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Become an IDOL 79: Instructional Design Resilience with Derek Dorsett

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Guest: Derek Dorsett

In this episode, I'll be chatting with Derek Dorsett, an Instructional Designer with LogicMonitor. Hear about his defining moment, higher education vs. corporate and the importance of a career roadmap. This was an episode to spark encouragement even in your struggles! 

Listen to this episode below: 

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Here's a little more info about Derek:

Derek is an Instructional Designer with international project management experience. He received a Master of Science (M.S) in Instructional Design and Educational Technology from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.  In 2016 Derek managed a team of educators in South Korea and trained the staff to use technology in the classroom which led to a notable increase in student engagement and retention. Derek has a passion for troubleshooting and innovation.

Connect with Derek:  LinkedIn 

Enjoy the Episode Transcript below:   

Robin Sargent  I have here with me today Derek Dorsett, and he is an instructional designer at LogicMonitor. But Derek, would you please do a better job of introducing yourself and just giving us your background and who you are?

Derek Dorsett  Sure. Well, I'm Derek Dorsett. And nice to meet you all. I'm based out of Austin, Texas. I grew up in Round Rock, Texas, and I have a bachelor's degree from UT Dallas in art and performance. Went and taught English in Korea, after that came back and studied social work a little bit and eventually found myself at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, studying instructional design and educational technology. And I've worked at a few different universities, and I currently work at a IT observability company in Austin called LogicMonitor. And we've seen a lot of growth in our industry. And I'm just really excited to be here and to talk with you, Robin, about resiliency and instructional design, things like that.

Robin Sargent  Yeah. And so I think it's such an interesting topic to talk about resiliency. And I think that probably Derek, you brought this up, because you have had to acknowledge the different places in your own journey. Where you've had to persist and be resilient. And I just, I want some story time. I want you to talk to me about it.

Derek Dorsett  Okay good. Yeah, it's my favorite thing. And so I'm going to tell you all. I'm going to omit some names, right, because I think it's important to maintain a sense of professionalism there. But I'll say that when I graduated, I got my bachelor's degree, and I moved to Korea to teach English. And Korea is known for having a really great technological infrastructure, like everybody has fast phones, the internet, it's world class. And when I was there, we were very traditional in the classroom. We were using chalkboards, we weren't using projectors or computers, we weren't leveraging technology in any way. And I was always kind of frustrated by that, because our goal is to keep the students engaged in learning. But we weren't doing that. And so fast forward a little bit. The seed got planted in my mind. I'd love to learn more about how to use technology in the classroom to help our students learn. And this is before I knew what instructional design was, and stuff like that. But it was a challenge, right? So I came back to America and I got enrolled. Eventually, I made it to Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, and I was working in a program. And I came across instructional design and educational technology. That was the degree. And I was like, I think I understand what educational technology is, but I don't really know what instructional design is. And then I got in the course. And the program. And one of our first assignments was to define what instructional design was, what we thought it was. And I learned a little bit about the history of it and how it came about. But all that is to say is that I had a professor, now my program only had two professors. And one of my professors was really difficult. And I noticed early on, and this is not to talk bad. But I learned early on the difference between theory and practice, right? Like, in theory, we say, this is the best that you could do. This is the best way that students learn. And then when you get into practice, it's like, do we really have time to implement this? Probably not. Sometimes we're doing patchwork here and it's like, they say drinking from a firehose is a pretty common term, or building the plane while we fly it, and stuff like that. So I had to become comfortable with that, and be agile so to speak. But anyway, I had a professor that, and this has been documented, actually retaliated against me. And when I was instructed in instructional design, and it was like, am I supposed to be doing this? You know what I mean? Like, I'm already seemingly making enemies here. And I don't know if it was me, or them, or whatever. But it was it was a block. Like it was a blocker for me. And I remember watching a video with Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates where they were talking about passion. And they were talking about how does that help you? Like, basically, Steve Jobs was saying that you're going to have to have passion for what you're doing. Because at some point, you're going to hit a wall. Like no matter what you're doing, you're going to hit a wall. And if you don't have passion, then you're going to do what normal sane people do, which is quit and try something else. Right? But if you really want to be innovative and push through, you're going to have to care about your craft. And I was fortunate because in my life, I didn't think my bachelor's degree was a very good choice after I graduated because I couldn't find you know, it was art and performance. So it was like, what am I going to do?

