Tag Archives: job

Disappearing Act

This semester has been hard. Between the added responsibilities at work and the seemingly infinite amount of start-of-school events, I’ve barely had any time for myself. It seems that I spend all day at work taking care of the sort of things that “just come up” meaning that when I get to leave work and go home, I have to spend my own time doing other things for work – responding to emails, planning ahead, etc. My laundry bag hasn’t been touched in weeks, my kitchen smells kind of funky, and my closet is empty because none of my clothes are on their hangers.

I actually had a lot of posts planned and (mostly) written. I’m not too sure what happened for the second half of September…I know I had a TBT post that I NEEDED to write and I just didn’t get around to it…so I guess I just stopped logging into WordPress? Real logical there, Author. The ironic part is that I wrote a whole post about some anxiety issues I’ve been struggling with…only to see that I never posted it!! (Which might be a good thing because then y’all might have thought I went off the deep end!)

So here’s my game plan: it’s October (yay) which means I am FINALLY eligible for a new phone. I’m going to go buy it tonight which means a good portion of my evening will be spent backing up the old one and setting up the new one. Which means I’ll have time to blog? Hopefully?? And as I mentioned earlier, I have some posts already written (and some wonderful post ideas) so I should be able to get this bad boy back on a normal schedule!

Sorry for the radio silence and I’m hoping to streamline my life a bit more in the coming days!

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We’re Pretty Lucky

Last week, I found myself with some extra time off and decided to take a long weekend and visit Grad School State. It was definitely a much deserved vacation.

I was happy to get off campus for once. It seems that even when I’m not on call, I tend to stick around (now that I’m making friends in the area) but as long as I’m in the city, I feel the need to be “on”. What’s that mean? Well, if something serious were to happen, if I’m on campus, I’m going to have to jump in. And if I’m around the city, I need to make sure I’m on my best behavior. During RA training, we talk about how RAs are role models to their residents. Who do you think act as role models for the RAs? Oh you know, the pro staff.

I was also glad to see all the people I knew from GSS. I had friends that were in lots of different departments and it was nice to see them after all this time and hear what they have been up to. Everybody in my program seems to like their jobs. I only know of two that are searching and it’s not so much that they don’t like their jobs, but rather they are relocating to be closer to a significant other. My friends from outside the program…that’s a different story. They always seem to be looking for something better or complaining about something. Part of me wants to smack them…”Oh, I’m sorry, your boss asked you to come in on a Saturday? I had to go to the hospital with a kid with alcohol poisoning at three am.” But then I realized we’re the lucky ones! We like our jobs! It must suck to get called into a job that you don’t like on a Saturday.

The moment that it really hit me, I was talking with someone who is looking for his next job and he just seemed really down and said, “Oh well, it’s not like you can get your dream job right out the gate or even ten years down the road.” I don’t know about the rest of you, but I did! Granted, I’ve always thought about “dream _____” in a much more reasonable way than others. I know that I can’t have some high level job right after graduation, so I kept my goals in the entry level arena. I also tell people that my dream car is a car that only costs about $40K which isn’t exactly unreasonable. Back to my original point…

People also keep telling me that they “admire that I’m doing what I love even though it means I’ll be poor for the rest of my life” (except sometimes it’s more eloquently said). Yes, I know that I have a masters and I know that my job requires more than the normal nine-to-five and I’m sure if you divided the amount I make by the hours I worked, we would find that I would have been better off as a stock room worker at a chain clothing store that sells overpriced jeans, but that’s not the point. I’m happy with my job. At the moment, I’m able to make ends meet. I’m not on the border of being starving and homeless. I guess what I want to say to those people is sorry I value my happiness over a paycheck (#notsorry). 

Sorry that went a bit towards the rant-y side. I’m not even mad, I’m just happy with my job. I do have friends that aren’t in student affairs that do like their jobs. I also have friends that are still looking for their dream jobs but are making sure they are taking on the “right” responsibilities and projects in their current job to help them attain that dream job one day.

If you’re not in your dream job yet, what is your dream job? What steps are you taking to get there?

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So You’re In Grad School – May

May is always a month that’s pretty easy to remember…LAST DAY OF SCHOOL, WOOOOO!!! But seriously. I know last month I dropped the ball on my “So You’re In Grad School” post because I couldn’t remember what I did in April during my first year of my program. Guess what? I’ve been thinking about it all month and I STILL don’t remember what I did in April. But, because May was the end of the year, I definitely remember what I did in May.

If you’re a first year student…

Hopefully you have your summer plans all set because now it’s time to plan for them! You might be staying right where you are, you might be traveling to the other side of the country! Orrr you might be in the unlucky position of “we’re closing your building, MOVE!”. Trust me, that’s no fun. Also, I’m over moving. Like seriously over moving. Anywho.

