agile academic 1.5 Lisa Munro

Transcript and Embedded Show Notes

Speaker 1 (00:00):

On this episode of the agile academic podcast, I talked to Dr. Lisa Munro, former Peace Corps, volunteer history, PhD, and study abroad facilitator. We talk about her unique path in and around higher ed, moving to Mexico and making the most out of opportunities to live the way you want to live.

Hello listeners, welcome to the agile academic, a podcast for women in and around higher education and its first season. I talked with our special guests from all over academia, about a wide range of topics from teaching and research to writing and speaking to career by tally and burnout and everything in between. I’m your host, Dr. Rebecca Pope.

Speaker 1 (00:48):

I think your story is really interesting because of the international components coming in and out of that and yeah.

Speaker 3 (00:53):

Yes, I come, I come in and out of academia depending at different points too. It’s it’s, it’s been a long journey. I think if I were to give you my business card, it would just say historian. So that’s kind of still how I identify and there’s. Um, so I, I think my Twitter bio probably says it best I’m I have a PhD, I’m a historian, I’m a writer. I live in Latin America. And then I think it says return peace Corps volunteer. And it says adoptee. And then it says into professional, I think it says intellectual dilettante, I think is what it says right now. So I feel like that kind of sums it up. Those are all my words. So how should I do it

Speaker 1 (01:37):

Get into defining intellectual dilettante?

Speaker 3 (01:41):

Yes, absolutely. Yes. So I, I live in the beautiful city of many that you get done. I get to, I’ve been working for central college for a couple of years now that I don’t know if, I don’t know if you know this, but that’s coming to an end as well. So more transitions, you know, I used to think life was like these long periods of stability punctuated by these moments of transition. And like I’m starting to rethink that. Like I think now it’s like just leaves long periods of transition punctuated by these like fleeting moments of stability. So I’m in transition again. So that’s exciting.

Speaker 1 (02:17):

It is exciting. Right? We have to kind of think about it in different ways. Yes. And I think using the word transition helps us as opposed to saying change, right? It’s like, Oh, missions are slow and you kind of move into a different situation where change, I think implies hard, fast.

Speaker 3 (02:32):

Yeah. It’s like, it’s like sudden and it’s really jarring and really shocking. And you know, everybody hates that. So, so I feel like, and I feel like so much of my life has just been kind of these transitions. So I’m like, okay, I’m back in transition. Like it’s okay, it’s going to be fine. I’m going to land on my feet. So yeah. Um, I then in Mexico since February of 2018, let’s see, before that I had a couple of crappy jobs and then my PhD is in Latin American history from university of Arizona, 2015. So I’ve always been really attached to things in Latin America. I feel really, I feel really at home here, this is where I feel good. So it’s important for me to be here. And I know a lot of, a lot of people who work in academia, you don’t always get to choose where you live. And so I feel like I’ve been really blessed to be able to choose where I live because places really is really important to me right now.

Speaker 1 (03:27):

So what was it about Latin American studies and Latin America that attracted you?

Speaker 3 (03:31):

I was a peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala. So I was there, um, 2000 God. It’s been so long now, 2004 to 2006. And so it was a little bit, I was a little bit older when I went to peace Corps because I have had this kind of, let’s see, how long do I make this story? I had, I dropped out of high school. And so I went to community college kind of in my early twenties. And that probably saved my life in many ways. And then I worked for a little bit and I had all these weird jobs. And then I finally went, um, I was a 26 year old sophomore, so graduated with an undergraduate degree in history and at 28. And then I, I just wasn’t really ready to go to grad school. Like that was still on my radar, but I wasn’t quite ready to do that yet.