Robin Sargent  I mean I've been in that boat.

Derek Dorsett  A theater teacher or something like that. But it turns out that the courses that I took in graphic design, aid me in instructional design. And I actually at one point was a certified audio engineer, like I wanted to be a musician. And turns out that those skills translated to instructional design. So sometimes it's like, we don't know that the path that we're on is, is the path that we should be on. Right? Like the things that we've been through, the struggles that we've gone through. If we grow through them, we can use them as an opportunity to connect with people on a deeper, more meaningful level. And we can also take those experiences and say, I don't want that in my life. You know what I mean? Like we can learn from our bad managers, we can learn from our tough situations and say, I want to do a better job for the person that I am hoping to work with in the future. So I don't know, it feels like a really long answer to to the question you asked.

Robin Sargent  Oh no! I've got more questions. 

Derek Dorsett  Good.

Robin Sargent  So you and the professor, you guys are butting heads. I imagine Derek in the short time that we've had a chance to talk to each other, that you might have just been asking questions that irritated this professor. You had push back, is that what?

Derek Dorsett  Well who knows? Right? Like people are different. It could have been one thing or the other. They might have been having a bad month, or a year, or something. Or I reminded them of somebody. I mean, there's probably conscious and unconscious things going on. But for whatever reason, this person just did not like me. And what happened was, I had gotten straight A's in my courses.

Robin Sargent  Yeah.

Derek Dorsett  And then for this one particular professor, they always gave me a B. And I actually went in the course and had quantifiable evidence, like qualitative evidence to that I was studying. I mean, it upset me. So I actually, I challenged the grade they gave me. And they kicked me out of a job forum group that they had started. They blocked me. And so that was kind of like the moment where I knew that there's some drama there. And I feel bad talking about it. And I usually never bring it up. But it was such a defining factor for me. And I think it's important to be kind of transparent, especially like in this conversation we're having. Because my goal with meeting you is to hopefully communicate something to somebody and let them know, like, wow, I thought I was the only one that really had kind of an embarrassing backstory. But I just want people to know, like, you can have that and still be successful in this in this industry. Like you can push through, you know?

Robin Sargent  So what did you do? That's what I want to know! What was the push through? I mean, was it that you just kind of took the L or took the B I guess is what I mean?

Robin Sargent  Yeah.

Derek Dorsett  Yeah, yeah. Well, I did. But I went through I guess it's like the Title V or Title VII, I forget exactly what. I went through our university's political process to report that, because it was not right. And when I received the letter that said, Hey, we have found evidence that she did retaliate against you based on what you've submitted. And even though it's in the syllabus, we will not retaliate. We support this, you know, everybody knows that. Like, we hear it. And it's why some people don't report stuff. They're afraid. They don't want to lose their job, because even though it says on the document. But anyway, so I did and for what it's worth, I finished. I didn't finish with a 4.0 even though I really wanted it, and I worked hard. But I still graduated with I think I had like a 3.75 or something like that. It's still not bad. But it hurts. It hurts a little bit when you care about something and you know, you've worked hard on it, and you feel like maybe you're getting treated unfairly. As far as my relationship with her goes, I wish her the best. And I would even support my college like, I support the degree and everything that I got there. But yeah, it was it was a tough moment for me.

Robin Sargent  Yeah. So instead of you focusing on what was you getting your degree to go back to probably Korea or pursue this passion in educational technology, you hit this wall with this professor. And by the way, I've had a similar situation in my undergrad. I mean, mine was different, a different subject matter of female studying Bible, kind of male teacher situation. But I'm just saying. But you had to. It's almost like you were challenged. You were distracted from what you actually wanted to do, but only because you were committed to the profession. And really helping those students that you even bothered to go through the process. And not only that, like, really, Derek, when you think about it. You also helped future students that come along behind you because now that Professor realizes, Oh, I'm not going to get away with this type of behavior with future learners. So it's even beyond just you, about you following through that. Okay, so that was probably like one of the first challenges. But I know that's not the only one that you have encountered.

