My Twitter name will have to change (carrie_at_umass) because I am leaving UMass this month and will be starting at another university in January. I have never experienced such a long and intensive career transition as this one. Never have I had two outstanding offers from two respected institutions resulting in a very difficult decision to be made.
I learned a great deal about the art of negotiation. It was an exercise in decorum, diplomacy and organizational politics. It was an entirely new experience, which left me with the conclusion that I really really REALLY need a mentor who understands my field and my interests and can help me navigate my chosen career path. (If you wish to apply to be my mentor, please let me know!)
The hardest part was deciding if I wanted to leave the niche field of academic medicine to work in the general higher ed circuit. In medical eduction I am special because there are few instructional technology professionals. I have 5+ years experience considering theories of teaching and learning as applied to the unique practices of medical school. In general higher ed, there are many people who do what I do which makes me less special. It was a tough decision to leave my unique, special and familiar pond for a big, crowded unknown pond.
I admit I have fears. Most of it is social anxiety - will they like me, will I fit in, will I like them? A lot of it is wondering about my personal comfort - new work environment, shared office space again after 1.5 years of private space and new work equipment (I will miss my elevated desk and dual monitors!).
For the most part, I am excited. I am still somewhat awestruck that I got the job offer at this major university, but it is beginning to sink in that I will be a part of it. I loved the look on my 93 year old grandfather's face when I told him about the offer; he was very impressed, and proud of me. I am looking forward to my first day, my first week, orientation, a campus tour, settling in at my new desk, listening in on co-workers conversations, getting to know my way around. (They have 3 libraries!)
I'll have a new Twitter name in January 2011. Until then, if you are wondering where I am going, we can play 20 Questions in the comments here or via Twitter or email.