Speaker 3 (04:20):

So I was like, Oh, I know I’ll join the peace Corps. So I did. And then I had to like look at like, they sent me to Guatemala. Like now the process I think is a little different. You get to choose. It’s kind of more of a choose your own adventure kind of thing. But at the moment when I did it, it was like, you’re going here. So they sent me there and I, you know, as, as, as preparation, I went to the library and I like looked it up on a map. I was like, okay, like, you know, what is this about? So, um, but that experience was really pivotal in a lot of ways, if you know nothing else about Guatemala has this terrible, terrible history of state violence against indigenous people. And so I, when I was done with that, and so I just met all these people who had these terrible, terrible things to tell me, I mean, just really heart-wrenching awful stories, um, that were, that that just blew my mind that like, I couldn’t believe it. And I was like, how do we, how do we in the States, like not know about these things, because now this is now, I’m now talking with these people on a very regular basis about, about their, their experiences with state violence. And so I wanted to understand that experience, like how did that even come up? How is this even possible? And so I went to graduate school to understand that sort of, to understand it was a, it was a long way to understand kind of my peace Corps experience.

Speaker 1 (05:42):

Well, that’s powerful, right? I think the, the most powerful experiences we can have in graduate in our graduate studies are things that are driven by those experiences. Right. You know, I, I was out for two years, um, after my master’s degree working in Silicon Valley. And that was that experience for the two years of that experience, completely informed my research agenda for all of my PhD program, you know, and that shaped who I am or who I was as a, as a teacher and an instructor. So,

Speaker 3 (06:09):

Absolutely. I mean, I think it’s, I think it’s really that at that, you know, you shouldn’t get a, you shouldn’t go to graduate school and shouldn’t get a PhD unless you’re really genuinely driven by something, something very deep and something very personal and something you really, really care about. Cause I don’t know. I just couldn’t. I knew people who kind of fell into different fields of research, but it always, that always seemed really weird to me. I was like, I don’t, I don’t know how you just like pick somewhere to do research. Oh, I guess I’ll do it there. You know, hopefully you pick some nice place, but yeah, it was like this very deeply personal experience. And that was really what, what made me want to, to study Latin America history is just, it it’s just, it really suits me. Like you get to know a lot about, about different kinds of things. You get to know some economics and you get to know some cultural stuff and you get to know this and you’ve get to know that and change over time. And yeah, it just feels it’s the right. It’s definitely the right discipline for me.

Speaker 1 (07:10):

But what you said about being older, I think it’s crucially important too. Right? Cause I wa I went straight from college to my master’s program. Cause I didn’t know what to do. I was really good at school, so I just kept going to school for awhile. But it was those two years out that were transformative. And I think what you were saying too is in terms of graduate programs themselves, when we think about especially humanities, social sciences, just churning out graduate students and PhDs and kind of dangling tenure track faculty positions in front of them. There’s an ethics issue there, but you crafted this amazingly interesting career with HD doing.

Speaker 3 (07:46):

Yeah, it hasn’t held me back, you know, and there are, there are really some, some real problems about accepting it. You know, now it’s like with COVID like certain programs are not accepting students and blah, blah, blah. But you know, it’s like, I have this idea kind of knocking around in my head. I’m going to write something about something about how a junk adjunctification, which is a real PR I mean, that is a very serious problem, but it’s, I see it as, as not so much a problem, but a symptom of kind of this larger kind of market sort of this Neo liberal market economy that we’ve, we’ve chosen. Um, and we’re still kind of supporting there, you know, we’re, we’re, we’re invested in, in economic and political systems that turn everything into Walmart. You know, I think it’s part of that, you know, like Uber task, rabbits adjuncts, you know, I think it’s all part of the same kind of system.

Speaker 1 (08:39):

Yeah. There’s some really interesting work that I kind of dug into, um, for the burnout book related to academic capitalism. So, you know, what happens when you do start treating your students as, as customers? What happens when time is money for faculty members, right? And here’s this guilt for not writing, you should be writing or you should be bringing money in with grants or you should be doing all of these things because that’s the currency of the realm, right? It’s, it’s those things that bring the reputation that let you compete in the capitalist market of high hierarchy. So it really replaces that meritocracy kind of myth with a little bit more what, what, to me feels a little more like reality.