Derek Dorsett  No, I think one of the things that I really like to do is try to be informed, as much as possible. And I think we talked about this before we got on the recording. We talked about like, you have to have a passion for learning, right? Because this field is evolving, there are always going to be new tools. There are new theories, new ways of doing things. I mean. And if you don't stay sharp on it, like, it's going to be tough to be able to have those informed conversations. And what I get, where my confidence comes from. And I feel like I do have a certain level of confidence. It's because I've studied it, I've done it, and I've been involved with it. Like, if you want to talk about a theory or a tool. I may not be the best at it but I can have a conversation with anybody at it. And so I think it's just like, trying to be a Swiss army knife or something like that, right? Because I feel like in instructional design, what we're asked to do more than anything is help solve problems. Right? I mean problem solving. And based on what I understand in different learning theories is that's one of the more advanced skills to have. It's not enough just to remember. It's about knowing this stuff, but then applying it in a way that works. And look there's no such thing as being perfect in this field. That's why we have these feedback mechanisms. And that's why really, instructional design, to me isn't a circular process. It's about iterations. It's about getting better and better as we move forward.

Robin Sargent  I'm with you. I mean, you are preaching to the choir right here. I mean, that's exactly what I talk about all the time is just the importance of being able to solve problems. It's about the practice of instructional design, and applying what it is that we learned in those theories, most of all. All right, so you came back from Korea, you got your instructional design degree. Now I'm wondering like, what did it take for you to go and land your first instructional design job? What did that look like?

Derek Dorsett  Well let me tell you, I had a master's degree in instructional design, and I couldn't find a job. At first, this was back in let's see about 2017. And let's be clear instructional design has exploded in popularity in the last few years. I mean, back even in 2017, which wasn't that long ago. It was still different, like, the jobs were very specific. And they were kind of harder to find, at least for me. And maybe I wasn't looking at the right places, because I didn't know. I got kicked out of job forums, or whatever it is. Yeah, so I was working as a teacher's aide. Which you didn't even have to have a bachelor's degree to do at a middle school. And I finally got an interview for a university in the DFW area, Dallas Fort Worth. And at the time, the salary was, I think it was like, might have been like $42,000. But for me, it was like, Aaaa, this is so much money. I can't believe, even though like I have a whole lot of student loans. I'll say that. I won't get into numbers, but I have a lot. And being part of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness, I was like, okay, I can do 10 years. Maybe it'll be forgiven and stuff, and the benefits are good. Health insurance is good. Like, it felt good. So I got the job. And it was actually really great. In hindsight, you can complain about anything if you put your mind to it, right. Like, if I was selling ice cream, or I was a professional Ice Cream Taster, I would probably hate ice cream some days. But the place I went to they were really solid about the onboarding process. It wasn't just like, dive in and start trying to swim. They had a design for it. And I really appreciate that having been through what I've been through, but I got some certifications in quality matters. I got some certifications in just different stuff that really was important. Yeah, I mean, but the salary was fine. In Texas at the time, it wasn't too bad. I could afford a decent apartment. I could make a car payment. But that was the first gig. And I remember like really fighting for that one, and being super nervous, but trying to be authentic in the conversations. And, just some tips like remembering the people's names that you're interviewing with, right? And using it in the conversation, looking at them in the eyes and telling them how much you appreciate them taking the time to be with you. Kind of some soft skill stuff really. But also I think what they hired me on was mostly my potential at the time. Because I didn't have any formal instructional design experience, but I knew how to use it. Like I had built my own website. And I built that for branding purposes. I was like I need to learn HTML because I need to be able to post videos on there of trainings that I've done. You know, Camtasia or animation software or whatever. So that helped a lot having at least a starter portfolio. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have got hired without that. And so anyway, I don't know. I'm really grateful for it because once you get that first instructional design job, I really feel like you're off. You have arrived. And like there's no limit to where you can go on what you can do from there.

Robin Sargent  Yeah, so the hardest one is always the first one. It's always the first one. And then from there it's like, oh, you have experience. Oh, you've done this before. Then you get to be picky. Right?

Derek Dorsett  Right. Absolutely.

Robin Sargent  So I'll just describe a little bit for people who are not familiar. What does instructional design look like in the higher ed space?

