On November 2 I started a new job at Prince William Sound College, a little bitty community college here in Valdez. My official (and truly awful) job title is Instructor and Administrator of Industrial Technology. Right now, my primary purpose is to refine our current industrial technology programs (safety and millwright) and help the college develop new ones. I'm spending a lot of time talking with people from Alaska's different industries to find out what kind of vocational training they need new employees to have so that we can develop programs that will better enable our graduates to find good jobs. As time progresses, I'll also be teaching classes each semester, mostly CPR/First Aid, hazardous waste operations and emergency response, and sciences, as needed.
After nine years working on oil spill contingency planning with the Alaska Dept. of Environmental Conservation, I am loving the change. The college has a positive energy that comes from new management getting everyone excited about potential growth and new ideas, and from making sure everyone is involved in making those changes happen. I'm also delighted to finally have new topics of conversation. It's great that I'm still able to access my prior colleagues in this job (I worked with some really great people through ADEC), but it's also fabulous that I have many new people to talk with and become friends with. I'm well aware that any job gets old after a while, but I have high hopes for this one being good for at least a few years. I was desperately in need of a change, but even so it was hard to give up a position in which I was completely competent and confident in what I was doing. I'm thrilled that I'm already valued in my new position and able to positively impact the college.
Right now, today, what I'm really grateful for is the college schedule. The campus is closed for the week between Christmas and New Year. That means that starting at 5:00 today I'm on vacation for the next 11 days! Granted, I have to take three days of unpaid leave in there, but I'm okay with that. We're headed to Wasilla and Eagle River tomorrow to spend a few days with family, maybe Alyeska for a couple of days of skiing (if Thane gets it arranged), and then blissfully home for a week. I have more projects planned than I'll ever get done, but I have high hopes for productive creative time interspersed with outdoor fun in the lengthening daylight.
Since I know I won't have an opportunity to write in the next few days, I figured I'd better use this chance to say Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Blessed Yule, and every other politically correct and incorrect holiday greeting that is applicable to you. I hope you have a wonderful...whatever.