Long story short: You got a job you wanted and dreamt about, but after a while, you started feeling that something is missing and you are trying to figure out what exactly is missing and how to fill the hole.
Does this sound familiar in any way?
This situation actually happened to me. Here is how I used a passion I developed to begin the process of reinventing myself both personally and professionally in order to regain a feeling of more control over what I see as important in both my personal and professional life.
I have been an educator with teaching experience gained overseas. In 2000, I immigrated to the United States. This life event itself was a huge reinventing experience for me. In the USA, I became a college professor in 2014. I have taught both undergraduate and graduate students and also have been engaged in educational research of my interest, such as inquiry learning/teaching in school.
Then, in 2018, my dog and I passed the therapy dog test and we became certified to visit and provide comfort. I decided to visit schools because Carmel loves children.
Something else happened as well. In 2020, during Covid, I became more serious about my Instagram account devoted to my dog and started posting a lot of content, especially related to therapy dogs. As I shared a lot on our Instagram account, I also looked for other ways of sharing my passion for the work therapy dogs do. The idea of self publishing was something I decided to pursue to be able to write about my passion using multiple writing genres and venues.
As you can easily guess, all these activities were time consuming and added to my busy schedule, on top of my full-time job and family duties. Therefore, I started thinking about how I could creatively merge the two worlds: professional and personal. In other words, I started thinking about how what I do outside of my job can actually be tied to my job and contribute to my college professor activities. Simply, as I became a little bit discouraged with the rigid structure in the academia world, I began to think how to pull my passion outside of my job into the professional picture.
- One thing I did was sharing about therapy dogs and what they do with my education students. I basically started telling them that therapy dogs have an amazing impact on children in schools and therefore teachers should invite therapy dogs to their classrooms or even get certified themselves as therapy dog teams.
- Another thing I did was sharing my experience as a self published author. My students have to teach children to write for life, not just for school assignments, so I shared my drive with them and told them that writing about their own passions in a variety of ways will model motivated writing to children.
- I also added the books I self published to the list of my publications on my CV: From Unruly to Therapy Dog and The Amazing Power of Dog Therapy.
- Finally, another amazing thing that began to emerge is an idea of possibly researching the impact of my therapy dog on children in school.
Is my reinventing myself and my professional life over? Probably not. But I’m happy with the progress I made because I already feel that I infused more life, passion, and purpose into my career.
What is your job, what is something you do not like about it, and what is your biggest passion outside of your job? This can be the beginning of your own reimagining pathway.