If you do have to travel a long distance for your summer internship, make sure you have a reliable way of getting there. What’s that mean? Well, if you plan on driving to your internship, whether it’s a daily commute or driving ten hours twice the entire summer, take your car for a tune up. You don’t want to have to tell your supervisor that you are going to be late because your car broke down. If you are flying to get where you’re going, make sure you have a ride from the airport to campus and make sure you know how you’re going to get around during the summer. Does the city you’re going to be living in have a good public transportation system? Check it out ahead of time! Do you plan on renting a car for weekend trips? Look into the car rental service closest to where you’ll be living and see if there are any special restrictions. I rented a car the WEEK before I turned twenty five and had to pay an extra ten dollars a day. Other places might have a higher fee or might not rent to you, depending on your age.

Try to find out as much as you can before you leave for your internship. What are the details of where you’ll be living? Will you be housed in an apartment? Will you have roommates? One of my classmates got housed in a dorm room for his summer internship! It was a NICE dorm room…but he never thought he’d be back in one of those! Are there any special summer trips or retreats that you are expected to go on? What is the weather like in the summer where you are going? What are you supposed to wear in the office?

If you do your homework from the above two paragraphs, you will have a better grasp on what to pack and what not to pack for your summer internship. If you are flying, you might want to look into shipping a box or two ahead of time so you’re not paying a fee to check extra suitcases. At the end of the day (I can’t believe I’m about to say this) every town in America has a laundromat, so always pack less clothes. Always.

If you’re a second year student…

Congratulations. You’ve survived grad school. You better celebrate now because you’re about to start working full time and you will continue to do so for the next fifty years or so. I just sucked the fun right out of it, didn’t I?

Hopefully you have a job offer. Heck, maybe you’ve even accepted a job and have a start date and all that jazz! If so, that’s exciting and you might want to actually read some of what I wrote to the first year students as you plan to pack and move to wherever it is life takes you. Especially that part about bringing your car in for a tune up. You do not want to be stuck on the side of the road with your fully packed car. It’s no fun.

You might have multiple job offers at once. Whatever you do, DO NOT COMPLAIN ABOUT THIS TO OTHER PEOPLE. There are plenty of people out there that are currently employed and you will not earn their sympathy. If you have a few select friends that have their job situation figured out, talk to them about it or chat with a professor. But seriously, do not just complain to the whole class. Every program has that one kid that does it and nobody likes them.

So. Yes. You might have multiple job offers. And you might have a hard time choosing between them. There will be pros and cons about all of the schools, the positions, the locations. One job will pay more than the other. It’s not an easy decision to make. You need to think long and hard about it and honestly, you need to go with your gut feeling. I know most people fresh out of grad school will want to go with the highest salary (you’ve gotta pay those loans somehow!) but that might not be the best job to take. In a perfect world, the job with the best description and best location would also be the highest paying, but it NEVER works out that way. I wish you the best of luck with your decision. (Also, if you do need someone to complain to, I have a job, you can whine to me. Or wine to me. Whichever.)

You might not have a job offer yet. That’s okay. As people are accepting (or declining) job offers, more positions are opening up. Some schools don’t have their budgets set for next year yet and once they figure those details out, they will know if they can add that position or not. If you don’t have a job offer yet, put your stuff in storage, keep looking for jobs, but more importantly, ENJOY YOUR TIME OFF. Once your friends with jobs get settled in, go visit them. See new parts of the country. Go to the beach. Once you get a job offer (which you will), you will not have time to do any of those things.


Whether you’ve finished your first year, your whole program, or just finished college and are about to start your Student Affairs adventure, congratulations on finishing another year!

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TBT – Part Timing

Thanks to one of the blogs I follow, I found this article from The New York Times about how terrible part time work is. And after relying on working three part time jobs to get by for a year and a half, I fully understand how these employees are feeling. While the news reports that the unemployment rate is going down, that doesn’t count people who are “underemployed” like the woman in this article who worked as an interior designer for years and years, only to be working part time as a cashier in her fifties.

For part of my undergrad career, I decided to be a part time student. In my mind, I would spend more time working and would be able to pay for school easier. That wasn’t the case. At Undergrad U, part time students cannot receive ANY financial aid, including scholarships and grants that a student might normally qualify for. This meant that whatever tuition I couldn’t pay out of pocket, I was taking private loans for. This made it all to easy to forget about that expense until after graduation. Also, as a part time student, I couldn’t live on campus. While I lucked out and found super cheap (and super disgusting) subleases, that’s not always the case. In my area, off campus housing was usually more expensive than on campus housing. Another thing was that I wasn’t allowed to be an active member of a lot of the clubs I had been a part of. I also couldn’t work at one of my campus jobs because it was for full time undergrad students only. Once I returned to full time status, I kept working at my previous job and was working almost the same amount of hours that I had been while I was a a part time student! That was definitely not easy and I had to get creative with scheduling…both for work AND classes. As much as that sucked, I was much happier being a full time student!

