Monday, April 25, 2011

39/100: Time To Let Go

I am enjoying this brilliant summer and spent the last few days not doing much. In fact, I hardly stepped out of my house. I felt a bit unwell, but that was only temporary: The real reason is that I was feeling very tired with what turned out to be a very difficult year already. My obsession with work and consequent 12 hour workdays have their effect, and as do the disappointments with less than perfect state of things. The British government's cavalier tinkering with the international student market threatens to kill the industry off, just when the country needs it to grow up and play a role. My expectations that British For-Profit education will grow up to compete with Americans in a few years time have taken a hit: Forget the Americans, if things go the way it is going, soon the Malaysians and even the Indian Education companies will overtake the British ones.

I have done a lot of reading lately, more so for the demands of my MA course. This is my second year into it, and I had taken 75 credits worth of courses this year. My idea is obviously to finish off as soon as possible, and if everything works out, I may end up doing another 15 credits over the summer (through a special course) and only leave the dissertation for the next year. I have enjoyed doing the course, though the coursework, coming on top of my work, the disarray at home and the house-move, is killing me. The good thing is of course that I have a good grounding in the business of adult education now, which adds me to my knowledge about processes and of the business side of it.

In a way, this is an interesting bit of my life as this comes hand in hand with my exposure to For Profit Higher Education. I have done various things in life - managed electronic communication businesses (the business of email, before Internet happened), sold and managed large scale computer training operations, owned and ran high end IT training business, worked in e-learning in public and private sectors, sold and managed language training operations internationally, ran corporate training businesses in sales and leadership and finally doing this stint at Higher Education end of things. I have never planned things like this, but, as it happened, I had quite a guided tour through the business of adult education: With the course, it feels that I am reading the guidebook now.

This four day break was helpful in another sense: I did find time to re-evaluate what I am doing and think what I shall do in future. There are things to do at work, indeed: I have to tone down my reformist zeal and focus on things, transactional things, that I have to do. Indeed, I have overdone my crusade for quality quite a bit, and it is time for me to accept that certain things can not be changed. I behaved so far as if I had the mandate, but I didn't, and the best thing for me is to know accept that I can't achieve all the things that I am gunning for within the current business.

This is not being pessimistic, which I shall loath to be - I am just being a realist and trying to refocus my efforts. I have put some of my bold and beautiful ideas on the back-burner and it is time for me to re-look at some of them with a fresh perspective. I feel ready, despite the intense pressure I am under, to restart my efforts yet again.

And, pessimistic I am not, as I look at life with optimism and joy. I see this period of hardship as only a passing phase and I am already making plans for life beyond. Like, I have put a time frame, two years, that I intend to stay in the house that I have just moved into. I know it is odd, but this is such an enormous relief for me, knowing that I am not going to stuck with something forever and that I have something to work for. Indeed, I am already two months in this house - into third month technically - this means I have to keep living the life I am living now for another 21 months, at best 22.

It is the promise of freedom at the end, the setting of goal that I want to go and live somewhere else once I have spent these months, that keeps me going. My next goal is to go and live in another country, if possible a non-English speaking country. This strange goal will give me the incentive to learn another language, though this has to wait till my MA course is complete. In a way, this is crazy: I am just thinking of building up some of the projects I thought about before. But, in a way, this is how it is: All the projects I ever think of are mobile and can be done from anywhere; my current pet project particularly so.

I shall not publish this note just now, but save it: The intention is to publish it in a month's time when I have made some progress. This is another game that I keep playing with myself - make the promise first - and see whether I can measure up against the promises made. I wish to come back to this post on 2nd June, my 44th birthday (that makes me feel old, but I should not), and see what progress I have made till then.



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"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."

- Theodore Roosevelt

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We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

- T S Eliot

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