As early birthday wishes begin to arrive, I find myself looking back over a life that has, at least so far, proved to be a great adventure. My education was all I could have hoped for -- indeed, it is what I would recommend to any student today who wonders if they need to know when they go to college what they wish to do with their degree(s). When I went to college, I imagined that I would be a physical education teacher. It did not take more than two quarters to disabuse me of that notion -- and to find an advanced rhetoric course that required that I write deliberately, and often. A liberal undergraduate education led to the graduate program in English. I more or less fell upon my first professional job after college, and from that point on I was able to leverage positions that I loved, where I was rarely bored. Once I got bored, though, I moved on. It may now look like my experience was continuous and deliberate, but its central premise was that I was doing interesting work that made a difference. And that I was using my interest in reading, writing and thinking with each of those positions.
All these years later, I still am doing interesting work that matters. Along the way, I've had experience in many types of institutions. My husband made this power point slide for his lecture on the day that the proof of my first book arrived. He wanted to show his students the power of an English degree.
The biggest change-up over the years is that I'm now comfortable enough in my own skin to do several different types of things at the same time. I don't work for one company, though I do teach only at the University of Washington. My consulting practice feeds my research interests. Writing and speaking are the icing on a cake that I have baked, from scratch.
I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all the folks I've worked with over the years, as well as the friends and family that have had to put up with me across these adventures. Your energy continues to feed my own.