Speaker 3 (09:20):

Yeah, absolutely. So yeah, all these things are, they’re also connected and it’s, it’s just, it’s um, you know, it’s really heartbreaking what’s happened in academia. I thought I wanted to not academic job because I didn’t quite know what else I should do, but you know, and, and there’s a lot of discussion on Twitter right now. Like does the old act, you know, whatever that means, you know, is the terminated valid, but you know, does that help ameliorate the academic job market collapse? And no, it doesn’t really hold back. Jobs are not going to solve the problem, but at the same time, like we have to do something with these, these very smart, highly trained people who now need something else to do something that’s fulfilling something that’s meaningful, you know, what kind of work can those people be doing? You know, if this thing that they trained for and they wanted no longer exists, like, you know, how do we,

Speaker 1 (10:14):

Well, yeah, I mean, that’s, there’s so much loaded into that feeling of, you know, not being accepted because you didn’t get into one of the two jobs that’s available right. In my field right now, there are 14 jobs available in my field.

Speaker 3 (10:29):

Yeah. That’s kind of about, that’s maybe about where mine is. Yeah. And it’s like, you know, and you know, that like 300 people are going to play with the academic joke is that, um, you know, how many academics does it take to change a light bulb? We’ll only one but 300 applied for the job, but you know, it’s, and I, I mean, that’s reality, like that’s really happening. So yeah. How do we, how do you cope with that level of grief and that level of sadness and like really like losing that part of your identity? You know, I don’t, it’s not, you know, that really, that, that loss is real. Um, and a lot of times I think that doesn’t get validated like near.

Speaker 1 (11:09):

Yeah. And I love that, that you used the word grief because we have been set up, you know, to go through the system and to look for this golden Apple at the end of this toilet up a Hill. And then for, for a lot of us it’s not there. And I felt survivor’s guilt in a lot of ways because I did get a tenure track job pretty easily. And, you know, I must’ve, I must’ve just been lucky in the market. It’s tough all the way around when you’re, your identity is tied to that is tied to that.

Speaker 3 (11:36):

Absolutely. And I mean, so many of us, you know, we just assume that the, you know, this is what was going to happen for us. You know, we were good enough. We were smart enough. Of course we were, but it just didn’t happen. So now what do you do? You know? So I think like the, yeah, the postdoc or Alltech or whatever you want to call it, like, think that has to exist because some, I mean, Oh my God, what else are we going to do? People have to work at something. Yeah. It’s just the, yeah. It’s,

Speaker 1 (12:03):

It’s such a diminutive right. Act jobs are called jobs. Yeah. They really

Speaker 3 (12:10):

Okay. Said something about that on Twitter. And I was like, Oh right. Like they really are just jobs, you know, like in any other world we would just call them jobs, you know, but somehow or another in academia, like, you know, you have to like divide that out, which is just, I don’t know, just kinda dumb, but, um, yeah. Jobs and jobs and academic jobs maybe.

Speaker 1 (12:30):

Yeah. So what around higher ed? So you’re, you’re in and you’re out. Can you tell us a little bit about that experience going from, you know, that PhD and that kind of, what do I do now? Cause you’ve had, I think, I think you’ve had such an interesting path. We’ve been following her on Twitter and in some, some networks for awhile. And I, you know, I, I, I love to see the transitions that you’re making and you make them with such grace. So thank you. So tell us a little,

Speaker 3 (12:56):

Yes. There’s been so much, Oh, so much wandering in the wilderness, you know, when you don’t get that job, like, I’m like, ah, like the it’s like the floor falls out from under you and you’re just falling and you’re like, Oh my God, what am I going to do? I have no idea. So yeah. Um, there’s been so much just wandering around and like bumping into furniture, like, Oh, okay. Not that way. All right. Maybe we’re here like, Oh, okay. Not that either. Like maybe this way. Um, you know, just not really, not really sure which way to go. And I think there’s something there’s a lot of, you know, self-awareness is self knowledge and self power. And I think there’s a lot to, it’s kind of like having an onion, like you peel it away and you go, okay, who am I without this job that I thought I would get?

