapter 2 Questions

Chapter 2: The Challenge of Change. This should be an easy one, right? considering all the change I've been through so far this year? But I find it's very hard and because of that challenge, I'm avoiding it. Issuing this disclaimer: I'm freewriting.

1. Respond to the statement, “All progress requires change, but not all change is progress.” Change: Eleven years ago Dave and I moved from Urbana, Illinois, to Tucson, Arizona, because we felt our lives needed a change and we weren't ready to start a family. That was change, not progress. Progress would have been separation. I knew this, subconsciously?, even that long ago. Ten years ago we decided to start a family. That was change but not necessarily progress. Don't get me wrong: my son's existence has given my life definition, but starting a family was NOT the progress my marriage needed. Last year we decided (I decided) to seek separation. That was change AND progress. For me, anyway.

2. What statement describes your career path so far? Opportunistic. I've never actively sought a career path. I've simply chosen what presented itself.

3. How has a company change affected you? How did it make you feel? In my line of work (early childhood educator) prestige is granted by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) whose aims are noble but methods are newly overly bureaucratic. My current preschool is seeking NAEYC reaccreditation, which is enormously expensive and unnecessarily emphatic on documentation and paperwork. The change is within NAEYC, an organization meant to improve the experience of children in a program, but whose accreditation procedures require teachers to take valuable time away from kids so their interactions can be documented through photographs and narrative. The decision to shortchange our students by engaging in the reaccreditation process is the main reason I'm leaving this preschool in favor of one that's decided to eschew accreditation in favor of providing children with an authentic experience. I feel frustrated and discouraged by the endless nonpaid hours I've worked to document how our school meets the standards set forth by NAEYC.

4. Have you experienced any “failure” in your career? If so, what did it lead to? When I fail, I usually quit. As a result, I don't often take risks. In my work life the only job I was really bad at was telemarketing as a U of I fundraiser, dialing up alums and asking for monetary support. I hated that job. I lasted not even a full semester freshman year of college before I totally gave up.

5. What were your childhood goals and ambitions for life? Which ones have you been able to fulfill? I don't even remember that I had childhood goals and ambitions for life. I meant to be a writer, because it came easy to me and I was good at it. Being good at writing as a child is a completely different thing from being good at writing as an adult. Here's a quote from the book that really spoke to me:
If you ask a group of second graders, "How many of you can draw, sing, or dance?" every hand will go up as everyone clamors for a chance to prove their multiple abilities. Ask the same group when they are juniors in high school and perhaps half will claim any one of these skills. Ask the same group when they're at age 35, and you will find perhaps 2 or 3 who acknowledge performing adequately in any of these areas. What happened? Did they all lose their earlier abilities? No, we get used to very familiar paths in our lives and eliminate many possibilities along the way."
I'm still a good writer, it's just no longer a familiar path.

6. Who are 2 or 3 people you know who seem to have accomplished their dreams? What do you remember about their accomplishments? Wellllll...... maybe my dad accomplished his dreams. He made a career out of flying: first in the Air Force and then commercially. After he retired, he built his own airplane from a kit and flies it now whenever he likes. What I remember about his accomplishments is that he seems to live without regret. A second person I know who seems to have accomplished his dreams is Eric Esquivel: he wanted to write comic books, so he did, and published his first one himself. He's still got a lot of life to live, during which time he can accomplish all the other things he wants to do. What I remember about his accomplishment: he wanted to write comic books, so he did. He just did what he wanted to do. No excuses.

7. What do you imagine your retirement will be like? I can't even imagine retirement. I figure I'll be working well into my twilight years.


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