The paradise job

I’ve become curiously attached to “On Careers,”which is an online offering of U.S. News and World Report–blog-type posts by outside bloggers in the business world.  I found my way there through one of the contributors, the blogger Evil H.R. Lady, who’s a good, snappy writer with a dry wit. 

None of the “On Careers” bloggers are writing about an academic context, or about a secondary-school environment, but a lot of what they say is very broadly applicable to just about any workplace.  I’m not sure why I’ve been reading their archives so voraciously, though it might have something to do with feeling settled into my SA job and wanting to explore further this interesting condition called Having a Regular Job.  I have some suspicion that, knowledgeable though I might be about literature and teaching writing, I am still pretty green in judgement when it comes to the interpersonal, politicky side of things.  At SA yesterday, I marveled at how much was going on–administrators in their offices, new students coming in for counseling meetings, construction, summer camp–and what a big, complex organization it is.  Of course, it’s still considerably smaller than even the smallest college I’ve taught in, but it is much less balkanized; I’m supposed to know everyone–or, if not everyone right now, then pretty much everyone eventually. 

Here’s something good from “On Careers”: Michael Wade’s “6 Rules for Savvy Office Navigation.”  This seems to me totally applicable to pretty much any institution, with tweaks.  Of course, “Cast a wide net” doesn’t mean that you have to consult everybody about everything–but I like the way it makes me stop and consider who else might have a stake in whatever project I have underway.  For example, this year I organized a lunchtime poetry reading during National Poetry Month, and I explicitly invited all the faculty and staff, as well as students, to consider reading a poem aloud.  I also personally invited some particular teachers and staff members, including two staff members who are particularly popular among the students–one of the security guards and the young woman who runs the student store.  Making the event more inclusive was a win all around–it made a better event, it fostered good feelings in people who might not have felt ownership over the event, and it strengthened my working relationship with the people who participated.

This area of the U.S. News site also seems like a great resource for anyone who is looking for a job, even an academic one.


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