Working part time jobs was also not a very pleasant experience. Yes, I had worked part time jobs before attempting to juggle three at once. But I had worked those while I was a student, so my job wasn’t my priority at that time. The reason I took on three at once was because I had just graduated from Undergrad U, hadn’t received any “real” job offers (even though I had applied to over 50 jobs!), and was on the verge of being homeless (a big thank you to all my friends with couches). The article made some valid points with the downfalls of part time work – less pay, less hours (obviously), and inconsistent scheduling. One of the jobs paid minimum wage and the other two were commission-based. That, along with the inconsistent scheduling, meant I had a VERY inconsistent pay check. The scheduling was honestly the worst part. Some weeks I’d have tons of hours, other weeks I’d be sitting at home and remember why I hated daytime TV. Also, I didn’t get my schedules until the Friday before the week of the schedule…that meant I had to wait to the last minute to plan EVERYTHING…hair appointments, doctor’s appointments, hanging out with friends, AND the hours I was supposed to work my other jobs. What’s worse, if I requested off one DAY or even part of a day (“Hey boss, I have a doctor’s appointment Tuesday afternoon, could you schedule me for morning only?”) my boss would definitely NOT schedule me for Tuesday (okay, fine, whatever) but also would schedule me LESS for the whole week because “I had less hours to give”. UMMM…WHAT?

While working part time is often necessary, being a part time student at a traditional four year college is something that can be avoided. I’m not saying that people shouldn’t be part time students ever…there are definitely ways that it can work! However, you need to make sure you’re aware of the differences between part time and full time student status! In the end, going part time cost me a lot more than being a full time student would have.

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Declining a Job Offer

Here’s something that I didn’t tell anybody for a LONG time – I turned down my first job offer. I told people that I just hadn’t heard back from the school. There were plenty of people NOT getting jobs and the economy was crap and I thought people would think that I was crazy for turning down a job. But honestly, I didn’t want to work there. I don’t think I would have been happy if I had accepted the job.

It just wasn’t the right fit and I think I kind of knew that going into the whole interview process with them, but it was such a well-known school that I think I may have been blinded by the bright lights. In this case, well-known also meant LARGE which was completely the opposite of what I wanted. Undergrad U and Grad School State were pretty big schools and I wanted a change. I wanted to work somewhere that all the departments worked together to put on programs. Heck, I wanted to work somewhere where people in other departments knew my name.

I mean, this would have been my ideal job, but something tells me that my parents would not have appreciated me getting my masters and then working at a bar…

The job description didn’t really align with what I wanted to be doing with my life. I love working with my student organizations and there was no guarantee that this job would have let me do that. I know I could have found my own way to working with these student groups, but I remember asking one of the current entry level professionals what tips she had for starting out in the job and the first thing she said was “to take a year to get used to it all before getting involved with campus.” UMMM WHAT? At a large school it is so easy to just say in your department. Too easy.

If you don’t want a job, do not feel obligated to accept the offer. Think about your future career goals and make sure the job that you are accepting can help you achieve those down the road. Also, it’s okay to not tell people about it. I think I was one of the first people in our program to be offered a job and I know that at the time, some of my classmates hadn’t even been offered on campus interviews. I didn’t want it to seem that I was bragging by talking about this job offer that I had gotten – only to turn it down. I didn’t tell my family either because they would have thought I was crazy and I know my mom would have guilt tripped me even more. She was already on my case for refusing to apply for a job that was twenty minutes from home. At the rate I was going, she was probably thinking that I was going to be living in a cardboard box after graduation.

So what happened after I denied my first job offer? Well, I’d love to say that a day later, my dream job called me up and hired me on the spot, but it didn’t happen that way. In fact…I didn’t have any other interviews lined up. I didn’t hear from the other school I had interviewed with on campus. I started from square one again and yeah, it sucked, but in the end I found a job that was MUCH better suited for me. I didn’t have another job offer until after graduation, but I was okay with that.


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So You’re in Grad School – April

So I might have dropped the ball this month. And no, that’s not an April Fools joke. Ever since the students returned from Spring Break, I’ve felt incredibly busy. Some days I look at my calendar and it’s a solid block of meetings. With all this madness, I’ve had no time for writing (or anything else…empty fridge, I’m looking at you!). I’m so bummed, I had a GREAT idea for an April Fool’s Day post. I guess it will just have to wait for next year.

I also really haven’t had time to think more about what I did during my first year of grad school during the month of April. Also not an April Fools joke. Sorry, first year students. Prep for you upcoming summer adventures? Seriously. I don’t even know what to tell you at the moment. I’ve forgotten stuff that happened only two years ago in my old age.

