Today I received an e-mail from an old friend and in the address line it showed my e-mail address and then my name as he had saved it: Diane E. Curtis, MTS. I haven’t used my credentials in my signature or letterhead or LinkedIn profile – or anywhere – since I left academia five years ago.
So it was a shock to the system to see it there. I honestly don’t think about it that often anymore. Except for when the student loans are due, and then it’s not exactly a feeling of pride and accomplishment that washes over me.
But it got me thinking back to those days. The days when I was full of purpose, active in a vibrant scholarly community, and my expert opinions carried weight. Those three little letters certainly helped, I’m sure.
I’m in a completely different field now. One that, unfortunately, doesn’t seem to value intellectualism or high academic achievement. And that’s fine; it isn’t really required to be successful in marketing. A reasonably intelligent, educated person with creativity, imagination, and decent writing skills can do quite well. Not everyone has to be a professor!
But my trip down memory lane, thanks to my friend and the way he saved my contact info, has been good for me. It’s been an excellent reminder of all that I have achieved, the work that I have done, the time that I have not wasted – in spite of not quite being where I’d like to be in terms of my career. It’s been good for the ego, a kick from outside the feedback loop I sometimes feel I’m in now that I’m an independent consultant.
If you’ve done something in the past, really achieved something you worked hard for but you’re no longer directly applying to your life, and the memory of it has faded, I encourage you to resurrect it. I especially encourage it if you’re going through a difficult time or are in transition in your career and/or personal life and you need an extra boost.
Go through old pictures or documents from that time. Sit and remember. Meditate on how it made you feel then. Recapture some of that pride and enthusiasm. And maybe tack those credentials on to the end of your signature again, if only for a short while. It’s a great visual reminder of where you’ve been and how far you’ve come and what you’re still capable of doing.
And so I am (STILL) Diane E. Curtis, MTS.