The Scriblerianne

September 5, 2008

Risks and Opportunities

Filed under: Self-improvement — scriblerienne @ 3:06 pm
Tags: , , , ,

I commented on Timothy Ferriss’s blog yesterday on the Martin Luther King, Jr. quote he put up.  The quote was inspiring because King chastised those who would not risk their lives or current situations for an ideal.  Basically, he said that if a person refuses to stand up for something to believe it because it is not safe, that person is spiritually and emotionally dead.  They have sacrificed a chance for a better life for the status quo.  This resonates with me because I am a pretty risk-averse person.  I don’t do things on a lark, I don’t jump at the latest thing, and I certainly don’t like to lose money.  I don’t even gamble because I know the odds are against me! 

But I also know that my life could be better.  Right now I have tenure at a second-tier state university.  It doesn’t pay a lot, I have a heavy teaching load, I don’t get a lot of perks, BUT I have a steady income, benefits and job security (at least I will as long as our shortfall doesn’t drive the administration or Board of Regents to cut tenured faculty).  So I have been examining my skills and ways to supplement my income.  I see that there are opportunities out there.  Some are as risky as leaving academia (maybe going to law school, working in the private sector, starting my own business) and some are low-risk, such as looking for part-time opportunities.  The logical thing would be to go back on the job market for a better position, but personal reasons and a nagging sense of low self-esteem hold me back.  So I look for opportunities that are minimal risk.

When I think about opportunities, I realize that I miss or refuse to seize them because of laziness, low self-esteem.  The chances are out  there and some of them require minimal capital or disruption of my life.  So why not take them?  I’ve been making myself more useful and involved in my department, read voraciously about the subjects I’m interested and gathering resources, and now is the time to act.

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