17 February 2009

Significant Change In Plans

It's been a very thought provoking week. I'm officially done thinking though, and ready to start doing. Here's the plan:
  • I will go to graduate school.
  • I will not be getting an MBA. (Plan B)
  • I'll study travel writing. (Plan C)
  • I'll go for an MFA in Creative Writing. (Plan C.a)

If you have a few moments (and this will take at least that) I'd like to take you through my thought process. Action items are italicized.

We had reality update at work. Our company is losing money. Rather than wait for corporate to mandate cuts, our management is taking chances. These chances will cost a lot of the money we already don't have while creating awesome opportunities. I left that meeting at work thinking the best thing for me to do was spend money studying the technology about to come to us for free. Ryan made me realize I was sticking too close to what he called a hobby, and what I call specified career development. Other people at work agreed it would be a waste of money to take classes when I could play with the fancy equipment for free in my off time.

I received a requested brochure from the Academy of Art University and realized the coworkers were right. I already work with several of the people who shape the "cutting edge" in San Francisco. There's no reason for me to spend money to get information they'll likely gladly give me. So. Once the new equipment comes, I'll stay after work, or come in on weekends to learn how to use it. At the minimum, I'll have more skills to compliment my producing.

I thought a lot about my conversation with Ryan and decided to get an MBA or a MA in Project Management. Practically speaking, it's a great idea. An MBA makes me a viable candidate for management, even in business-type jobs outside of television. Project Management (I believe) would compliment my producing skills more, but leave me with fewer job options. Yes, an MBA requires math. But I don't deny I'll do well. I don't like to fail. So I spent the weekend determined to get an MBA, and asking (MBA Recruiter) Michelle for her take. She's with Ryan.

I started telling more people, mostly because my logical decision did not feel right. I had gotten over the math and the undergraduate classes I'd need to get the MBA level. I requested information from the reputable programs here. I had a plan that was going to work and benefit me professionally and financially in the long run. Still, I was not excited. And why should I do something that doesn't excite me?

Someone asked me what I'd do if I knew the world was ending three years. I took that as: "What if you were going to die in three years? What would you want to have accomplished?" I'd would want to travel and write. I'd want to write about the places I visited. I'd want to write a fiction novel. I'd want to write a memoir. I would not want to make a bunch of money just to have it. If I knew I only had three years, I'd want to give "practical" a break (I couldn't throw it away entirely) and do what excited me. Why should that be any different than if I had 5 years? Or 50? Why do I have to list what I want under "hobby" and not "career?"

Ryan & Michelle love the MBA idea. They also both happen to have jobs they enjoy. Ryan went through what I would call the longest job interview process in humanity by choice and Michelle works from the beach. I think they're happy doing what they do in their respective settings. And while I know I'd do well, I don't think I'd be as happy as I'd be writing. Therefore I'm going to start going to travel writing seminars and figuring out how that business works.

But the more I thought about going to school, the more I liked that idea too. It couldn't hurt me to actually take some college math just in case I change my mind again. I also miss Spanish more than I thought I could. I miss speaking. I miss eavesdropping. I miss not thinking about it, and just knowing it. But my undergraduate days are over. If I'm going to study, it's going to be intense. So I'll be going for my MFA in Creative Writing. I had considered teaching English in other countries, but the reality is I'm not a very nice or patient person. I want to write and an MFA program will push me to at least start writing one of the books taking shape in my head. I'll also be enrolled in a school that will likely offer math and Spanish classes. And all those ideas excite me.

I realized - while I really enjoy what I do - there are other things I enjoy as well. And I don't have to feel guilty for basing my "Plan B," (Plan C in this case) on something else I really want to try. Maybe this is Jesse wearing off on me. He's certainly the less practical between the two of us. If so, I'm glad. I promised myself I'd be more like him. In the next two years I'll still produce, learn additional media skills, study Travel Writing, get an MFA in Creative Writing, learn some math, and pick up the Spanish that's fallen by the wayside. It might not be easy, but I really do think I'll have fun.


  1. Do it! I had a blast getting my MFA and if you go on to a Ph.D. they'll pay for all your classes (in any subject you want!!!) and give you health insurance.

    I just said to my mom today, after dropping a student from my class and writing a scathing email to two others who fooled around on their computers while we workshopped their peers' short stories in class (it annoyed me to no end that they'd be that disrespectful to their fellow students' work!)...and I mean they weren't even vague about it!...Anyhow. I said to my mom: it's a damn good thing I didn't go into secondary ed 'cus I do NOT have the patience and I would NOT be able to just drop their asses, but be stuck seeing them EVERY SINGLE DAY!

    D is a travel writer! We both do nonfiction and I got my MFA in fiction-it was awesome! But look for a program that focuses on writing or you may end up with way more lit theory...etc...than you are hoping for...and if you ever want some fresh eyes-we're always here!

    Good luck and congrats on the decision! I hope you love it as much as we do!

  2. I like this better. That is exactly how I always felt about an MBA. Money is nice but better to make it doing something you're passionate about. You don't wanna be a suit, believe me... from what I've seen I think you'd have to be a soulless douche, and you are not. Maybe some of those guys in ties are happy, but almost all of the ones I see everyday look miserable. Anyway, congratulations on going for your passion!

  3. You nailed it... the one reason to get an MFA - because you want to. Great call and I wish you luck.

    And, side note, Emerson College's program rocks. The downside for you, though, is it's in Boston...

  4. Glad to hear you've got your plan in place! I think a MFA in Creative Writing will be a great fit for you. In the end, you have to do something that you enjoy.

    Should we have a race to see who can finish first? Airplane vs MFA?

  5. Love the plan! Looking forward to more Dani school adventures...

  6. I'm on the Plan C.a as well. I was inspired by a many of our professors at IC and would love to be among the ranks of those fabulous people. Therefore, when I can knock about another 3 grand off my student loans - I'll take my GREs and enroll in an MFA program (most likely either in Portland or Philly because I don't plan to be in Atlanta much longer).