se·ren·i·ty

–noun

1.

the state or quality of being serene, calm, or tranquil; sereneness.

2.

(usually initial capital letter ) a title of honor, respect, or reverence, used in speaking of or to certain members of royalty (usually prec. by his, your, etc.).


Origin:
1400–50; late ME serenite < L serēnitās. See serene, -ity
—Related forms

o·ver·se·ren·i·ty, noun

—Synonyms
1. composure, calm, peacefulness, peace.

—Antonyms
1. agitation.

At the risk of providing dreaded and universally scorned too much information (TMI), I can say the shock that comes from being diagnosed with prostate cancer really puts life clearly into focus. For me, it set up a huge decision: surgery or radiation. I will spare you the details, other than to say I chose the former and found peace in the fact that I made a conclusive decision. I have never looked back. And best of all, I am living (preferably for quite some time) as a result of my decision.

The same is true with my recent decision to accept a generous and gratifying Graduate Teaching Fellowship offer from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication http://jcomm.uoregon.edu. This fall, I will begin my quest to receive a master’s degree in “Communication and Society” with an eye on the possibility of teaching the next generation of strategic communicators.

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There are incredible positives that come with this decision, and yet it was not an easy call. I have been laboring in the PR vineyards for nearly 30 years, in the public sector, with two trade associations (trees and chips…go figure), a publicly traded technology company and an international public relations firm. Continuing down this path either as an employee or serving as my own employer was definitely a consideration, but instead I made a decision to do something completely different.

The fact that I have made the decision has provided me with clarity. I know what I am doing. I know with certainty what is my new goal in life. And I answered this particular question: If I don’t take this step at 55-years-young, when the heck am I going to do it?

Heading north to Oregon, I know there is an excitement that comes from learning and teaching on a major college campus. I also know that I will be 2x the age of the average graduate student. Macht nichts!

One thing is certain: There are no guarantees. Will I be able to parlay an advanced degree and experience as a teacher’s assistant into a teaching position at the university level in two years? Only time will tell. I do know from experience that I enjoy teaching. I have been privileged to most recently serve as a substitute instructor of MBA candidates and undergraduate communications students at Santa Clara University http://www.scu.edu/, teaching both financial communications and integrated marketing.

Now I am devoting the vast majority of my attention to my $700,000+ business, namely upgrading, pricing, marketing and (hopefully) selling my Bay Area house. That is only half of the equation as I have to make a critical buy or rent decision in Eugene. The reason that I even raise this overall subject is that I know through experience that senior communicators can find serenity in this uncertain world through making a decision and living with that decision.

The job market is going to remain tough, but not impossible, for months to come. Greece, Spain, North Korea and who knows, maybe even Albania, will provide even greater impetus for those who want to oversell the market. But do any of these external considerations really make a difference when you know what you want to do and when you want to do it?

Isn’t there an Oregon company http://www.nike.com/nikeos/p/nike/language_select/ that extols: “Just Do It?” 

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