Most who know me know that I am very passionate about ISD. Many of those same people know how I became an instructional designer and why.
For those unaware, the short version of my story is that I discovered my love for ISD through the my work in hospitality management. I was provided opportunities to design training, implement training, develop others’ skills, etc. But I knew the hospitality industry was not my “forever home.” For instance, I cannot be cursed out and keep a straight face and admit that “the customer is always right” after the fact and, let’s face it, that’s a very special skill needed for that industry – especially management in that industry.
I realized that I enjoyed the training and development part of that job, and I started looking for training management jobs.
I wasn’t far into my search when I discovered a position that I had never heard of called “Instructional Systems Designer.” When I read the description it was EXACTLY what I wanted to do. The only catch was that it required a masters degree, which I did not have at the time. I immediately searched for this degree program, and when I found out that my Alma Mater (UCF) offered it I applied right away. I never gave it a second thought. I was 100%certain that it was what I wanted to do.
And here I am today, an instructional systems designer.
I usually tell some version of this story when I introduce myself. After dinner one evening this week, I was discussing my story with some colleagues when I had my realization…and I described it to them.
I have told this story to many people, but it wasn’t until this week that I realized this was the easiest decision I have ever made. It was also the fastest decision I have ever made.
I know, this sounds strange.
When it comes to business (especially in instructional design), I make decisions quickly and confidently. I can quickly assess a situation, draw conclusions, and make decisions…as is required in business. That is not to say I make rash decisions; I gather all necessary information through whatever means necessary and make decisions accordingly. Decisions are usually objective and based on good reason and rationale. This is a paradox as compared to when I am making a personal decision.
When it comes to personal decisions (such as graduate programs in this example), I usually weigh TOO many options and hem and haw quite a bit. I try to envision the outcome of all possible options. It’s classic paralysis by analysis — a term I learned from Johan Lehrer at a keynote address about his book How We Decide. Yes, even in the toothpaste aisle…and picking out a birthday card takes more time than I would like to admit. My personal decisions even sometimes become democratic ones (well, not the toothpaste and birthday card ones). I’ll ask my husband, my parents, my siblings, and a few friends what they think or what they would do.
I can remember the instant I realized ISD was what I wanted to do. It was free of second-guessing or hemming and hawing. It was unlike most of my personal decisions.
It was the easiest decision I ever made.
How did you decide on your industry or career path?