I've written posts about my resignation from Lawrence (Choices, Be Brave, Born Joy), but now seems appropriate to answer frequently asked questions. Indeed, there's no drama; there's no mystery. There's just a woman listening to herself and making a change.
FAQ about Joy's resignation
Are you moving?
No, Mark and I will stay in Appleton, at least for the short term. We treasure our friends, our community, and we love our house (I'm fully nested). There's no reason to move right now.
Are you sick?
No, I feel great and I'm in excellent health.
Are you upset in some way with Lawrence?
Absolutely not--Lawrence will always hold a special place in my heart. (I'm deeply grateful to my students.) I'm not mad or upset. In the last 14 years I've done meaningful work at Lawrence, and I'll always treasure those memories, especially my experiences with the students. (And I welcome correspondence from former students and colleagues. I'm leaving Lawrence, but I'm not leaving life.)
Are you sure you're not going to some other college?
Actually, I'm stepping away from academics. No more college teaching; no more statistics.
Will you get a different job in statistics that pays tons of money?
No, I'm leaving the field of statistics; it no longer holds my interest (and doesn't bring me happiness). Perhaps there's money to be made in the statistics profession, but I'm not chasing it.
Do you regret going to graduate school?
Not at all. In graduate school I learned how to learn. Separate from my gained knowledge of statistics, I grew tremendously as a person and a student of life. The extra years in school provided me a safe space to build my confidence and find my own path. That path is changing, but I have no regrets.
Are you really sure about your decision? You're giving up tenure and you can't get that back; are you sure you won't change your mind?
Yes, I'm sure. This is a big decision, but I'm completely at peace. In fact, I don't think there's been a decision in my life where I've felt this much peace. I know this is the right choice for me. I need to move on to something new; it's a natural part of my life path.
You exude excitement in the classroom--how can you say you've lost your passion for teaching?
Whatever I do, I do with my whole heart. So while I'm still in the classroom, I'll be there fully and exude excitement. But at the end of each day I'm tired. This tiredness has come every day for a few years. Things for which I'm passionate give me energy; they don't drain my energy. This job is draining me. That said, while I'm still at Lawrence working with students I will do so with my whole heart. I will not hold anything back. (BTW, there are many ways to teach. I think I'll be a life-long teacher, just not in front of the classroom.)
Will you travel?
I have no current travel plans. There's a piece of me that wants to immerse in another culture--to travel and experience. Perhaps this will happen in some organic way. But it's not necessary for my happiness.
What's your next career?
Honestly, I don't know. When I'm done at Lawrence, I want to leave space to not know; to not jump at the next thing that might bring me safety and income. This is unusual for me--my typical path is to plan (planning makes me feel like I have control). So I'm purposefully putting myself in an uncomfortable place. I want to leave space to really listen to my inner voice, apart from all the identities I've acquired over the years.
But you must have an inkling, some seed of an idea?
Yes (she says very tentatively). I enjoy writing. I'd like to give my writing some serious attention and care. I'd like to stay out of the traditional workplace for a while. But otherwise, I really don't know. And I want to stay open to everything.
Are you scared?
Sure, I feel fear in response to uncertainty. But more importantly, I feel completely alive. With any risk comes the chance of failure. Yet I trust in myself--in my gifts, skills, creativity, and self-awareness. I feel more excited than scared; more at peace that at odds. It's really all okay.
[If interested, you can read more explanation in my baccalaureate speech.]