I recently came across the life lessons of the Chinese bamboo tree story. The story teaches about patience, faith, growth and development. As I reflected on this story, I felt we, as adjuncts, can learn a few lessons from this story to help us stay the course as we seek to transition to full time adjunctpreneurs© and make that money teaching online.
The Chinese bamboo tree grows to about 80 feet tall. Not only is an 80-foot bamboo tree amazing to look at it, but the most incredible thing is that the bamboo tree shoots up that 80 feet only in the last six weeks. Yes! In the last six weeks! Prior to that, the bamboo lies dormant for almost 5 years. Can you imagine that? It takes five years to see this exponential growth!
Becoming an Adjunctpreneur©: The Dormancy Period
In the 4 years and 48 weeks, the farmer still has to water and nurture the plant. He performs this duty faithfully without anything significant happening with the plant. He does not give up as he is aware that to reach that potential, he must stay on course and provide the essential ingredients, so the plant can realize this potential. Can you imagine if he became frustrated thinking his efforts were in vain, or became impatient and as a result uprooted the plant, or dug up the soil, or even just stopped watering and taking care of it? The potential to have an 80-foot bamboo tree would be lost.
Too many times I see group postings or hear from colleagues describe how they feel that they have exhausted all efforts to find an online adjunct position, employment with their school of choice, or transition fully to be an adjunctpreneur©. I hear that the CV has been “Babbified" (revamped), job leads subscribed to, application service utilized, mentors engaged, and the book read, but they have yet to see the fruits of these efforts. I sense fear, impatience, frustration in the comments and questions. It's normal to feel this way, but when these emotions surface, it is important to recognize that there is a preparation period to becoming an adjunctpreneur© and teaching online, which can take considerable effort.
It may take 4 years and 48 weeks to receive that first online teaching gig, or the dream online teaching job to be offered, but in the meantime, what are you doing to prepare? What are you doing to prepare, nourish and develop yourself? This dormancy period should be the opportunity to build knowledge, increase your network, research/publish, read, see what's trending in the industry and develop new skills.
Focus to Stay on Course
Just as it took time for the bamboo tree to reach that 80 feet, so too does it take time to see the fruits of your labor. The farmer had to nourish the plant, so it can develop a strong foundation, a root system capable of handling this enormous potential. Similarly, taking the time to learn new skills, increase your knowledge and prepare yourself during this dormancy period can better position yourself to maximize your potential beyond your expectations.
If you become impatient and do not persevere, whether it be continually revamping your CV or adding new skills to it, you may not be able to sustain yourself or handle the success once that "once in a lifetime” teaching opportunity comes.
Exponential Growth through Persistence
It is sometimes slow to show progress. It can be emotionally and financially draining. However, it can be definitely rewarding if you are persistent in your journey to becoming an adjunctpreneur©.
Excellence through persistence is my motto, and while I have not shot up to my 80 feet yet, I know its imminent. I am currently teaching at one school; my dream school, and I lecture/present clinical topics part-time. In the meantime, I keep on preparing during my dormancy period by consistently applying for additional online opportunities, networking, and building additional skills.
Don’t become discouraged during your dormancy period. Keep preparing to recognize your exponential growth! It’s all in the journey to becoming a successful adjunctpreuer©
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About the Author
Dr. Dhanraj received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from St Martin’s University and her Master’s in International Relations, graduating magna cum laude from Troy State University. She earned her doctorate with an emphasis in Organizational Management from Capella University.
Dr. Nicole B. Dhanraj is a radiology professional, working as the radiology administrator at Guam Memorial Hospital on the beautiful tropical island of Guam. Currently, when she is not saving the world one x-ray at a time, she spends her time as a researcher, writer, and an educator. She is dedicated to issues such poverty, entrepreneurship, environment sustainability, leadership, personal and business finance, women affairs and higher education growth. With her philosophy of knowledge is power, she seeks to empower others through her presentations and articles on topics related to these issues.