Independent Professionals, A Cross-Country Move, and More

The problem with setting goals is that – sometimes – life gets in the way.

I had planned to write a weekly post, then life happened.

Since the last post, I’ve moved to Florida, dealt with and finally resolved some sinus issues, am working through a shoulder injury, and launched a cool new program at work.

Working with Independent Instructors

For all intents and purposes, I’ve been an independent instructor (teaching, not gear) since I left Eugene, Oregon back in 2003. I affiliate with certain shops based on what I’m teaching and where I’m traveling, but most of the time I’m independent.

When I left, I’d assisted with what is probably one of the largest dive programs in the state at the University of Oregon, ran my own program at the neighboring community college, helped run a large (and growing) home school program, plus all of the various occasional private courses. I left as a PADI Master Instructor and Medic First Aid instructor with hundreds of certifications at all levels under my belt..

Based on the PADI pitch of being recognized globally, I figured this would mean I’d find a shop that would welcome me with open arms.

Unfortunately, reality was quite different. I got the “We teach to a higher standard” line from most of the shops in the town I moved to, yet when I’d volunteer to help, that wasn’t quite true.

I tried approaching shops from the angle that I’d bring students to them, I just needed a place to handle rental gear and pool logistics. I received the counter-offer of just sending my students to them to teach.

It’s not easy being an independent instructor, especially if you move away from the facility where you did your training.

Knowing this, it’s been a priority of mine to develop a program at work to help independent dive professionals.

After figuring out how everything would work behind the scenes, we rolled out our new program. I’d encourage you to check it out, but the big picture is we’re offering a discount to you on your gear, your students on their gear, and an in-store credit that’s based on your students purchases.

As with all internet marketing, things may change over time as we fine tune things, but this is a starting point I’m quite happy with.

A Cross Country Move

I’ve lived the majority of my life in Oregon with a couple brief periods out of state or country. I’ve skied the slopes, I’ve biked the trails, I’ve rafted the rivers, and I’ve drank the beer. Lots of delicious beer.

While I could have stayed in Oregon forever, my career needed a change of scenery. Somewhere I can dive caves and reefs in the same weekend. Somewhere with decent visibility so I can work on a new, fairly massive work project. Somewhere with more active divers than Oregon (although Oregon has a surprising amount).

So I packed up what little I own (I’ve been living in furnished places for the last five years) and headed east.

I’m now a happy resident of Orlando, Florida.

I’m close to DEMA every other year, an hour or two to a wide variety of diving (and snorkeling with manatees!), I finally have access to a major international airport, plus activities that will keep me busy for the next 20 years.

Sure, I could have picked somewhere a bit closer to diving, but this is dead center in the state, fairly hurricane proof (we don’t really get natural disasters in Oregon, so I’m a weenie), and it’s a nice perfect mix of everything I could want.

For all of my Florida readers, hit me up and let’s go diving!

Personal Health

While I’ve been accused of being a machine by those who can’t figure out how I’m posting on and responding to people on social media 18 hours a day, the reality is that I am human.

I’ve been dealing with intense sinus issues since Halloween with doctors being a bit clueless as to what’s going on. They sure do like to suggest antibiotics though!

After moving to Orlando, I saw a chiropractor who told me allergies are HUGE in Florida. A couple days later, some Claritin and Flonase in my system, and my sinuses are more clear than they’ve been in years.

So lesson learned: there are different allergens in different places. Who knew?

Unfortunately, as I cleared up my sinuses, I developed a shoulder injury. My doctor is fairly certain it’s a repetitive stress injury from being on the computer all day. Apparently some people call it “Mouse Shoulder” because it’s the side you use a computer mouse with.

So now I’m stretching and have built a standing desk with proper ergonomics, so hopefully this will clear up soon. It’s fine for recreational diving, but I’d be hard pressed to complete a valve shut down drill right now, so no caves at this point unless I switch everything over for sidemount.

My guess is that most of you reading this probably have a nice mix of non-computer time, but if you’re like me and stuck to the computer, be sure to stretch regularly. It’s much easier to prevent Mouse Shoulder than it is to fix it.

Awesome News

Between driving cross country and being unable to sleep because I couldn’t breathe or because my shoulder hurts, I have enough article outlines to last the next few months at my original planned rate of one a week.

If there’s anything in particular you’d like to learn about, please leave a comment below and I’ll be more than happy to build it into the schedule.

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