Changing careers can be a very difficult, yet positive, turn of events.
Readership: Men facing career difficulties.
An Unpleasant Impetus for a Career Change
A while back, between 2008 to 2012, my ex-wife had a nasty habit of trying to get me fired from any job I had. She succeeded in doing this at least three times, maybe four. For the first two jobs, she did this by spreading false rumors among my coworkers, making me out to be a grossly immoral character. (Hey, I’m just a divorced Manosphere blogger!) But with the second job, I had a very wise and insightful employer who figured out what was going on, and they let me in on what she was saying to people. So after that, I preemptively warned people that I had an ex who liked to stir up drama, and that if she ever came around, then they should just ignore her. Few people took her seriously after that. [Divorced men should take the hint to tell people.]
Then after she got turned away at the door a few times, she upped the ante by filing cases against me on trumped up criminal charges. Because of this, the police came to the school at least twice (that I knew of), and once, they even pulled me out of a classroom full of students in order to interrogate me. (Those were extremely embarrassing experiences.)
This school could handle gossip and rumors, but having the police coming around was just too much for them. So they had to let me go in the end.
After that, I took another job in another city, and I thought she would leave me alone because of the distance between us. But her strategy of calling the police turned out to be more convenient for her than instilling rumors, because she didn’t have to take the effort to befriend my coworkers, and she could still sabotage my career, even though I had moved to another city. Also, a lawsuit hit me harder than mere rumors did. Not only did the police intervention instigate damaging rumors which affected my career, but I also had to waste big bucks on a lawyer.
So because she destroyed my reputation again at that school, I lost a third job.
Redesigning a Career Strategy
After all of that mess, I knew I had to create a man-cave where it would be difficult for my ex to find me. So I rented a small warehouse (225 m2 or 2,422 sq. ft.) in an old part of the city to live in. The rent was super cheap (US$400/month), and it provided space for my car, motorcycles, industrial shop machines, and research equipment. Best of all, I had some good parties there, and my friends and especially the women I knew, loved to hang out there.
I also decided to have a few part-time jobs instead of one full-time job, so that if she ever messed with one of them, I still had the others to fall back on.
During this time, I was an adjunct professor at two universities, and I had arrangements to teach classes at three or four other schools. I was invited to participate in four research partnerships, and I was publishing an average of two papers a year. I also did some independent work on the side that bolstered my income significantly.
The thing I enjoyed the most about this set up, was that I had the freedom to make my own schedule, and I could accept or reject any work opportunities that came my way. If one didn’t fit into my schedule, or work out very well, I had plenty of others to rely on.
I discovered that this revised play strategy brought me a whole new life. Things went a lot smoother for me, and I soon became very nicely set up. I opened a post office box to receive my mail, and picked up my daughters at discrete locations for their visitation, so my ex never found out where I lived. She gave up trying to sabotage my career, and turned her focus onto custody issues and monopolizing visitation rights.
My daughters thought living in a warehouse was a dream come true. On rainy days, they could rollerblade and ride their bikes around the warehouse floor. They hated leaving to return to their mother.
A New Opportunity Emerges
Then in 2014, I was offered a full-time position as an assistant professor. At first, I didn’t want to take this job (which is my present job), because it was only a contracted position. I wanted to wait until I found a regular tenure-track position. But the department chairman urged me to take this job, promising that it would help me get my foot in the door to a tenured position after a couple years, so I accepted.
However, it didn’t turn out like he stated. I’ve been here for the last four years, but I have little to show for it.
- The school did not give me any laboratory space, so I was only able to use what research equipment would fit into my own office space (which wasn’t much).
- I applied for research grants every year, but I was only granted a partial award for one year, which was barely enough to cover my expenses.
- The other professors in my department were hesitant to partner up with me, largely because our research interests didn’t overlap.
- My time was consumed by teaching between 15 to 19 hours a week (which is a heavy load for collegiate level), so I haven’t had much time for doing research.
- Even though I have helped a lot of students with their research projects and papers, I haven’t had any students who officially called me their advisor. Thus, I haven’t had any students to help me conduct any research.
- Not so surprisingly, I haven’t had a single SCI publication since I joined this school four years ago. It’s not like I haven’t tried. I’ve submitted a few papers, but they were all rejected by the publisher for various reasons.
- I was also rather bored with the environment.
No lab, no money, no partners, no time, no students, no publications, no excitement…
But the University expects me to turn out top-rate, cutting edge, research results worthy of publication in world class technical journals. So my lack of publications disqualified me from being eligible for a promotion. When a tenured position opened up, they didn’t even grant me an interview. Some of the other professionals who were vying for my position had Ph.D.’s from famous schools, and hundreds of publications on their resume. A couple of them had even published 30+ papers in the past year alone! (I don’t understand how they could do that.)
So you see, in Asia, this profession is extremely competitive, and since I haven’t published anything for the last four years, that put me at the bottom of the competition.
Publish or Perish!
In summary, my professional accomplishments at this University have been dismal, and I see that my career as a full-time professor may be reaching its end. I don’t feel regretful about this, but instead, I think it’s time to embark on a new adventure in life. So lately, I have been reassessing my career options.
Another Career Reassessment
I know I can be very good at research, but my heart is more into teaching, writing, counseling, and even evangelism when given the chance. I am most renowned for teaching students’ confidence, of all things. I know this is because I have the heart to share my faith with others, and see others come to know Christ, and grow in faith. I firmly believe this is a part of God’s purpose in my life.
In addition, both my educational training, and my Meyers-Briggs personality type, are not suited to the academic field in which I have been working for the last four years. (My lackluster accomplishments probably had something to do with this.)
Besides, when I think back to what led me to come to Asia in the first place, I know it wasn’t to be a professor. Becoming a professor is an honorary experience that I’ve gained only by the grace of God. I came to Asia looking for deep, inner peace and joy, and I’ve found that (a horrific first marriage notwithstanding).
My plan now is to go back to the career model I had between 2012 and 2014, except that I will make a formal business out of it. I have already attracted a few partners, and an investor. I’ve found a store-front office space in a prime location, with living quarters upstairs. I will still be a professor, but not full-time. I’ve lined up two part-time teaching positions at local Universities.
My (new) wife had hoped that I would continue on as a full-time professor, mainly because of the benefits of having a well-established employer, and the social prestige of the position. But just this week, after several discussions with my partners, she has jumped on board, and is now willing to support my small business enterprise, even though she knows it will require a lot of work, not just for me, but for her too. My partner pointed out that she only changed her mind because she really loves me and wants to support me. So I am finding that I am prodigiously blessed by God.
This coming summer, I will need to focus more of my attention on building my business, and some activities related to this. So I will be checking into this blog sporadically for the next few weeks, or maybe months. I will still try to churn out at least one post every week. It shouldn’t be too hard for me to do, because as of today, I have 174 pending posts in various stages of completion, and 314 posts left over from my old Blogspot site that I want to rework before reposting them on WordPress.
Comments will remain open, and any submitted guest articles will continue to be published. Any further questions or requests for post topics, please feel free to contact me at your leisure.
- Sigma Frame: On Choosing a Career (September 11, 2009)
- Sigma Frame: Why Do Men Need Visions and Dreams? (May 15, 2018)