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    • #14775
      Jenny Livingston

      Friends with CF, or parents of children with CF…

      I’m curious what you do for work. Has CF influenced your career choice or ability to work (whether you’re the patient or the caregiver)? Because of CF, have you chosen a different path than you originally planned? Tell me about your work decisions or your career goals. I want to hear all about it! 

    • #14780
      Paul met Debbie

      Well, I am retired now, but I used to be a teacher at the university. I never cared much about money, status etc., but learning and teaching (they are the same actually, learning is teaching yourself) always attracted me. I went to law school because I like to play with language, and even while I was still doing my university study, I was also teaching as student-teacher. Which was very convenient, because I had to finance most of the education myself.

      Cf had its role in my career choice also, because I soon realized that I would not want to burden my body with a job that would have unlimited working hours and a lot of unpredictable stress. So when I had my law degree, I did not want to be in litigation as a lawyer, nor did I want to go into business. And because I wanted to keep learning and teaching, I became assistant professor at the university which was a great job. I also could have gone into law-making, but the teaching job felt a bit more dynamic, working with young people with flexible working hours.

      So, I got to teach and in between teaching trimesters I did scientific research mostly at home, which is reading and writing and publishing about it, and that allowed me to recover from the more exhausting teaching activities. In those months I could more or less create my own agenda and pace, provided I produced the right amount of research papers and get them published in the right legal journals. It was a very pleasant alternation between outgoing (teaching) and contemplative (research) activities and I did it with a lot of enthusiasm while it lasted. If I needed to be in hospital, I could always plan that in the research-semester or in a holiday, so I never missed a teaching group. And none of my colleagues or students ever knew I had cf, I didn’t find it important enough to tell them. It didn’t bother me, so why should I bother them with it? If they asked about an occasional coughing fit, they were happy to hear that I had a severe cold (when in fact I was munching antibiotics with an exacerbation, lol).

      Many of my colleagues after a while decided to become a judge or prosecutor or lawyer, those jobs all paid a lot better and they felt they had to “get ahead”. But since I didn’t care about that and I loved my job and my health, I stayed at the university until I had to retire because of my health. Which was fine too, because I always liked to do a lot of things and it allowed me to pay more attention to my piano playing and teaching, philosophy, poetry and most importantly walking and playing with our dog, chopping wood and carrying water.

      And my best time and energy I like to spend together with my wife Debbie, who is a painter and mindfulness teacher. You are welcome to pay a visit to our website to look at the beautiful paintings. And there is a lot more to enjoy all for free, even some in English. We still teach and play.


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