Derek Dorsett  Well, for me. I think one of the things that you do a lot is you work with subject matter experts. And you do that in the corporate space as well. In the higher ed space, a lot of what I did was I managed learning management systems. Like Canvas, or Blackboard. I started out with Blackboard. And it was putting courses in order, and working with subject matter experts to identify what kind of assessments we wanted to create. What kind of resources we wanted to put together. And I was doing quality checks. And a lot of times they're different depending on who you're talking with, right? We use quality matters, but we used a modified version. But I've also done like, created animations, using Vyond. It used to be called Go Animate. Sometimes I would help design the whole course, and work through them to make sure that it aligns. Sometimes I would create these one off learning experiences for either hybrid situations, or totally online, or totally in person. So we call them our artifacts. Like creating artifacts. I think in the business world they call it collateral. Which is a newer term to me. Or deliverable sometimes in the theory world. But whatever you call it, right? It's this thing that you have to create for them. So just getting more comfortable with those tools, things like that. That's been primarily what I have done in the higher ed space.

Robin Sargent  Okay, and so then you were in your higher ed space. And so did you stay kind of along that trajectory for a while? Because I know you're in corporate now. You're working for LogicMonitor. And I'm just curious, like where did your journey go after that? Did you stay in higher ed? Or?

Derek Dorsett  Well, yeah. So, my first job I think I've said it was like 42, or 48, or something. And then I had gotten an interview at a school that I had been wanting to work at for a long time. Like as a kid, I grew up kind of idolizing the school. And, and the pay was in the 60s. And I was like, oh man, I struck, you know? And I left my first job after about a year. And I think we talked about this too, like this idea of job hopping and stuff. And so like, if you look at my resume. You'll see that I've worked at quite a few different places. But I think a lot of the data suggests that people sometimes in the companies, there's not a lot of upward mobility. You're going to be stuck in that position for a long time. And maybe you want a salary increase. Maybe your skills have gotten better. And so for me, when I was job hopping. It was about an opportunity. Improving my net worth, right? Like a 10% salary increase that my current company didn't want to negotiate with me. But this other company really likes me, and I'd be doing something a little bit more. Responsibilities and stuff, but that's what I was craving. So yeah. Like this last job. I was working at a university. It was fully remote, even without COVID. And it was a fantastic job, like the people there were great. But I wanted some benefits that they weren't willing to negotiate with me. And so I kind of took a leap of faith. And was like, you know what, I'm gonna put in my two weeks notice because I know I need to move on. And I was terrified. Because actually about a week into it I reached out to him and was like, I think I made a mistake. Please let me stay. And they didn't, they said no. You know what it worked out, because I'm going to tell you, and I won't give you specific numbers. But I'm making about twice as much money in corporate America than I was in higher education. Now, the benefits are a little bit different. But the timing couldn't have been better, because everything costs more, right? Like, I mean eggs. Like we're talking about eggs now. It's kind of crazy. But yeah. And so with that, I really like corporate America. A lot more, because it's very results driven. And if you do well, people will notice. And if you don't, you're not going to stick around for very long. I felt like kinda in the public sector, and good on them for being able to do this. But like you can be at your job, and just not care about it. And make a career out of it really. I see that pretty frequently. And that's not to talk bad about higher education. Like, if given the right opportunity, I'd go back into higher education because I really love helping students learn. I loved working with the subject matter experts, like people who've gotten PhDs, and have a passion for learning. I'm totally on board with that. But every person has their own approach to it. And I mean, for me, I couldn't have jumped straight into corporate America. Like it wouldn't have worked for me. I tried. And so they took a chance on me at a higher ed place. And then from there, maybe the pay wasn't great at the time. But I was able to leverage that, and move forward into a job that I really appreciate. And that you couldn't have gotten there any other way I don't think.

Robin Sargent  Yeah, it was like you had to be incubated. You may have not made a lot of money, but you're basically getting paid the practice of instructional design, because before you just had a little bit of experience teaching Korea, and then you had your master's degree, which we know, master's degrees are not really practical, in a lot of ways. And so that's yeah, you're just you're getting you're in your training ground type of theory. And so I imagine that you, I mean, you've already kind of touched on it. But I just wonder what kind of are the differences that you've noticed between corporate and higher education. And I'm sure that even if talking about how corporate requires results, and they acknowledge whether your results are, are good or bad, but I imagine that you also need more resilience in corporate, and I'd like to hear you talk about that.

