Journal Entry: Waiting For New Year

I said before: This part of my life is about WAITING. But this year-end is a wonderful thing. Nothing will change on 1st January morning but you can sure imagine to be a fresh start. You can do that every morning, indeed; but, on 1st January, your fresh start meets fresh starts of almost every other person, and except the very cynical, most of them meet you with an instant readiness to start again. This makes it such a potent day for making a real break. And, since you know the date well in advance, you can plan ahead a little.

So, as I approach the end of November, it is time for me take stock, close chapters and prepare myself to move on. 2010 has been a better year for me than 2009. That matters: I shall feel happy that at the end of this year, I am far more stable and forward looking than I was a year back.

But, then, 2009 was an exceptionally bad year for me. I had a frustrating job, my credit card debt (primarily due to my travel commitments and less than regular reimbursement patterns of my employer) spiraled out of control and due to uncertainties whether I shall continue to live in Britain, my personal life was lacking direction. While this meant I was quite active on this blog, this hampered my reading and relationships in general, prompting me to make several bad decisions.

My achievements in 2010 simply consist of recovering myself from the abyss. I chose a sector, Higher Ed, and was lucky to find a senior level job within the industry, giving me a ringside view of what goes on. I could resolve to stay put in Britain, a rather big achievement because I could never make my mind up in the preceding 6 years that I have been here. Together with my studies at the University College on Adult and Higher Learning, I started teaching and gained valuable perspective in the practice. Most important of all, I could get back a regular life, which allowed me to get back my reading habits. My health improved, and judging by my blog posts, my thinking became far more consistent. Overall, a sense of purpose returned in my life (which, I discovered, whatever I think of middle class life, is difficult to achieve under credit card debt).

There is indeed a more forward-facing achievement this year, and I am only beginning to realize this. I may have stumbled upon a growth industry as it begins to peak. I have learned timing matters a lot. I have been in growth industries before: In fact, I would say that my life story was somewhat defined by being able to move from one growth industry to another over last twenty years. In India : Telecommunications in 1993, Computer Education in 1995, Internet Training in 1999; and then e-learning and international education, I was somewhat on the growth crust of all these industries and my career moved on this. The only time I settled for something less exciting, selling English language training material to Indians, my career went on reverse. This is the big takeaway for 2010: Moving on to Forward Gear yet again.

I must say at this time that I remain a believer of social values of education and therefore, of social funding. My greatest discomfort with the same changes that put my chosen industry on the growth curve is that these take a very narrow perspective of education - of enhancing individual productivity, that is - and I would believe policies based on such a definition are likely to have a disastrous impact on society. However, social funding of education does not necessary mean social execution: I shall advocate that a combination of private execution with social provisions is the best way we can move forward. In fact, this is not a new model, but indeed the most successful model of education. States got into running educational establishments only in the modern times. They surely had a positive impact, particularly in terms of facilitating the shift to mass adult education as opposed to the elitist paradigm which persisted in Europe for a long time. We are now at that inflection point in Britain, and indeed in much of the present world, where private mass education backed by social funding becomes a reality. I would like to believe I have chosen wisely and I am in the right industry at the right time.

I must admit I have started making plans for 2011. I am very optimistic at this time. I have cut ties with my past irrevocably, but a few loose ends remain. One lesson I have learned in 2010 is to be selective in who I do business with. I have made some bad choices before, and I now know that you can never do the right business with wrong people. So, I am careful now in committing my time and energy into anything, without first having a sight of right kind of people. My current job allows me the leverage of assembling a set of high calibre professionals together, and I am able to see the benefits of working with smart people. The closing weeks of 2010 are therefore dedicated to build even more powerful partnerships with smart and intelligent people with shared purposes; this would be a truly significant break in my life.

Among other things in 2011, I have decided to stop teaching. I enormously enjoy teaching and have started getting the feedback that I am a good teacher: But I have realized that I can not manage the demands on my time that the teaching commitments impose. I have decided to focus on research, content writing and reading, rather than teaching in the classroom. I shall, however, be able to maintain my public speaking opportunities as I keep receiving requests for odd workshops. I would want to go back to teaching some point of time yet again, but I shall first give myself an year to organize my affairs before I do so.

The other thing I shall do in 2011 is travel (this is the other reason I must stop teaching). Yes, again, as I am already beginning to feel claustrophobic staying in London. But, I am hoping, I shall travel less for pure work and more with the purpose of learning about the place and its culture. I am looking forward to 2011: And, yes, preparing for it.


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