Speaker 3 (13:43):

Who am I without these academic values that I’ve been living with? You know, who I, you know, in academia, it’s a Lifeway. Um, who am I without this academic Lifeway? Um, who am I without my research? Ooh. Now it starts getting kind of painful and scary. But eventually I think there’s some core that you get to, I think you really do get to a core and you go, okay, like this is important to me. This other thing is important to me. And this is important to me. And sometimes people find that their actual values are not the ones that they were living in academic spaces. Like I think there’s sometimes a, um, an incongruency there. We’re not quite, you know, we think, you know, sometimes, I mean, I’ve heard people in very hushed tones tell me that they actually really hate teaching, you know? And we’re not supposed to, you’re not supposed to hate teaching.

Speaker 3 (14:32):

You’re supposed to love teaching. Cause everybody’s gushing about how much they love it. Yeah. And some people actually really don’t so yeah. Which is okay, like, it’s fine to admit that like you can be okay that way, but you know, it doesn’t feel like something, it feels like the taboo thing, you can’t really say like know everybody else loves their students. You’re like barely tolerating them, you know, but that’s a sign right. That you, your values are maybe different and that’s okay. Um, so I think you have to get really clear on kind of who you are and what you really want and what you really want. You know, it’s, it’s hard when like this academic life that you thought you would have that you’re like, Oh, but I want that still. Like, I really still just want that. Well, okay. Like what are the values?

Speaker 3 (15:19):

What are what’s underneath that? Like, what’s the emotional, how’s the word I used the other day, the emotional touchstone, like what’s the emotional core of that? Is it being recognized for excellence and expertise? Is it teaching maybe, you know, is it your research? Is it brain? Is it writing? You know, like what is the emotional core there? And I think you can get, although you still may have to say goodbye to this thing you really wanted. I think you can still get the emotional core of what you think you want in different ways. For me, like writing is like really that’s a key thing and that doesn’t actually, I don’t have to have an academic job to do that. I can, you know, there are all kinds of ways to do that. You can blog or you can, you know, do freelance journalism or you can write books or you can, you know, write for, I don’t know, you know, where you can still write your academic research.

Speaker 3 (16:10):

That’s fine. You can do that. You know, being recognized for expertise that doesn’t necessarily require an academic structure. So yeah, I th I think it’s important to recognize that, like, what are your emotional, what are the emotional cores of your, of this thing that you want? And, and if you can’t get them in the, in the way that you thought, how are you going to get them now? So that sort of moved me forward. Um, I’ve worked a lot of really weird jobs between 2015, 2018. At one point I went to a temp agency and that was, um, that was exciting. Um, you know, I went in and I was like, so I have a PhD, but I’m desperate. And I really, I need work. Like I don’t, I can’t find a paying job at this moment because everybody’s so freaked out about, about my PhD.

Speaker 3 (16:55):

And they were really lovely. They were like, what? Okay, here, let’s try it again. You know, but temp jobs are, it’s super viable. You can do. I mean, it’s fine. Like I was, I was doing data entry. Like, it, it, it was dumb. It was my numbing. Did it help me pay off some credit card bills? Yes. Um, and that was important. Did I buy groceries? Yes. That was important. And then also, you know, starting to get some new skills and being like, Oh right. Like I can do different kinds of work and you can kind of see yourself quite physically in this, in this other kind of office space. Right. Or in this industry or in this, this different kind of professional space. So I did that job. Then I had another job in which the requirements were, I don’t remember quite what they were, but they were looking for, it was a nonprofit that did victim advocacy.

