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Honest Higher Ed Truths Part III

Job Searching

Job searching is such a pain. It’s a long, lengthy process with very little transparency. You apply, spend at least an hour on an application, and the worst that can happen isn’t a “no”, it’s nothing. It’s never hearing from a person again.

My biggest advice is to not compromise. Apply for jobs you want, not just ones that will build your resume, not just ones you qualify for, not just ones you could do for a few years. Apply for jobs you want to do.

I repeat: do not compromise. Don’t take a job to get your foot in the door (hint: it probably won’t work). Don’t take a support staff position so you can “gain skills” (hint: no one cares about your support skills). Just don’t. My story is real, it’s frustrating, it’s not linear, it doesn’t have a happy ending (yet).

Trailing and Leading Spouse

On top of just job searching for myself, I also need to consider my spouse. Most of my searches were regionally bound due to my husband’s stable job. He carried the benefits and most of …

Honest Higher Ed Truths Part II

Career Sustainability

I currently work in a position that is not part of a career ladder. I am considered support staff, so there is no clear path for me to make it to a “professional” position. Even if I were to be hired as an advisor, there is no path from there. You can be promoted to Senior Advisor, but (from what I can tell) there isn’t much difference.

Even if you work in a position that is part of a career ladder, that ladder gets considerably thinner (and harder to attain) as you move up. There is only one SSAO (maybe) at each institution, we all can’t be SSAOs, it just isn’t possible. When we make the choice to stay in higher ed, when we choose to take part in ladder climbing, we need to be very realistic about what that means.

We also need to understand that some people are going to leave student affairs, and that’s totally okay. Again, not all of us can be SSAOs.

The big problem is, when is our profession not sustainable? When are we educating too many professionals for too fe…

Honest Higher Ed Truths Part I

Sphere of Influence

I have trouble staying within my sphere of influence. It took me a very long time to realize I can only control my behavior (I really blame Daring Greatly for that one). My job is small, my actions, however, are not inconsequential. My actions affect my office suite, colleagues, and students. Being grumpy, unforthcoming, or rude doesn’t serve anyone. I can control my behavior, how I react to things, how I think about them, how I implement suggestions, and how my office operates. I can’t control much else. And that’s ok. Really. It is. Be a positive force in the universe, and others will appreciate you and want to work with you. That’s how you expand your sphere of influence.


Values

Say you believe that all gifts should be wrapped in shiny blue wrapping paper. You truly believe this. You act on it consistently, you’ve shared these beliefs, and you will continue with them. Some may say you value shiny blue wrapping paper.

Your employer, however, may believe that all g…

My #CSAM15 Story

I am not in student affairs. I have never worked professionally in student affairs. I have no experience on my resume in the student affairs category. I don’t know if I’ll ever work in student affairs. So, why, you may ask, am I posting about Careers in Student Affairs Month?

It’s a great question. A wonderful one, really. Sometimes I ask myself about why I call myself a student affairs professional often, sometimes multiple times a day, sometimes all the time. Sometimes I have other things on my mind and I don’t think about student affairs at all.

I think about student success. I think about that more than student affairs. I think about how we define student success, how we encourage success, how we measure success, how important success is, the milestones of success, and the headlines about success.

I think about silos, too. I think about how we silo people so that they can’t share resources, goals, or expectations. I think about how those silos affect our work with students, and eac…