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 the bills for a while, so we needed to make sure my work complemented that.

During my last search I opened it up nationally, but before every application was submitted I checked job boards for my husband, checked real estate listings, and checked cost of living. Only after all of these were considered acceptable, did I apply. We had acceptable regions, where we knew people in the community and had agreed jobs that paid a certain amount would be financially sustainable.
Now that his degree program will be completed in December we’re in this weird place of not knowing what will happen. I’m learning to be ok with the unknown.

All Other Duties As Assigned

There are things I do that are nowhere near my job description, like clean the stinky fridge. Or, track construction projects. Or support three searches, while training a new staff member, new student workers, and a new chair of the department. No one said “hey, we’re going to make you do ALL THE THINGS in your job description at one time.” Probably because no one can see the future. But, I did it, because that’s my job. Because there will be unforeseen circumstances, changes, and duties that fall to no one else.

There are things that aren’t my job. I am not responsible for making faculty members happy or to cheer anyone up. It is not my job to clean other people’s offices, to baby sit, or to do… things. It’s hard to describe, but there are things that aren’t my job. I currently have the power to, very politely and constructively, say it’s not my job. There are things that aren’t your job. I hope you have a supervisor that allows you to say “no, that’s not my job”.


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