Speaker 3 (17:44):

And they were looking for someone who had done service work, like peace Corps, AmeriCorps Vista, and spoke Spanish. And I was like, Oh, that’s me. And it was in the area I was looking. And I was like, okay, I’ll apply. And I did. And they were, um, and they hired me, but not before asking me, like, what does your PhD in history you have to do with anything that we do. And so this was like the million dollar answer was, you know, I have this PhD because I wanted to understand, I wanted to solve social problems and one to understand racism, I wanted to understand structural violence. I wanted to understand state violence. I wanted to understand a lot of different kinds of things, you know, and I think that’s what your organization does too. And suddenly, like that made sense to them. So I was working in crime victim advocacy.

Speaker 3 (18:30):

And so I was literally going out with law enforcement on crime scenes. And I was talking to people about the worst thing that had ever happened to them on a daily basis that would, you know, it was all different kinds of things. It was like sexual assault and it was, um, suicide and it was homicide and it was, um, domestic violence and it was burglary. And I mean, just all different kinds of things. It turned out that was like that that’s heavy work. Like that’s emotional, heavy lifting every day of your life. But that turned out to be actually really great training in things like crisis intervention. There’s also this rampant stereotype that PhDs have no people skills, you know, and here I was suddenly with these phenomenal people skills. So that was really great. And then through that job, I ended up going to Puerto Rico after the hurricane in 2017 and doing, working with the team on community mental health. And I got to Puerto Rico and it felt so familiar to me. And that was like, Ooh, like I have to get back to the part of the world that I really care about. So I quit that job. Pat put all my stuff in storage. And in 2018, I came to Mexico without like a really great plan. I had no plan actually

Speaker 4 (19:48):

To yourself. Now.

Speaker 3 (19:50):

I thought I had a plan. I had no plan, but what I did have, I had a vision. And so the vision was that I was in Latin America and I was teaching people about Latin American history in ways that were fun and profitable. I was like, I was picturing like, where I would live. This is starting to sound very Oprah, but this was it. And so what kind of work would I be doing? And I thought, Oh, I want to be creating these like critical learning engagements with people so they can learn about things that are happening in Latin America and waves that are kind of in ways that

Speaker 4 (20:23):

Are interactive in wages that are engaging in

Speaker 3 (20:25):

Ways that are experiential. And so I just kind of had that. I actually like typed it into word document, printed it out. It was stuck in my fridge. And I read it every day. And I think it was like June, a friend of mine sent me this job description for a study abroad director at central college. And I was like, what? Like, I don’t even these people I’ve, I’ve no in, I have, no, I I’ve never been to Iowa. I don’t know anything about it, but, but it’s, it’s in many of that, like I think this is, you know, I know it was like, Oh right. Cause, Oh, I forgot to mention, I had worked in study abroad as kind of a program assistant when I was doing my research in Guatemala. So I had some study abroad experience. So I sent in my application, I sent in a nice cover letter and I waited and they called me and a week later I had a job.

Speaker 3 (21:16):

That’s been the story of that, those couple of years. And it has been largely kind of my vision. Right. I was saying to someone the other day, I think vision is almost more important than planning because a plan, right. Implies like you’ve got like a trajectory or you’ve got like steps or you’ve got like a very particular way that you want to get to a thing. And sometimes the thing is kind of ambiguous, right. But there’s something really powerful about having that vision and a vision, I think gives you multiple ways forward. Like, you know, this, isn’t the only way that I could have gotten what I wanted that, um, path and that’s okay.

Speaker 1 (21:56):

You’re, you’re even in college, you know, you’re being trained for a job, right. And there’s probably one path in that direction. And how many students end up in actually what they majored in. I mean, those, those numbers are very low, but for PhDs in certain areas, there’s, there’s this one thing that we’re taught and we’re, you know, the it’s, it’s the path. That’s the interesting part. It’s the path that makes us more human and more interesting. And I really liked that idea of vision over planning, you know, which is, is funny because I wrote a book about faculty productivity, but yeah.

