Career Path

Right now something that’s important at work is career paths. My title is seemingly part of a larger career ladder, but there is no official “career ladder”. I recently attended a meeting where someone from Human Resources claimed that it was being worked on. She also said that they were looking at careers here as a whole, not just as a linear line. She explained that people of my position may not go directly up the career ladder (whatever that is) but may climb through a network of different positions and responsibilities.

I appreciate that someone is thinking in terms of the big picture. Not all people who are staff assistants are really meant to be staff assistants in 15 years. Some want somewhere to go, new challenges, better pay. Some may be comfortable doing it for the next 20 years, and that’s a good thing because we all need competent assistants.

My career path hasn’t been much of a path, it’s been more like a jungle gym. I’ve gone piece to piece hoping that I’m on the right playground. First, I was an RA, and learned about this wonderful thing called Student Affairs Professionals and I decided I wanted to be one. So I went to grad school. While at grad school I participated in one Graduate Assistantship. That’s where I was tossed off the swings and onto something unknown. I was unemployed, and I hated it. I was then employed as a restaurant hostess, then became a server/waitress. Then I became a staff assistant. Now what?

My end goal is to work with veterans attending college. According to the job postings I need experience working with students in an advising or some type of hands-on capacity, which I totally understand. So, my next path should be something having to do with advising. Which is why a quote like this, which I’ve come across a few times, makes me frustrated: “Academic advising is no longer a stepping stone of a job. We want academic advisors to fill an academic advisor position. It all goes back to not being a generic applicant. You should be invested in the advising career path and that shows pretty quickly in a quality application package.” (From here)

I understand the need for people to be committed to a position or type of position. When I apply to a job I make a commitment to do that job. I don’t know if that’s how other people do it, but I don’t apply to jobs that I don’t want to do (or feel that I couldn’t bring myself to do). I will dedicate myself as much as possible to work in that job, but my end goal isn’t to be an academic advisor. It can be my current goal, it can be a future goal, but it’s (technically) not my end goal.


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