05 January 2006

Winds of Change are Blowing

Turn the page of the calendar and welcome 2006.

The New Year has brought with it a mountain of work added to my day-job schedule. I am a part-time (almost full-time) volunteer coordinator and museum programs person for a small non-profit. I deeply believe the organization's missions and goals, but sometimes I feel like the lofty goals are hampered by personal misunderstandings and lack of communication. My coworkers and I are under a great deal of stress to open a new facility in late March of this year. It now looks like it's finally going to happen, but sometimes I wonder "at what cost to our careers and personal lives?" My goals are to keep trying my hardest to help with the volunteer and educational outreach programs. Yet I need to be realistic within the limits placed upon me. I am not paid to be a salaried full-time worker, so I have to try and keep my wits about me as I approach my work in the next few months. There is so much in my personal life that I want to accomplish, that I would be full-hardy to give too much and to not be compensated for it.

In spite of these concerns, I am also feeling the winds of change. Perhaps this year will bring me closer to doing the kind of creative work I feel drawn to do.

So many small opportunities have crossed my path since I've made myself open to them. People have offered me suggestions about where I might teach my creativity workshops and how I might publicize. I know several women with home-based or consulting businesses who have all been supportive of me when I've mentioned the work I'm doing in my own time. People can say what they want to about stereotypes, but women can be incredible at networking and nurturing each other's talents. I am constantly amazed by the number of women who have been not only interested in hearing about my budding creativity facilitatation work, but who have been genuinely enthusiastic.

A friend who is a professional facilitator suggested to me that I might want to become qualified to administer the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which is a type of psychological assessment that helps people to determine their preferences for working and for comprehending information. (It is useful when people are learning what kind of creativity they excel at and may indicate some psychological stumbling blocks a person may encounter.) I took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator in a high school psychology class and have since been very interested on it as a useful tool to understand work-habits, leadership styles, and communication styles. The qualifying exam would give me a credential invaluable to my new career. The difficulty will be raising the funds to take the exam and to travel on my meager salary. So I will have to find a way to take it in a city where I can stay with one of my friends or somewhere in the local D.C. or Baltimore area. Fortunately I have several friends who have been through the qualifying exam and who know about several different organizations that officially administer it. Hopefully I'll be able to take the exam later this year and perhaps combine a visit to family or friends.

I also learned about the Creative Education Foundation from the same friend. Each year they host a conference focusing on creative-problem solving. It sounds like it would be a wonderful place for me to learn about creativity and critical thinking. The conference has workshops and training components where I could gain more skills and network. I may not be able to attend this year, but perhaps make it a goal for 2007. I definitely want to learn more about this organization during this year.

There are also some more humble and practical matters I must explore if I'm to succeed in this line of work. I am hoping to get a website up and running before summer 2006. Along with that I will need a doing-business-as bank account, perhaps a Postal Box, and may need to take a class or workshop about running a consulting business. Fortunately, I have been doing my homework and I know from my parents some of the skills needed for owning my own business. Yet the task is daunting from the outside.

The best part about all of this is that I feel like I am making some progress and getting organized. Compared to a year ago when I was still trying to figure out what to do with my life, I am amazed at what I have accomplished at this point.

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