In November 2002 I became a part-time lecturer in the Associate Faculty at the National College of Ireland. Just a month earlier I had taken voluntary redundancy from the e-Learning company SmartForce, and even though I had a very generous redundancy package in my pocket I was at a loss at the age of 43 as to what I would do after thirteen years working for the same company. A former colleague (DK) in SmartForce who had just begun a new job in NCI and contacted me to see if I was interested in some part-time work. I will be forever grateful for this contact - thank you DK! In just 5 months time I will have been working longer in NCI than in SmartForce.
In the dot com boom of the late 1990s and very early 2000s, I had never thought of leaving SmartForce. I had often regretted that I had not followed up on an academic career after graduating from Trinity with a PhD in 1988, but the money was good in SmartForce and I was very happy there. Things changed dramatically in the summer of 2002 when SmartForce was taken over by Skillsoft - in a short space of time I went from being a loyal company man to wanting to be the first out the door when redundancies were announced.
|National College of Ireland.|
Image source: www.ncirl.ie.
My first class in NCI was a guest lecture to 4th year BSc in Computing students - the topic was Groupware (I used Lotus Notes), and I remember preparing for it for several days beforehand. At the same time the College had just started a Diploma in e-Learning, and the opportunity presented itself for some part-time work. Bingo - I had my first classes. When a vacancy arose for an Assistant Lecturer position in the summer of 2003 I was successful in landing a permanent role. At last I had fulfilled an ambition for an academic career.
Today I had had dozens of "Likes" on my Linkedin profile - many thanks to the students and colleagues (past and present) who have "liked" my work anniversary. I have loved (almost) every minute of working in NCI. Today is Graduation Day at the College, and it is a very special day personally and professionally. My daughter Kate graduates along with the many students who have been in my classes over the past four years.
It has been a incredibly lucky 13 years for me.