Symposium on “Understanding Power”  Nov 18-19 in Barcelona:
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Life Works

Gary Gruber PhD.

I write down my thoughts and experiences from time to time, sometimes keep a journal, maintain a blog and use social media, mostly Twitter and LinkedIn, for a variety of purposes.  I have written several books, numerous articles, and have a web site that needs updating and refreshing, thus is on my to do list.  Until recently, about four years ago, I never considered myself a writer although I may have morphed into that activity out of the encouragement and support of others in my network of colleagues and friends.  I wrote columns and contributed to newsletters considering those part of my work.

Now, at this later stage of my career, having begun professionally in 1962, I have the luxury of working part time. I respond only to those invitations and projects that interest me most, often having to do with change and transition, whether in organizations or in individuals.   While change is an all-embracing topic, I consider myself a life-long learner who is still willing to change what I do or how I do it if I believe it will be better than what I was doing previously.  And, I stick to some “tried and true” practices as well.

I began working outside of home around age 10 when I set pins in a bowling alley. I always had jobs at home and still do!   I got my social security card and felt like a real grown-up worker guy. The Protestant work ethic was alive and well in our family from an early age onward.  Other jobs I had before I graduated from high school included working on the railroad in maintaining the tracks; being a grease monkey in my Dad’s auto dealership; helping my grandparents, one on a farm, the other in a general store in a small town; and being a camp counselor and cook for 300 Boy Scouts. Work in the college years included life guard; construction labor; and office experience.  Such a variety was most welcome especially as learning experiences and the pay was good too.

In 1959, I started driving buses and continued that through graduate school and beyond during summers, holidays and sometimes weekends. Most recently, because I enjoy driving vehicles of any kind, I accepted a job driving an airport shuttle from Santa Fe to Albuquerque two mornings a week. It’s fun and I meet all kinds of interesting people from all over the world.  None of these take away from my career as a teacher, administrator, leader and consultant.  If anything, they add a dimension of understanding and appreciation for the human condition.

I am deeply grateful for the immense opportunities that I have had to be an active participant in so many productive experiences.  My education contributed enormously to my career.  The K-12 journey followed by 4 years of undergraduate school, 7 years of two graduate programs in two different places resulted in 4 degrees and have all played their respective parts.

The privilege of being selected to lead several schools in their growth and development as principal or headmaster was only successful because of all those others who contributed to those experiences. It was truly a team effort.  Out of all of this came an invitation to serve as a consultant to both organizations and individuals that were considering transitions, significant growth and change.  I did that formally and professionally with a firm located in Boston, and I had the privilege of living in and working from Santa Fe although it required a fair amount of travel.  Now I do it on my own time when and where I choose.  I would not have dreamed of such even ten years ago but here we are.

What’s next as I look ahead?  I am in the midst of upgrading and refreshing my web site, continuing to learn more about technology and educational reforms, planning a few more writing projects, some more travel, and hopefully learning some Spanish this winter in Mexico. I also contribute to the professional development of others through seminars, workshops and symposia on several different topics.

On the personal front, we have downsized (see blog entitled “When Downsizing is Right Sizing: Why Less is More”) and we are very connected to our seven children, thirteen grandchildren and several siblings.  We just attended my 60th high school reunion and I realize even more how blessed I am with good health, energy and enthusiasm for living fully.  We are looking forward to having all our children and theirs together next summer in Vermont for one of our ongoing reunions and I might just interview some of them for their own stories.  What a tribe!