So, in the late summer of 2009, I told my most recent boss that I wouldn’t mind being “made redundant” (ie be laid off). There was no voluntary program, so officially, I could not actually volunteer. But, you know how things like that go. More often than not, if someone makes it be known that leaving wouldn’t break their heart, management seizes the opportunity. In the late autumn, I was told that my preference to go was taken into account and that my last day would be Dec 14, 2009. Sweet.
I wanted to take the opportunity to make a conscious choice about what to do next. If I end up doing a lot of what I was doing, that’ll be fine, as long as I haven’t just made that choice out of fear of the unknown. But what else could I do? When the world is your oyster, how do you decide which among the millions of oysters to choose? Well, I decided to list the things I love to do. I’m an inveterate list-maker, so that was a no-brainer. My list had things on it like: animals, oceans, politics, data analysis (that’s the geek in me), learning stuff. Is there a career out there that incorporates all or most of those? Google is your friend, so I went hunting.
I found Marine Biology, something that had always fascinated me and would have been my career choice way back when, if I’d not made the choice I did. Because I’m not a marine biologist and have no training in the area, I started thinking I could maybe go back to school. Yikes! Really? I could do that? Ran some numbers and decided that, yes, it was possible. I started researching Marine Biology MS programs and liked what I saw, but the more I thought of it, the less I thought that 10 hour field days or bench lab work would be my thing these days.
In the process of finding those programs, I stumbled across Marine Policy programs. They combine the science with making policy about the science. Hmm, that was an idea. I’d had a friend suggest that I look into working at a think tank, because of my political junkietude. On further investigation, it seemed that most of those programs were focused on managing fisheries. I’m not that big on fish. Don’t even eat them. Okay, keep looking…
Ah-ha! I went a little more general and found Environmental Policy programs. Same kind of deal, but more generally about the environment, not just marine systems. I found a bunch of programs in the geographical area I wanted and started researching.