In early January I made a decision not to renew my contract with Ankabut the United Arab Emirates Advance Network for Research and Education where I have work since October 2010. My resignation will not take effect until October 2014. I wanted to give Ankabut time to find a replacement and I have a few important projects to complete.
Some people I know when they learned that I’m leaving asked the question; “What Happened? Did they not renew your contract, or are you unhappy with the organization, the money, the title or the boss?” The answer to all these questions is NO.
Ankabut is alive and well and they didn’t let me go. Is it money or title? Naturally I would like more money or a better title but it wasn’t a game changer. I am not unhappy with the organization or my boss and I must say he is good for Ankabut and we like each other. He is approachable, respects my opinion and has a good sense of humor. Do we disagree at times, of course but he will listen. In the end the CEO has to make the call and especially in this region.
I honestly believe I have done what I can for the organization and reached the goals I set when I started. I could continue doing the same thing for Ankabut but I need a new challenge. What that challenge is has not been decided but I can safely say retirement is not in my plans for another 5-7 years, if ever.
So what’s next? That is indeed the question that I am still pondering. My wife and I do like the UAE and have developed a number of very good relationships with the expat and Emirati communities over the years mostly in the field of education. There is always a possibility I may be offered a position in the region by an organization with education ties that would offer more responsibility and new challenges. It’s also possible I may start or co-found a company, which focuses on a variety of educational services for the region. I have always had an entrepreneurial side to me. I co-founded The Connected Learning Network, an e-learning services company in the US back in 1999. E-learning may an element of the company but would have a number of other services to support the education community. I see a great deal of potential in support or outsourcing educational services. If I go that direction I will want to have a partner(s) who have similar interests. The third option is to go back to the US and find a position, which would meet the responsibility and challenge needs. Unfortunately I don’t see that job existing near our home in Brown County Indiana. Perhaps Louisville our adopted home, Florida, Hawaii (why not), DC region or my alma mater Urbana University. We will see what the options are and make a decision then.
In the meantime these upcoming months will be busy. There are projects I need to complete which are important to Ankabut and its members. I’ll keep you posted on where I go from here as well as writing about education in the region.