Derek Dorsett  It's tougher, it's a little bit the conversations are tougher, because people are, they don't sugarcoat it. And especially when in what do I work in sales. So it's like, everybody's an alpha. And everybody's like, The Wolf of Wall Street. And it's just like hungry, hungry, hungry, and I get it, and I like it. You know, because I like our product. I care about the product that we're selling, I know, it's a good deal. And these people if they're not jerks, but they're very, like, time is money. So we need to talk about this. And we need to talk about it now. And, and it's one of the things I learned is in this is from error, right? I was working as a grad student, a teacher is like a grad research assistant or something like that. Yeah. And I had, I was coming upon a deadline, and I didn't know, like, I was ashamed about it, like, oh, I should have hit that deadline. And oh, it means I'm a bad person or whatever, right? I didn't realize that deadlines can be moved. But you have to communicate with your people about it. Right? Like I was afraid, timid about it. And I had to learn, like, like some things happen, like projects are gonna people get sick, emergencies happen, people get fired, get hired all kinds of things, you know, so just being an open and honest communicator, you know, say what you mean, but don't say it mean, right, be professional.

So it's like the art of negotiation, you know, how do you negotiate with people who know how to negotiate well as as well. So there's a lot of soft skills involved in that I think, I wasn't so afraid of that. I feel like in higher education, because I really felt secure in my job, you know, whether I was super proficient at it or not, I felt like I was still going to have a job there for a while if I wanted it. But in corporate America, it's like, you got a few quarters to do what you need to do. And if not, we'll see you later, look somewhere else. It's other sort of pressure there. But it's all good. You know, I love my job. Now. I think it's great. I love the people I work with, I can see an impact right away. And yeah, I'm thankful for for sure.

Robin Sargent  That's true, that is certainly a difference, right? Because you might create a course for the university, and you think you've gotten it all right. And then you have to wait a whole semester to maybe get some and of course surveys, but really you don't actually, that doesn't tell you a lot because you don't know, they can actually use this information in the career that they're going to move into probably for three years down the road. Let's incorporate I mean, just like you said earlier, it's a it's a results driven. But that even includes, especially if it's for sales enablement, like those numbers better be moving up for their salespeople. Or, I mean, you just some, you're just gonna feel the heat. I think that's right, is the way to put it. And so what are some of the I mean, I know that you have talked about just negotiations and things like that and corporate, but obviously, you get, I mean, you get paid for more of the pressure cooker that you're in, I just wonder what are some of those other challenges that you run into along the way, where you've had to push through and overcome and really just, I mean, talk to people about who are new to this industry about the type of resilience that they need and what that looks like in corporate.

Derek Dorsett  I would say like, some of the things that I've done in my career to try to, I'm a certification collector, like I have a MicroMasters in design I'm thinking from edX university right and, and I had no idea really what design thinking was until I got into it. But I can just tell you, it's such a complementary skill set to have with instructional design, because it was the first time where I really started considering, who am I building the product for? Right, like a lot of times I build a course or build a product. And in my mind, I think I'm like, I'm building it for students. But I'm like, I'm trying to solve problems that I think are, are my problems with learning. Instead of getting into this, this persona, like the first time I came across the idea of a persona, was through design thinking. And the first time I came across like ideation was through design thinking. So once I had that conversation, it made me a more competent, professional. And like, currently, I'm working on project management certification through Coursera. And trying to get become better at project management, because what I've run into is run into is like, disorganization. And I feel like being disorganized is the killer of of any industry that you're in. Like, if you don't know what's going on, and you don't have a roadmap, and you don't know, like what you're working towards, or what's needed to be done in this project, it's gonna kill you. And some people, they have the greatest intentions in the world, and they have a lot of experience, but maybe they they really don't know what best practice looks like, or they've never had a mentor, or they've never had a place that they can go to and communicate with others who are working towards the same goal. And so I've worked with people in positions of authority, that, you know, there's complex power dynamics, sometimes they're in that position, because they were really good in this other part of this, but they don't really know, learning design, or what that looks like. And that's a challenge is how do you negotiate with them, you know, they, they're, they're so used to going off their gut. And it's been super great. It's been great for them. And it's not something to be like, ignored. But at some point, we have to have a conversation about the difference between an opinion and like best practice, or your gut, and what's really going on, and they're in theirs. And that's where the negotiation comes, because you have to be delicate about it. You can't be like, hey, what you're saying doesn't make any sense. And we're doing it wrong. You're not gonna win a lot of friends doing that, right? But you do have to be authentic and say, Hey, can we try this new idea or try to get advocates in your corner? I think that that's a big deal. Like if you can get one of the concepts we were just talking about, it's like having a coalition, a small group of people that you can talk to that have the same ideas in order to approach maybe somebody on a higher level to initiate change. So yeah, I mean, I don't know. It's just it's an ongoing thing. I read this book by Chris Voss, it was like, how to negotiate as if your life depends on it. He was a hostage negotiator. Fantastic, fantastic game changer. And that's been super helpful for me just little stuff like that little just trying to improve myself, you know, seeing where am I at? Where do I want to be? And working towards that?

