Full Time Employment vs. Contract Positions

 You’ve worked hard to build your portfolio and optimize your resume and LinkedIn profile to show off your instructional design skills and now you’re ready to land your first ID role. 

As you look through job postings on LinkedIn or other job boards, you begin seeing two types of roles. Many job listings are for full time positions and others are short term contracts. You see contract durations ranging from 3 months to several years. Some others may say contract to hire. You aren’t sure what this means exactly, but you’re beginning to wonder if you should give these jobs a shot or stick to full time positions. 

I’m going to be honest, I was where you are after completing the IDOL courses Academy’s 6th cohort in spring 2021. I made the decision (without any research) to dismiss contracts because I wanted stability, health insurance, and a W2 position. I only applied and networked for full time positions and I was able to secure...

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This Playwright Question Informs my ID Practice

 The class workshopped my play first. Professor Hood passed out copies, assigned parts, looked at me, and said, “For the rest of class, just take notes.” And then the class began to perform my piece.

Within the first few minutes, I determined my classmates didn’t know how to read. I clearly meant for this line to be said with anger, another one with relief. The discussion after the reading (me still silent) showed me they had all misread my theme and empathized with the wrong characters. 

Seeing me become increasingly frustrated, the professor brought the discussion to a close: “How well can the Work live without you, Mandy? As a playwright, you create the blueprint. But you can’t follow your work everywhere, making sure everyone interprets it correctly. The Work must live the way you intended without you. If you’re upset by the results of today, you have more work to do.” 

I imagine what Professor Hood put me through...

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Resumes: Defining and Refining with Feedback

I have hundreds of resumes that I’ve written, overhauled, and tailored over the years. So, revising my resume for a career shift isn’t entirely new to me. However, this time I’ve been able to do it with the support of a community. That has been a game-changer.

 

I’m a scrappy person (“resourceful,” as Dr. Robin exclaimed) who’s used to sifting through the internet in order to gather reputable sources of information and strong exemplars to emulate and use as inspiration. Thankfully, the learning and development community is full of people like me, and many of them embrace a cooperative, give-and-receive ethos. So, I didn’t have to rely solely on my scrappiness for my latest resume overhaul.

 

First, I went through the lessons and resume-related resources within the IDOL courses Academy. Then I took that draft to my peers in the Academy. Having founded an accountability group, consistently contributed to it, and built...

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Three Things I Learned From the IDOL courses Academy That Have Nothing To Do With Instructional Design

IDOL courses Academy has taught me much more than instructional design--and I’m not talking about anything found in the modules.  

  1. It’s good to be pushed out of your comfort zone once in a while.
    Gretchen Rubin says a key component of happiness is living in an atmosphere of growth. As a classroom teacher of nine years, I was comfortable and confident in my role. Yes, I learned new things all the time, but it was usually within my control whether I decided to learn a new technology tool or tackle a new-to-me novel study. The IDOL courses Academy has actually given me a new respect for all the students who sat in my classroom over the years. I had forgotten what it means to be totally out of my element, bombarded with new tools, ideas, techniques, and theories. It has been refreshing and eye-opening to experience this type of growth and learning again.

  2. You are never stuck in your career path.
    An English degree was never going to open a lot of doors for me,...
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The Rubric of Salary Negotiations

I find comfort in lists, which is how I managed my anxiety when I knew an offer was coming. I studied the job ad and listed how I met the qualifications (and then some). The list morphed into a rubric, which I am about to share with you.

But before I do, some prep items: 

1. Make a list of what you need and want in your next role.

Salary, hybrid or remote, benefits, time off, etc. Make sure to star your must-haves and note your nice-to-haves. Knowing these things guides your job hunt and the interview process

It also helps you navigate an offer. If they can’t meet the salary, maybe they can offer you more PTO or agree to have more remote days. Maybe they can pay for that professional development certification you’ve been eyeing. If you don’t ask, you won’t know. And having to come up with these compromises on the fly is hard.