I remember April of my second year much better. That was the month we all started having on campus interviews. Now remember, never compare yourself to your classmates. You may not have an on campus interview arranged yet. You might have more than anybody else. Do what makes you comfortable. That being said, here’s a few tips!

On campus interviews will take you away from school and you might be gone quite a while if your interview is far from your college or if you are lining them up back to back (don’t do that). Your professors and supervisors will be flexible, but please make sure you’re checking the calendar before scheduling an interview. If a potential employer suggests a date that definitely doesn’t work, you can let them know. Remember  they work in education so they understand that you are still a students. Also, think about how you are going to keep up with school work on the road!

You don’t have to say yes to all on campus interview offers. IN fact, you should only say yes if you are really certain that it is a job you would accept if offered. Why  An on campus interview is a pretty big deal. Schools don’t invite twenty candidates on campus for one open position. It sometimes spans two days and a lot of people interview you. The school puts a lot of effort (and sometimes money) into planning it. If you don’t think you’re going to take the job, don’t waste their time.

Different schools have different reimbursement policies. Some schools will book your travel for you if you are traveling by air. Others will have you book it and then reimburse you. Some schools will reimburse you for travel expenses no matter what. At other schools, they might only reimburse half or not reimburse you if you decline their job offer. These are all very important reasons why you need to think long and hard about saying yes to an on campus interview. I was in your shoes last year. You are in NO position to shell out $800 for a last minute flight and not get that money back.

The traveling there is honestly the worst part. A word of warning – nobody expects you to wear a full suit while traveling, but you definitely don’t want to be wearing sweatpants!! You might be meeting a person from campus right as you arrive and even though it’s not a formal interview, it’s totally part of the interview. If you MUST wear yoga pants while driving, try to find a rest stop close to your destination to clean up at.

One time that someone told me was to take advantage of the bathroom breaks. During your long day, people will ask if you need to use the restroom. ALWAYS SAY YES. Even if you don’t have to use the bathroom, enjoy a few minutes of peace and quiet. I had some fruit snacks in my bag and used one break to eat those to stop my stomach from rumbling.

Do you have any other tips for second years about to start their on campus interviews? Leave them in the comments!

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Disclosing Disability

The following statement applies to millions of people out there in the work force: Even though it might not look like it, I have a disability that sometimes prevents me from doing things. That might be a chronic illness, a learning disability, a substance addiction, a mental illness, or lasting effects from an injury, surgery, or previous illness.

That statement applies to me. While my disability (I kind of hate that word. Condition? No, either way I sound like a patient) is physical, you can’t tell just by looking at me, so my supervisor didn’t know when she hired me. I was getting along just fine without telling anybody, but then came the day when I found out we were going to a ropes course for a team building activity. Most people would be so excited to read that email. Part of me was – it meant a day out of the office! The other part of me had this terrible sinking feeling in my stomach. Not only was I going to have to tell my boss, but the others going on the trip were certainly going to ask why I wasn’t participating.

I sat around thinking of what I was going to tell my boss – and everybody else – before I actually went down the hall to say anything. I even thought a lot about this entry that I’m now writing. I also thought back to my experiences working in an office that provides services for students with disabilities. I had made a presentation for incoming students on the differences between “disclosure” in the K-12 setting and “disclosure” in college. In college (and beyond) it is up to the individual to tell their professor, RA, supervisor, what is going on. The individual has the right to say as much or as little as they want (to some extent).

After all that thinking, I went down the hall and informed my boss that I was unable to participate in some of the activities that would be taking place at the ropes course. I told her why and answered her questions. “What happened?” (An accident.) “How will this affect your job performance?” (It shouldn’t unless something similar to a ropes course becomes a job requirement.) “What can we do to help?” (I mentioned some minor tasks that were difficult for me and times I might have to use my car rather than walking.)

Disclosing your disability might be one of the most anxiety-inducing moments at a new job. We’re lucky in student affairs that everybody is so into feelings and making sure everybody is comfortable that plenty of people have understood why I don’t want to go into all the details of my accident. If or when you do have this chat with your employer, be prepared to answer his or her questions. You will probably be asked what you can and can’t do or how this will affect your job. Think about some non-routine tasks of your job. Hey, all those orientation job descriptions that say you need to be able to lift 40 pounds? I can’t do that! It wasn’t part of my current job description, but I let my boss know that in case one day she wants me to haul a box of something somewhere.

So now the awkward part of this entry…the comments section. Clearly, I’m not asking that everybody tell me everything about their “invisible disability”, but if you have any tips on disclosing, feel free to leave them in the comments. Heck, feel free to be anonymous with this one.

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