Robin Sargent  I think that's kind of what leads us to maybe mentioning that, yes, in our work, we need a roadmap and those kinds of things. But what about the roadmap for our career, just kind of hearing you talk about your experience in those certification hoarding that you've been doing, Derek, it's almost as if you have planned out a career roadmap, and you're starting to think about okay, well, as you run into challenges, the resilience comes in. If I run into this challenge, is there a place where my skills are lacking? Or my abilities? Or is there some kind of knowledge that I'm missing? And it sounds like, at every single one of those junctions, Eric, you're like, oh, maybe if I didn't know that I could change my deadlines, then maybe what I'm missing is some negotiation skills or communication skills, and then you just went out and you learned and you improved on those things. And I think that's a great thing to point out as far as resilience goes, is that it's not only just like, pushing through the challenge, but assessing well, how can I improve to keep moving forward, which is exactly what it sounds like that you've been doing?

Derek Dorsett  Yeah, I think it's, I mean, because there's different things that we can use to our advantage. Like some people, like even sports athletes, they have like performance psychologists, they talk to you right, like, so then we start talking about what kind of support do we have? Is there support at home that we have like maybe our family, what they used to say, What's your why? Like, why are you doing this? Are you doing this for yourself? Do you have a vendetta and you want to show people how awesome you are? Is it because you care about it? You want your kids to see you doing something or your you know, your family member? Are you Is it a faith based thing, whatever it is right that pushes you forward? I think if you check in on that frequently and see where am I at in relation to the Y that I started out with? It will help you. You know what I mean? And I think that yeah, sometimes, like I do I do self evaluations, where am I, you know, almost like an inventory kind of like, where am I showing up? How am I showing up in this situation? Like, do I have resentments against people? Do I? Am I Am I being unprofessional? In this way? Where can I grow? And like, what's my mood today? Why am I why am I having a bad day? When you know what I mean? So, not to get too like guru ish into it. But I think for me, there's, there's because there's a lot of factors that play into it. emotional factors, spiritual factors, psychological factors, how we handle stress, like stress is the silent killer, right? It's a big deal. How are we handling it? You know, are we are we are we taking care of ourselves? Are we getting the sleep that we need, you know, whatever it is. And so we look for support. That's why having a good group of people that you can trust is really invaluable. Like, if you have somebody in your corner that's rooting for you. I mean, I feel like you can do this, like, there's nothing you can't do. Maybe that's like super pie in the sky. But it happens.

Robin Sargent  I believe, I'm with you. I'm all about community and networking and finding those places of support. And so I got really my interest really piqued when you said something about doing a self evaluation. Is it formal at all? Do you have a method or a Foursquare thing on your paper?

Derek Dorsett  Well, it's one of those things like I think if you go to sleep at night, and you're thinking about some over and over again, you wake up, and it's the first thing on your mind, it kind of you do a little gut check, like, what's up with this? Like, why am I thinking about this? Why is this a problem? Then to me, it's almost like you gotta have somebody you can talk to maybe it's a mentor, or spiritual advisor, or coach, or psychologist, psychiatrist, a friend, somebody who's who's got your best interests in mind. And just, sometimes it's good just to have a soundboard that you can bounce things off of, like, Hey, I've been super resentful at this person for XYZ. And they're like, Well, did you what's your part in it? You know, I mean, because I walk around, and I'm like, well, this person did this to me, or that I play a role and all the problems I have, it seems at least partially. And so it's just kind of like, Okay, where am I at work? For me, you know, and I have a faith like it, each person has their own pathway. It's not for me to tell you what you should believe in or anything, but I have a faith. And I check in on that. Sometimes it's like, okay, how am I showing up? According to what I really believe, right? Like, was the golden rule, treat others how you wish to be treated? Something like that? I don't know. It's not perfect. I have bad days. But at the end of the day, a big part of what we do is building relationships. Like we make money and stuff. But if you can make a connection with somebody. How important is that? You know what I mean? It's big deal. Yeah, like us. We just met today and already feel more connected to you just by having this honest conversation?

