Tag Archives: fulfilling work

Lessons Learned: Ecuador

Oh, my…it’s been a while.  So, gentle readers (those of you who might still be around), please forgive the random direction this post may take. I’ve kind of lost my knack. Writing is something that grows rusty when one’s out of practice, and I’m indeed far, far out there. It isn’t just the blog…I haven’t written in my journal once since we landed in Ecuador. I’ve written a few emails to very close friends and family, but only sparingly, and that’s been difficult. I’m not sure that not writing has been the best way to cope, but I cannot say we haven’t grown, or that I haven’t learned.

In any kind of humanitarian work, one of the most vital aspects is monitoring and evaluation, or M&E. I have a healthy relationship with this – it’s the part of the work I find the most valuable, and I have applied it to my professional and personal life without exception. Over the years M&E has become, depending on the organization, MEAL (monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning) or PMEL (planning, monitoring, evaluation and learning). The common denominator there, and something I find indispensable, is learning.  So let this post serve as my personal lessons learned workshop. You are invited. Coffee will be served.

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Turn and face the strange.

Some time ago, in the midst of one of my many (many) existential crises, I happened upon a series of books called The School of Life.  The premise of all these books is that sometimes the things we aren’t overtly taught via the many institutions to which we belong by choice, default or force, could really use some basic instruction.  Some titles include How To Connect with Nature, and How To Be Alone, as well as News: A User’s Manual.   One of the books proffered is How To Find Fulfilling Work, and whilst I have been engaged throughout much of my adult life in fulfilling work, at the time I found that book, I very much was not fulfillingly employed.

This, unfortunately, remains the case.

You see, whilst I do love language, and I do love teaching, I do not so much love teaching language.  I never envisaged teaching English; teaching English was something I never foresaw falling back on, and that happened to save my arse when I did indeed fall.

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