 2. Make a list of what you’re walking away from!
The recruiter who made the offer for my current role began...

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When No One Answers Your ID Question

 When I started IDOL courses Academy in 2020, I was a mess. One particularly difficult day, my boss informed me that the Central Office was relocating my assignment. I had the rest of the day to pack up and prepare for the following instructional day (with triple the learners now). With my partner on disability and a child at home distance-learning, I couldn’t quit, so I spent the rest of the day moving and attempting to prep.

On the ride home, I had an epiphany about one of my Storyline assets. I began working as soon as I got there. I don’t even know if I ate or how long I was working. I just remember I eventually hit a roadblock and reached out to my mentor. 

And she didn’t respond. 

Individuals in trauma experience time differently because they’re in constant fight or flight. Additionally, as a neurodivergent individual, I struggle with abrupt stops like this, which explains why I spiraled into a panic attack. My vision narrowed. My...

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Mentor Reflections: 5 Lessons from my First Year as an IDOL Mentor

Career transitions can be scary. Sometimes you just need someone to guide you who’s been there, done that. I’ve made the career transition. I transitioned from teaching into instructional design. I can still remember all the feelings associated with a huge professional change - both good and bad. That’s why I can really speak to the importance of having someone in your corner to guide and support you while you walk down a new unfamiliar professional path. That’s where a mentor comes in.

 

In the IDOL courses Academy, the IDOL Mentor has a unique and vital role in the growth of the mentees in their group. IDOL Mentors are IDOL courses Academy Alumni who have achieved their IDOL goals and are now giving back by mentoring a group of aspiring Instructional Designers. Once a new cohort begins, mentees choose which IDOL Mentor is the right fit for them. They are encouraged to attend that mentor’s sessions throughout the cohort. 

 

IDOL...

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You Have Permission: To Make a Major Career Shift

For as long as I can remember I knew I would be a teacher. As the oldest in my family, I’ve always felt like that teacher trait was embedded into my DNA. Teaching came so naturally to me, and I loved it! No one was surprised when I pursued a degree in education after high school. Three months after I received my degree, I walked into my first year of teaching with the confidence of a twenty-year veteran. I felt unstoppable. 

Then, reality hit. I realized that there is more to teaching than you can see on the surface.The physical, mental, and emotional toll teaching takes on a person is tough. In a lot of ways, it felt like the deck was stacked against me before I ever started. It became clear early on that this job was not the forever career I had planned.

What followed was the process of changing my mindset, determining a new career path, and transitioning out of teaching. I had built my identity around my job as a teacher. It was who I was. It impacted the ways I...

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Do It Anyway: Crossing a Line

Hello. Let me introduce myself and imagine. I’m 41 and starting a new career path. I have no name, no title, just I’m 41 and changing careers. It seems like such a mountain to climb and everything I’ve known up to this point is now changing. If you’re reading this, maybe you are in the same boat. Plans are put on hold, and now every free moment is dedicated to this new thing in my life. If you think about it, it is sort of like coming home with a newborn baby. And the anxiety of doing everything right and needing to know everything all at once! It can be overwhelming. But, do you stop parenting? Heck no! You do it anyway because you love that drooly, little, big-eyed creature!

To give you an idea of what it is like to be 41 and changing careers, here I am sitting in my teeny tiny chair that feels like it is made for a small child. It’s uncomfortable but I’m here! The room is big and cold and full of space. The space is filled with content,...

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Doing it Messy - An IDOL Mentor’s First Portfolio

It’s human nature to compare ourselves to others, especially in new situations like the first week in the IDOL courses Academy. People can discourage it all they want. But when you haven’t found your personal mile markers, it’s far easier to look at someone else’s map.  

Here’s my current portfolio

Two years of polish and I still feel like it needs work. Just the other day someone pointed out a typo in my About section. But even with imperfections (that I see!), I'm proud of it and grateful I worked so hard to build it up.  

 

But if this is your first cohort, you’d be comparing yourself to the wrong map.

And that’s what I told my mentees this week. 

Here is my first portfolio

After eight weeks and one badge, this is what I had to show for it. 

This is how I got my first remote ID job.

It needs so much polish—and a facelift—but I am proud of Mandy 2020. 

 

I was in...

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