Robin Sargent  Yeah, I know you're gonna be able to reach out to me, anytime. And that's so true. Even I think a lot of what we talk about instructional design is we talk about the work and the tools and the process and all those kinds of things. But I think just like you've mentioned a couple of times, there, it's a lot of it is in the soft parts that that are that are squishy and, and hard to define, like, building relationships, not stepping on people's egos, which is why they think people have you know, pretty big egos no matter which field you go into, but especially in corporate and probably more so in sales, like when you said like, they're all full of alphas or whatever, even whenever you want to go and you want to be a freelancer? Well, in order to be a freelancer, you have to be able to build relationships and connections in order to get the business on down the road. And a lot of that starts in the job that you are currently in. And so I've just loved hearing you talk about like, some of the things that were important to you or reading the book, like about negotiation, and now you're learning project management and some of those other things. So what do you think are some of those? I mean, if we were to list some of the soft skills that we think are important in our type of role, what do you think he would say those are?

Derek Dorsett  I would say conflict resolution. You know, I don't know. Like how do we take criticism without taking personally right because my status if you give me criticism might my first go to is an emotional response almost like defense too, but there's a way that it can be done in a really productive way. And honestly, it's necessary because I don't know everything. So I would say just being able to, to stay patient with people, patients, learning how to to cope with strong emotional responses. I'm not saying shove it down. But there's, there's probably a healthy way to let it out right into maybe be able to pause. Sometimes it's taking a break for a second and be like, You know what? Let's take it. Let's take a minute and let me get back to you tomorrow or something. Or let me let me think about this and get back to you. Because you don't always have to have the answer right now. It feels like you do, or at least it does for me. But it's okay to say you know what? This problem is going to be here tomorrow, let's take a beat. And let's talk about it tomorrow, once we get some sleep or food or whatever. So, yeah, I don't know, some of the soft skills, right?

Robin Sargent  Yeah. And we said, I think those are all great, soft skills. And then what are some of the so you've run into a lot of challenges. So I just want to know, is there anything that you kind of have on your heart there that you'd want to share about your best advice to those that are new to our industry and are looking to become instructional designers? What you're seeing out there from what do you want to tell them?

Derek Dorsett  I'd say just look at what other people are doing. Have conversations with them, find out what you like about it. I mean, see if there's a skill that they've got, that's been a game changer. Ask them. What's a book that you read that changed your life? You know what I mean? They might tell you something, you'd be like, Wow, I had no idea that that that was such a big deal. But I would just stay a stay, stay teachable, stay open minded. And that'll take you a long way.

Robin Sargent  I just, I've really just enjoyed just hearing from you, Derek, and your and your own stories. Is there any other last bit of things, or resources or things that have really helped you on your journey that you want to point out? And where can people find you?

Derek Dorsett  Yeah, well, I'm on LinkedIn. If you ever have any questions, feel free to reach out to me, but I would say, just stay hungry to keep looking. There's a lot of resources out there. YouTube is a great resource for learning how to do just about anything. I don't know collect certifications if you want, but they can be a little expensive, but there's you know, just keep looking for different learning opportunities. Learn about everything that you can, and make sure you take care of yourself to write self care is super important, especially with resiliency, you know, so, yeah, it's fun. Mostly fun. So enjoy yourself too. You know, when you can.

Robin Sargent  I love it. Thank you so much. Derek. I really enjoyed our conversation. Thanks for being on though become an aisle podcast.

Derek Dorsett  Yeah, I appreciate you. Thank you so much. 

Thank you so much for reading the show notes for this episode.  If you enjoyed this episode, you may like:

Masters vs. Certificates for New Instructional Designers with Rebecca Hogue

Abundance in Instruction Design with Kim Tuohy

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