During my time at FGS in Birmingham, I attended several sessions and luncheons with a focus on making the decision to further my genealogical education. After giving it some thought, I’ve decided that I am going to start making preparations to eventually submit my application for certification.
I spoke to several of the educational vendors at FGS to determine what was available, and received some encouraging advice from genealogists who were already certified and some who are currently “on the clock.” While I was at the conference, I went ahead and purchased a few books I knew I would need (might I add that the ProGen book gets heavy when you have to lug it around all day?)
I already have most of the other recommended texts – Evidence Explained, The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy, and The BCG Genealogical Standards Manual. So at some point in the future when I decide it’s time to start taking some classes, I’m ready. If anyone has other recommendations, please let me know.
As I dragged my vacation-overdosed self into work Tuesday morning (re-entry is difficult, even with caffeine), a thought occurred to me: I really could get used to being on vacation all the time. But I digress.
I grabbed a cuppa coffee, sat down, turned on my computer, and reluctantly checked all the emails that had flooded my inbox while I was gone. I ran across one particular email that was probably the most perfectly-timed kick in the pants I’ve ever had.
It was a professional e-newsletter for paralegals (“The Paralegal Mentor”).* The author, Vicki Voisin, asked “Are you stuck in the ‘someday’ trap?” She goes on to discuss how letting “someday” be a part of your thinking makes it difficult to move your career forward and reach your life goals. Some of the examples she gave made my heart skip a beat:
* Someday you’ll sit for a certification exam.
* Someday you’ll attend a national convention.
* Someday you’ll take a few continuing education courses.
* Someday you’ll write an article for a professional journal.
I felt like she was talking directly to me. Seriously. And it kinda creeped me out a little. But it made sense. Why was I thinking about getting started ‘eventually’ or ‘someday’? If this is something I want to do, why shouldn’t I just go ahead and do it?
She wrapped up her article by telling me: “You have the ability to transform your career and your life beginning today. It’s up to you to make that happen and to stop waiting for someday.” Wow. Just wow.
So I decided to stop waiting for ‘someday’ and start TODAY. (And by today, I mean payday). My plan is to work through the National Genealogical Society’s Home Study Course. Upon completion of that, the plan is to attend an Institute (probably IGHR since it’s closest to home). Then I hope to get started with a ProGen Study Group. After I complete these items, I hope to feel confident enough to submit my application to BCG and get myself “on the clock.”
I’ve given myself a 2-1/2 year time frame to get to the application part of my plan. I would greatly appreciate any advice from those of you who have taken any of these courses as to whether that is a realistic time frame or if I’m just setting myself up for failure.
So I’ve put it out there. Now there’s a whole accountability thing happening. Yikes.
*Vicki Voisin, “The Paralegal Mentor”, delivers simple strategies for paralegals and other professionals to create success and satisfaction by setting goals and determining the direction they will take their careers.
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