OU,  personal,  post-OU

An OU Farewell Transmission

As they say, some personal news. The OU has been offering a round of voluntary redundancy, which I decided to apply for, and have been accepted. I will therefore be leaving the OU after 29 years. However, I’m doing what in the UK is known as a “Nadine“, ie announcing my departure and then not actually leaving for ages. In order to meet various commitments I’m not actually leaving until June 2024. So that leaves you plenty of time to compose either a moving eulogy or just the right side of legal slur for my departure.

The reason for announcing it with soooooo much notice is that higher ed (and the OU in particular) works on long timeframes so I’m already in meetings where we’re discussing things for 2025. I forget who I’ve told and who I haven’t so just decided on doing a blanket notice here. I mean, not that it’s a big deal to anyone but me, but at least I can say “I did mention it” in the same way the Vogons provide clear notification of local planning.

Why am I leaving? It’s not for any reasons of discontent. I’ll write more about the OU (“All good things, all good things”) nearer the time as part of a 34 departure blog post series (I jest only slightly). Mainly it’s because it provides some financial cushion to explore a potential third act in my career before full retirement. I won’t be retiring but I won’t be seeking a new full time job either. Instead I intend to develop a project portfolio across a diverse client base ie, doing some bits and bobs for people for money. So nearer the time, if you have any suggestions for working together, let me know (I can’t take on anything prior to then).

I also have a growing list of self-interest projects I want to explore. These probably won’t generate money but they might be fun. I keep spewing out new ones daily, like Alan Partridge proposing TV shows to an exec. The fact that I am generating these ideas for my own entertainment is proof enough that the impending departure is allowing some creativity to flow.

The other reason I’m leaving is that I think I’m in danger of becoming that older academic I always disliked. In all institutions things are cyclical, and when I come around to the third or fourth iteration of some organisational review, that always ends the same way, I find myself rolling my eyes and muttering under my breath. It’s dangerous to stop caring sufficiently.

I’ll probably bore you all with posts on these factors later, so for now this is just the notification to ease my conscience and memory. The redundancy scheme at the OU went by the acronym of MARS, so as is my wont, I created a playlist riffing of MARS puns and also all the sorts of activities one might undertake in post-compulsory work (see me working hard not calling it retirement). Enjoy!

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  • Doug Belshaw

    What a great way to do it! Love the idea of a final act before retirement, and good for you to nip the cynicism in the bud. You’ve been, and will continue to be, a great ambassador for the OU 🙂

    • mweller

      Hi Chuck! No I don’t think we get a farewell tour – but mine would be largely complimentary, I’ve loved working at the OU (mostly)

  • Clint Lalonde

    Well, now who will I drag along to sport with me at conferences? Seriously, congratulations. 29 years is a solid chunk of time to have spent at one org, especially in this day and age. I can’t wait to see what your third act looks like. A weekly Cardiff Devils podcast? Side hustle selling Tielo approved chew sticks? This week in vinyl music blog? The future seems limitless with opportunities!

  • Simon Horrocks

    29 years must be about 147 Spurs managers, isn’t it? ‘La Longue Durée’ indeed!

    Hope to see you in Scotland on your farewell tour.

  • Jennifer Maddrell

    I just hopped onto your website to share the link with a student and saw this post. Prior to reading this post, my exact sentence within the email to my student in the lead-up to linking to your website was, “One of my absolute favorite scholars who writes extensively on the impacts of existing and emerging tech is Martin Weller.” For absolutely selfish reasons, I hope your writing and scholarship will continue long into the future. All the best in this time of transition!

  • Eric Likness

    I like that you included the WHOLE playlist for the MARS track. But you “buried the lede” so to speak. Japanese Breakfast for teh win! Found them on Spotify’s Discover Weekly (which I imbibe during lunch at work each day, Mondays, Tuesday’s and Wednesdays). Good luck, and I’m learning a lot from your various and sundry media outlets (podcasts, blogs and what have you). I’m up to 27 years at my local Uni, but still probably 10 years out before I leave.

    • mweller

      Of course it’s the whole playlist! Each one has a title relating to something I might do more in semi-retirement, so Paprika – cooking 🙂 Japanese Breakfast are great aren’t they? In case you haven’t come across it she wrote an interesting book, Crying in H Mart, about the death of her mother and growing up South Korean American

  • Alan+Levine

    Going to MARS are ya? I heard it’s nice there, Congrats Martin, well earned and cant wait to see the increased volume, frequency of blog posts and metaphors. And more time for dog walks!

    I’m fortunate and thankful for all the path crossing these internet things have enabled.

  • Virginia Power

    All the very best Martin for all you plan to do in the future – methinks this is not the last we have heard of the Wellerman!! You have been such an inspiration to me in the field of OER and I am grateful for your guidance and support.

  • Jim Groom

    I thought it was going to be more of “You’re not gonna have this edtechie to kick around any more!” But as usual you bring the self-deprecating grace and elegant humilty, and if you ever stop this here blog that’s what Ill miss the most. Congratulations, life after higher ed has it’s benefits—if only fewer meetings.

  • Gabriele Burian

    Gosh, that’s a blow. Feels like another piece of “my OU” being dismantled (ex student, BSc in Psych. and later the MA ODE – which is where i sat up and listened a lot to you 😉
    But it sounds like a good move – i can particularly relate to the notion of better leaving an organisation when one has seen it too many times and is at risk of not “sufficiently caring” anymore. BTW the Twitter metaphor made me laugh out loud. And BTW a blog I shared in my company ahead of the Brexit referendum (I am an EU citizen) still resonates years on. Will definitely be following and look forward to hearing what next. But thank you for being such an outstanding, thoughtful educator. Thank you for sharing expertise, wisdom, humour.

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