An up-shot to being down-sized: Gain a new skill

With all the downsides to being down-sized, having some time on my hands to retool and reflect has been really rewarding. My latest pursuit is a working knowledge of WordPress, which I hope to achieve by developing this blog.

I admit this is somewhat reactive, rather than proactive. Earlier today I heard from my temp agency contact, Mary, that a position might be available if I have experience with WordPress. Given that today is my 159th day* of unemployment, I’m pretty eager to score a temp job that might help me get a foot in the door and generate a some income in the absence of a more ideal permanent position with a better income.

But Mary’s prompt has also given me the nudge I’ve needed to start a blog for more personal reasons. For some time, a nagging voice in my head has been suggesting that I blog about my experiences weathering this financial crisis.  A blog could serve in part as a coping mechanism, but also as a way to share resources that have been valuable to me during this period and to “locate” my experience within a larger political, economic and social context.

In a similar vein, at around day 5 of unemployment, I stumbled upon an online statistical analysis course through Coursera.org.  With a background in qualitative research but a career in “the real world” (i.e., a world where numerical data are given much more weight that “soft” qualitative data), I have often thought that formal exposure to stats and quantitative analysis would serve me well.  I also realized that a stronger grasp on stats would make me a more savvy consumer of information — so much of what we read and hear in the news bases its credibility on this sort of data.  It was a happy coincidence that I came across this course on the very day that it was to begin.  As with my new WordPress goal, my stats course  fulfilled both practical and personal interests with a dash of “small p” politics as well.  Did it kick my a$$ ?  Why yes, it did.  But the challenge was invigorating and reminded me of my capacity for growth.

Being able to look at both of these instances helps me to see that I’m most motivated to pursue a developmental goal when it provides rewards on pragmatic, personal and political levels.  Perhaps multi-dimensional goals are particularly motivating for other people as well.

One of my next posts will include some resources and ideas regarding free resources for personal and professional development.

Now excuse me while I drink my lemonade.

 

*Thank you Date Duration Calculator

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