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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

But what about the children?

I really didn't think it would happen. I had hoped for it to happen but at this point, I figured it just wasn't going to work out. Especially when I thought I completely bombed that last phone interview! You've guessed it. I have scored a job and the deal is verbally sealed!

Remember my posting about totally screwing up the interview? Or the one where I didn't have my light saber of skills ready? Or even when I said... "even if they call I'm not taking the on-campus"? Well.. I lied. HA!

Pretty much everyone goes through levels of self-doubt. I was concerned about not being ready for the next step - although I've been doing the level of work of someone who would be a level above me. I just lacked the confidence to believe that in myself. During this last and final campus visit I was ready! I even made a portfolio - WHICH by the way is a smart thing to do if you create a lot of things in your position. My portfolio consists of articles I've written that were accepted into publications, marketing materials I've created, assessment materials I've created, and presentations. It's a smart thing to have - Thanks for the tip, Kyle! I may not have used it.. but it kept my mind on the skills I possessed and gave me reassurance that, in the words of Rev. Jesse Jackson, "I AM SOMEBODY!"

The moment I accepted the negotiated terms of the offer (yeah.. salary negotiation is a scary thing all together too which could be a stand alone topic) I felt nervous and disoriented. Is this the right choice after 5 years? Will I be happy? What about all of the events, conferences, and activities I am currently working on? What about my colleagues? What about the friends I've made? What about the children?

What will happen to the students I've worked with all year? This really concerns me because it's going to be really hard on them to transition so quickly. Six weeks to move through all of this change? Will they receive the same or higher level of dedication to help them successful leaders and programmers? I'm not only leaving behind my student groups but also other student leaders that I've grown closer to - Resident Assistant, Multicultural Assistants, Students in the Activities and Involvement office, Office Assistants. Students who've grown accustomed to me always being here no matter how many times I've threatened to depart our fair city. And we can't forget the folks in the Dining Commons, maintenance and custodial staffs, people on my committees, classified staff, the list just goes on. There's a lot still buzzing about in my brain because it has year to even be 12 hours since I've said, "yes".

These relationships are important to me considering I'm such a relational person and had 5 years to develop those relationships. The connections I make are so vital that I want to make the transition as smooth as possible for both my sake and the sake of those I'm closest to. Just thinking about the group of friends I started this position with and leaving them makes me a little "emotional". It was like our own version of MTV's Real World. It's so intense!

Then I think of the opportunities before me. How exhilarating this will be. The newness. The freshness. The new challenges that will cause me stress out in the first year but become so "easy like Sunday morning". I'll be "the new guy". What's also exciting is that I'll no longer be working in a housing program. I'll actually be working in student activities!

So this is really "Where I wanna be" (to quote lyrics by Donnell Jones). I've been wanting to focus on student activities since I was in my first semester of graduate school. This is just another testament of "things always work out in the end" and while I may have to leave my students abruptly, there is something positive that can be drawn from the time we've spent together.

Good luck to all those who are job searching. Keep your light sabers handy and believe in and use "the Force". You'll be just fine.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Still Thinking of the 80/20

The hiring season is upon us.  

In the past several months I've been on a job search. What have I been searching for?  An escape from my current position or a step up into a new one?  The decision to job search when you're not having your hand forced is a tough one.  I'm sure many a student affairs professional has pondered when the right time to leave is.  I've been debating it for 2 years!  

I've been in this current position for 5 years now.  I like/love what I do.  It ebbs and flows, ya know.  Some days I think, "I have the greatest job on the planet!" and other times I have a hard time making it through a work week.  The latter is pretty rare.  

This time last year I was pretty certain that this current school year would be my last.  Man.. it's been tough to figure out what I want. I know what I want to do - work in student activities.  But what is it that I'm looking for in particular at a new institution?   I have it pretty good here.  I have a down to Earth supervisor, I get along with everyone in the department, I know tons of people on campus, I've cycled through an entire graduation class, I do well on my annual evaluations from peers and my supervisor, and I've garnered a reputation of respect, trust and achievement with staff and students.  

I've shared with close friends, my desires to conduct a job search.  While everyone is supportive, some have asked why do I want to leave if things are going so well.  I've thought about that myself.  After writing the first blog about the 80/20 rule I thought, "Wow, I have a close to 80% here and I'm off looking for that 20% and who knows if it'll even equal 80%."   If you've followed my blogs, you'll recall one from way back that talks about a student that came to talk to me about student organization "stuff". That conversation caused me to want to stay in my position for another year.   Yes, I'm in my 5th year here.  Yep, I'm pretty comfortable.  With that comfort comes the idea to "shake it up a bit".  I have an opportunity to "shake things up" for next year and change a couple of my duties - however, I haven't committed to this yet.  

I've gone on two campus interviews.  I didn't get either job.  One school hired an internal candidate.  The other hired someone who fit into their budget (at least that's what I gathered considering the type of conversation that was had with the Assoc. Dean).  I just interviewed with another school and that was probably not my best interview.  It was my birthday, I was on my cell phone for the interview and totally had my mind on other things.  The Light Saber was tucked away in the other suit that day! HA!  Even if by some chance I'm offered a second interview - I'm going to decline.  The pay simply isn't enough for the D.C. area.  This leads me to one other application.  It's an awesome opportunity.  A position that I can see myself fitting into just from the job description alone.  If this one doesn't work out - guess what?  I'll be here at UNLV doing a job that I enjoy.  

I really do think this university is a great fit for me for right now.  It's amazing how many people I've seen come and go for whatever reason - and I'm still here.  Longevity.  Now there's a word you don't hear from many people in the field.  Not until you reach a much higher level that is or if you work at an institution near or in the city you were raised.  

With that said.... I think I have 80% satisfaction for sure.  If it's this difficult to decide to leave, then there must be a whole helluva lot that keeps me vested.  

What makes YOU want to stay at your current institution? What's your percent of satisfaction that you feel you have in your current position?  

At any rate, here's to one more go 'round with the resume and to everyone finding their 80%!