Speaker 3 (22:29):


Speaker 1 (22:30):

I can write it, but it’s hard to live it sometimes. Right. But when you’re planning, you’re planning toward a goal that you think you already know. Right. If you think you already have, but if it’s a vision, so many things can play into that, you can still find joy and contentment and satisfying, meaningful work that’s related to a vision. Even if whatever that plan was or that thing at the end of a plan, doesn’t turn out the way you thought it would.

Speaker 3 (22:54):

Yep. Exactly. So then of course COVID has crushed study abroad and that’s been really disappointing. Like just everyone I know who works in this industry is just then is either no longer employed or they’re furloughed or something has happened to them. So we had a meeting, my department, my whole study brought off as had a meeting. We were strongly recommended to get new jobs. So I was like, Oh no, because, and it was that thing again. Right. I was like, Oh no, but like my vision, like this is still what I want. Like, count my wait, like this isn’t supposed to be happening to me. So I thought, okay, like what now? Like, you know, how, where am I? Yeah, here we are again. So, you know, unfortunately the same, my first rodeo anymore. So I got very quiet and I thought, okay, like, what’s going to be important to me now.

Speaker 3 (23:45):

And I thought, I need to stay here. Like, I’m so tired of moving at this point in my life. I’m 45 this year. I just really long for some stability in my world there, I bought a house here, you know, anticipating I was going to be doing the central college job for many more years. So, um, I was like, yeah, I just want to live in my house. Like, that’s what I really want to do. You know? And places is always been a really important value to me. So I thought, I, don’t just the, the whole idea of like, Oh my God, packing up my stuff, getting a job in a new city that I don’t know, parachuting in looking for, looking for a place to live, like trying to make new friends. I was like, I’m exhausted by that. Like, I’m exhausted anyways, just because we’re all tired, but right. That’s just did not, Oh my God. Like every fiber of my being was like, don’t do it. No, no. At this point just now

Speaker 1 (24:40):

You need to listen to our bodies for those

Speaker 3 (24:44):

Like 10 years ago, I probably would have been like, well, gotta pack it up here and got to go, you know, find the next thing, but I just didn’t want to do that. So I thought, okay, I don’t want to do that. I want something, something I like to do. You know, that would be nice if it’s Latin America or if it’s, you know, something else. I don’t know what that looks like yet, but you know, something I care about and then, and what was the other thing? Oh. And then, and that paid more than I was making. So I was like, you know, that’s the, that’s the icing on the cake. So it was like, okay, like, you know, the vision I had is still kind of existing. It’s like, now it’s just going to shift a little bit in these different ways. So out of the blue, out of the clear blue sky, um, the corporation for digital scholarship got in touch and yeah, so I have a new job starting in January.

Speaker 1 (25:35):

Oh my gosh. I hadn’t seen that on Twitter yet.

Speaker 3 (25:39):

So, um, yes, I just signed the thing. So, you know, and that it’s remote so I can stay here. I can live in my house. It’s supporting these arterial project, which I’ve loved and used for years doing community outreach to bring that project to new groups of people or maybe, um, help people use it certain ways because you know, the citation versus non citation manager, flame Wars are always fun. So, um, there’s that, and I really loved kind of their open source ethos. I’d love, support. I’ve supported open source software projects for a long time. I like playing with stuff like that. So it’s something I like and care about. And, um, you know, what, what kind of, what are your salary requirements? And I said, you know, taking this huge running leap of faith, I was like, it’s this? And they said, okay. Oh my God, okay. Well, I seem to be developing this, this ability to pull things out of the sky by getting really clear. So that’s kind of the next step forward.

Speaker 1 (26:39):

Well, and it’s, it’s maybe less pulling out of the sky, but maybe, you know, kind of, I don’t want to say finally, but knowing your worth, this is a long process to develop all these wonderful skills that are unique, right? No, no one else has put together the skills that you’ve put together in the way that you can and being able to transfer that purpose and those skills into what seem like really different areas is a gift.

