Since it is job search season, I thought I would share something that I’ve been noodling on….

As you think about finding the right “fit” in a job, how much time do you think about the parts of a job that bring you the most satisfaction, how you like to spend your time working (e.g. alone or with others), how the organizational/institutional values align with your own, etc.?  Based on what I’ve seen (and sort of done), people spend more time thinking about where they will fit into an organizational chart and what rung of a ladder is next, and less about the aspects of a job that truly facilitate a good fit.

The irony here is that in higher education, we need to prepare students for jobs that are not yet created.  Yet, as leaders ourselves, we are programmed to think in predetermined boxes that are scripted into the norms and structures of organizations. 

The irony here is that in higher education, we need to prepare students for jobs that are not yet created.  Yet, as leaders ourselves, we are programmed to think in predetermined boxes that are scripted into the norms and structures of organizations.  I’m not sure that the kind of change that needs to happen to meet the demands of tomorrow can happen in the existing structures of our institutions.  Therefore, I think it’s important as higher education leaders that we see ourselves contributing to education in ways that blur boundaries of programs/divisions and even delivery modality.  Students do not walk into the doorway of a classroom and expect that only faculty can serve them inside the room and only student affairs can support them outside of the classroom; their experience is seamless and therefore our approach to educating them should be collaborative, shared, and even synergistic.  No one area of a university owns student success and learning.  Therefore, I think we should all become masters of what it takes to make a great holistic learning experience for students — “inside and outside” of the classroom.

It is with this lens that I recently decided I should anchor myself in the core elements of a job or career that are most important to me… and think less about the contrived idea titles and boxes on the piece of paper.

I created a vision board of the core elements of what is important to me in a job, and recommend higher education leaders (note, I did not say student affairs or academic affairs leaders), do the same.  Maybe at some point I’ll explain what each of these images mean to me — but until then, I encourage others to think about what might go on your vision board!You never know what type of position may bring these elements together allowing you to be your best self!

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