I have a lot of interests and hobbies. My skills at math and science developed into a career engineering solutions to problems with buildings. My interest in community and education and development has guided my volunteer activities in the Boston area, so that I try to have a positive impact on the world around me. But I find that limiting my positive impact to the hobbies and free time is not the impact I would prefer to have. Couple that with the fact that to continue in engineering I need to get a Masters Degree, but I don’t want to study engineering any further, and in each of these activities there is something lacking.
With everything I have done to date, I’m left feeling good about the work but feeling like it doesn’t really Solve The Problem. You would think that as an Engineer I am able to solve problems. My work is more like identifying root problems such as Manufacturers mislead us to believe in their untested, unproven products. We have limited ability to educate people of such actions because of legal repercussions from Manufacturers. A construction industry that controls the design through cost and schedule manipulations to undo the efforts of good design, and therefor increased distrust and reduced fees for the designers who’s primary interest and benefit is the good of the project. So I have been deeply unsatisfied with my work in not being able to fix the roof of the problems.
Recently I was researching grad programs, I have considered various professions in teaching or counseling as potential careers that actually solve problems. I had fantasized about creating an after school kids program that incorporates valuable lessons missing from the traditional school curriculum, or somehow becoming a middle school teacher and slyly insert such lessons throughout the year, but I have no idea how realistic these ideas are. My fear is that I choose a new career path and find myself in the same situation of identifying root problems and lacking the skills and organization to address those issues, resolved instead to try and band-aid the consequences of these problems. So why leave my comfortable position with a respectable firm to go back to school?
When my boyfriend asked me what I was thinking of studying as a career change, I said that I’m looking for a way “To Fix the Entire Education System.” He responded “Well that’s a bit ambitious,” and I thought “Yes, that’s the point.” I am not afraid of a challenge, actually my whole life I have sought them out.
So all of this leads up to my discovery this week. Thank you to She Simply Made Lemonade for posting about Zoe Weil’s vision and work in Humane Education (not just relating to animal treatment). Zoe’s speech captured in the TED talks is the confirmation that my dream is not Too Ambitious. Others are living that dream too. I also love Zoe’s use of the concept “solutionaries” and plan to read more on her blog to plan my next steps.