Speaker 3 (27:06):

You know, I feel really blessed to have a lot. I mean, it’s always been, you know, the academic stuff is kind of the, yeah, that’s the cherry on top, but really I have skills that have come from these different, all these different experiences I’ve had in life. And those have always been the things that have saved me and they’ve been so diverse that I can part parlay them. I can, I can sort of shift them into anything I really need them to be.

Speaker 1 (27:32):

So yeah. You were talking about writing as one of your values. And one of the things I like to do on, on the show is to think about what are your values and how do you live them? And one of the things that I know you’ve got you’ve offered in the past are writing retreats, right? You’ve been doing them virtually, and then you were doing them in Mexico was the pointed that I didn’t get to go, they’ll happen again. When the world settles, I’ll be down there. Awesome. A little bit of how that came about.

Speaker 3 (27:57):

Yeah. So that if I had to put, you know, I might add to my bio, like community builder, because that’s been really important to me, community for all kinds of different reasons. Like I’ve, I’ve building different kinds of communities has been really, really key for me and what I really love. So I S I thought, well, how do I help? I was doing academic editing for awhile, which is it’s intense. It’s not easy work. It’s very detailed. And it’s very custom and it’s very, um, it’s like just you and like somebody’s work. And you’re trying to be like, give them really good feedback. And, um, I like doing that kind of work, but I wanted to do something that felt a little bit more joyful and brought people together and created connection and community for people. And so I started doing just this little tiny thing on Twitter called shut up and write.

Speaker 3 (28:49):

And so I was like, Hey, everybody, I’m like gonna shut up and right. Are you going to shut up and write with me? And eventually it became like a big thing. People are like, Hey, are you going to do that thing again? I was like, yeah, I totally am. And it had an email list, like it was happening. And then like, just for all different kinds of reasons, I didn’t have time to do it, but I thought, Oh my God, you know what else I could do? I could actually bring people to Mexico, like physically, and we could just be here and we could bright. And it would be great because this city is wonderful and amazing. And so I’ve done two of them so far. And then the third one was going to be this year, but thanks. COVID so hopefully, you know, maybe 20, 21, if the world looks different than I’m hoping.

Speaker 3 (29:31):

So definitely 20, 22, the other thing I started doing the shut up and write kind of evolved into a, a longer online writing retreat. And I did it for the first time, a couple of years ago. And I think I had like 50 people participate. I mean, it was just mind blowing and what people got done was fabulous. They were like, Oh my God, I finished this. And I did this. And I feel really great. And like, it wasn’t just about helping. I mean, it was about helping people get writing done, but it was helping people feel good about getting their writing done. Cause that’s so often as the struggle. And so I eventually, I did it a couple more times and then somebody was like, you know what, I really need you to do this every month. So it’s become a monthly thing and I do it every single month.

Speaker 3 (30:16):

And so that’s really great. It seems like it’s been longer, but just last week, um, I launched my mighty network and so that’s, so that’s been really fantastic. It’s really, I’m looking to make it, the tagline on my website is more, more writing, greater joy, get inspired. Cause like, I feel like we, we talk so often about the struggle of writing, not so much about when it feels really great, but it’s the creative process, right. So yes, there’s struggle in it, but there’s a lot of joy in it too. So let’s talk about your good stuff too. So I’m super excited about that. That’s been really fun. There’s kind of daily, daily accountability. I’m doing my shut up and right there now I just did the first one yesterday and it was fantastic as always. So that was really excellent. And then, um, yeah, there’s going to be, I’m planning eventually, like, and it’s free, so I’m planning to make a great free thing. Um, and then eventually, you know, there’s probably going to be some, some way to monetize parts of it. So, but it’s been fantastic. People are like doing the thing. They’re like supporting each other. They’re cheering for each other, like it’s and people are getting stuff done. It’s great.

