Previously, I asked why folks choose to work in higher education. Since then, I've gotten a number of emails containing individual stories, individual reasons.
It seems that reasons why folks end up working for colleges and universities are all over the map. Some general categories will certainly emerge but, as that continues to happen, let me share my own story.
Or, at least, let me share the first half. There are two reasons I ended up working for Greenback U; one that was immediate, and one slightly longer term.
The immediate reason had to do with my kids. Before I started at Greenback, I was a consultant. I worked primarily in the field of technology management (with a bit of change management thrown in for variety), and several of my clients turned out to be large universities. The good news was that I worked regularly, I got along with my boss (I was self-employed), and the money was pretty good. The bad news was that most of my clients were somewhere other than where I lived. As a result, I was on the road a lot.
That didn't much bother me until I had kids. When those kids started to turn into real people, I started looking for more stability and the chance to get to know them really, really well. An opening at Greenback U -- near home -- came along; my experience working with other schools helped me get the job.
Working at Greenback has allowed me to sleep in my own bed 350+ nights per year, and to be a real parent. (Please note, I don't claim complete success. I'm not sure such a thing even exists. But I was able to take my shot.) That was certainly worth some loss of income, and I haven't regretted the move.
So that was my first reason for working at a university. What's yours?
If you haven't already done it, drop me a line. Email g[dot]rendell[at]insidehighered[dot]com. I'm sure patterns will emerge. Maybe even patterns that don't emphasize sleeping in fewer hotel rooms.