Moves like Jagger… developing the moves that keep you relevant!
EACE Blog contribution by Beverly T. Lorig, Interim Director at Wellesley College
It is encouraging to see the active discussions reflecting the demands on higher education and the shifting fundamentals in our professions.
Are you developing the knowledge, skills and attributes that will enhance your role both within your institution and the profession?
I recommend you read the latest article by Manny Contomanolis, RIT, @contomanolis and Trudy Steinfeld, NYU @nyuwasserboss The New Breed of Career Services Professional: What’s in the Secret Sauce of Success? I’ll take this moment to add my own twist to some their excellent observations.
Lead and embrace change but be patient. Relax. Loosen up and let the creative talents of your team introduce the wacky and wonderful program ideas and marketing campaigns. Transforming career service or campus culture includes bumps and detours along the way. Support the team through regular communication and encouragement. Change doesn’t follow a straight path!
Read. Be knowledgeable of the global trends influencing industries, jobs, and future opportunities for our graduates. Develop an understanding of many fields but develop a depth in your particular areas of interest or assignment. Engage in discussions with faculty and colleagues. Engage with alumni to learn first-hand the nuances of jobs and leaders in the industries.
Evaluate the programs/services in terms of the “time on task” required to implement each program. What is the return on the investment? It may be time to get rid of the traditional Career Week that saps the energy of your team but basically ignored by students.
Free your team from the drudgery of programs that don’t contribute toward the mission. Preserve time for new creative collaboration.
Stop sending emails. Get out of your office. Start talking by phone or in person. Meet faculty for lunch conversations about their students and graduates. Create value and develop confidence in your programs. Provide resources, data, and invitations to departments when alumni and employers are on campus. Educating faculty and deans enhances their effectiveness with potential majors and parents. Visit alumni and join in the LinkedIn conversations.
Develop your reputation as a confident and thoughtful professional who is a valued contributor. Listen. Volunteer on committees and projects beyond your direct role and responsibilities. Appreciate the perspectives of others. Gain experience and develop skills through professional organizations, such as EACE, while enhancing your network of trusted colleagues.
Seek the insights and support from your colleagues or leaders in the profession. We are in a time of rapid change and uncertainty for both colleges and employers. The wisdom from a trusted colleague can change your perspective, reduce your stress and, perhaps, alert you to potential trouble on the horizon. Take advantage of the Linkedin, EACE and NACE communities to seek best practices when exploring new initiatives.
Instead of “Don’t burn bridges” I suggest when the time comes, exit gracefully. Whether early in your career or an experienced professional moving to a director or dean role, consider the perspective of Ellen Goodman a syndicated columnist and author.
“There’s a trick to the Graceful Exit. It begins with the vision to recognize when a job, a life stage, a relationship is over — and to let go.
It means leaving what’s over without denying its validity or its past importance in our lives. It involves a sense of future, a belief that every exit line is an entry that we are moving on rather than out.
We own what we learned back there. The experiences and the growth are grafted onto our lives. And when we exit, we can take ourselves along — quite gracefully.”
And if you can throw in a few “moves like Jagger” you will be remembered for your poise and style as you step into the future!
Beverly Lorig is currently Interim Director at Wellesley College. She was also elected to serve as Board Member: Public Relations and Communications (2 years); Membership and Diversity/Inclusion of Eastern Association of Colleges and Employers (EACE).