Speaker 1 (31:22):

The connection and the, the community that those listeners, if you’re not familiar with mighty networks, it’s a kind of a community building platform where you have discussion lists and you can do courses in there and you can do small groups and, um, events and things like that. So it’s a really cool platform. Check it out. I’ll put some links in the show notes to some, some great mighty networks and I’ll put the link this as well.

Speaker 3 (31:43):

Thank you. Oh my gosh. I love it because it’s not like literally it’s not Facebook, which I’m just every day that goes on. I’m like, Oh my God, Facebook is like the evil empire. I have to get away from this, but it’s really great because it’s, it really is just, you know, it’s a group of people who are just focused on one thing. There’s no like marketplace, there’s no selling, there’s no targeted ads. You know, we are, everybody is a valued community member. Nobody’s getting spammed, you know, there’s no, it’s just really a better platform for me. And I just really, it’s been a lot of fun.

Speaker 1 (32:15):

It sounds like it’s a great experience. So definitely check that out. Listeners. I think it’s her wrap it up today. What maybe is one thing based on kind of your journey and your experience that you wished women in higher ed or around higher ed who were kind of, you know, in that space of alt act, if we want to call it that are kind of, um, around higher ed in, in different ways, what’s one thing that you wish those women knew.

Speaker 3 (32:42):

I think I would say it’s pot. You can dream. I wish people would dream bigger because I think sometimes like a therapist of mine said this to me once she’s like, Lisa, have you ever, like, this is when I was like in an angst over like my lack of academic job and working all these crappy jobs. And I was like, Oh my God, like, what is even happening? And she’s, I was like, Oh my God, I just want an academic job desperately. And she was like, have you considered the possibility that, um, academia may actually be too small for you? And I was like, well, no, I had not. And that really blew my mind. So I mean like academia is slipped, little box. I mean, you know, it’s part of the world. It’s not the whole world. Like there is a much, much bigger world out there and I think it’s possible to get what you want, but I think you also have to be willing to sometimes step away from the thing that you thought you really wanted most to get what you really, really want.

Speaker 1 (33:45):

Yeah. And I think that’s the advice we give to students often, but the journey is more important than the end of it. But our training, it’s almost a little, cult-like how we’re trained. Right. And then she, just to, to remember that we can dream bigger that you don’t have to stay in that one place that you don’t have to because you were on the job market in this year. You don’t have to go to the one of these three cities because that’s where the job is, regardless of whether that would make you happy or not.

Speaker 3 (34:10):

Yeah. I mean, I think you just get really clear on what you need and what’s gonna make you happy and then you have a vision and then you start, you know, your steps forward, reflect that like, is this step going to get me closer to my vision? Yes or no. Ooh. Possibly not. Okay. I’m not going to do that. Is this step, even though it feels risky and scary. Yes. Here we go. And off go. Obviously you go. And every step you take towards your vision, you know, you’re bringing it into reality. I mean, I don’t think what I’m doing now would have been possible. The biggest flying leap I took was really moving to Mexico without a plan. But I think it took doing that to like bring the rest of the vision, you know, I had to be serious about it. Yeah. I had to, I had to show myself and the universe that I was serious and that, and I was,

Speaker 1 (34:58):

Well, thank you so much for joining us today. It was wonderful to chat with you finally.

Speaker 3 (35:02):

God, I’m so delighted to do this and I’m so excited about your podcast. It’s going to be great. Thank you so much. You’re so welcome. All right. Be well, take care. Right? Take care.

Speaker 2 (35:18):

Thanks for listening to this episode of the agile academic podcast for women in higher ed, to make sure you don’t miss an episode. Follow the show on Apple and Google podcasting apps and bookmark the show page where you’ll find show notes and a transcript with each episode, you’ll find the show at Rebecca Pope you’d like to recommend someone to interview, please just complete the contact form at the bottom of the page. Take care and stay well.

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