The short story is that, shortly after I earned tenure at Kansas State University, my husband was offered a job at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Because I was in the common phase of post-tenure “now-what,” leaving my job and moving to a different country seemed like a grand adventure, so we did. I found work at a local university, collaborating with faculty and staff on the creation of new undergrad and grad programs. I finished a book. I missed teaching and got a temporary contract (2 years) to do various humanities teaching assignments. That contract went the way of most humanities gigs of late and I found myself unemployed. And angry, sad, depressed, outraged, and frustrated.
I worked with career counsellors and coaches both at my former institution and privately and these kind souls kept telling me that my skills and interests lined up with their work. Eventually, I listened to them. I spent a year taking coaching courses and undergoing a rigorous certification process so that I can now call myself a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach.
Because the academy was my intellectual and work home for so long, I choose to work with people who make their lives in higher education in one way or another. This is my calling because, to improperly quote Bill Clinton, I feel your pain. I understand the institutional context in which you work and the freedoms and restrictions that environment brings with it. I’ve been on the tenure track, published articles and a book, but I’ve also been full-time support staff, as well as contingent faculty.
I know that, regardless of your position in academia, you can feel isolated and frustrated, you can struggle with competing demands on your time and attention, and you can wonder about the difference you’re making in the world. Everyone needs a sounding board, a champion, and a coach to help them be their best selves and do their best work. This is what I do.