Residence life professionals seem to live in a bubble at times with their isolation/focus on campus as well as within a specific department and division. Successful staff must learn how to maneuver through various responsibilities during their career to demonstrate competency at the next level or assignment or to achieve promotion. It isn’t always easy and a bed of roses.
How should one manage the ‘tough stuff’?
What are some of the potholes to avoid on the journey?
How do you achieve balance if the position or the career requires realignment?
The authors are two experienced Res Life professionals who have experienced a myriad of the joys and heartache of career advancement and can offer some advice to some of the aspects of management some find difficult to discuss.
There could be 4 major themes for staff as they contemplate professional advancement:
- Career moves are more than just securing your next job; plan your work/work your plan with career evolution
- Surviving and being successful with campus politics requires thinking beyond the usual silo/compartmentalization mentality
- Position transition; by choice and/or other
- The need for successful relationships in student affairs and on campus; college harmony during the initial job search
- Most career paths are nothing like the straight line from beginning to end that one imagines. Often there are unexpected twists, turns and speed bumps along the way to throw you off track. While everyone’s journey is different, residence life staff should consider some of these things in order to prepare for the future as they work towards that next position up the ladder.
CHUCK AND GARY’S RECIPE/TIPS FOR PROFESSIONAL SUCCESS
- Professional success could be like a recipe for chocolate chip cookies. All recipes are individual and are created based on taste, anticipated outcomes and ingredients on hand. Here are some of our ingredients for possible career success:
- Make commitment to self, students and field
- Establish work/life balance – long term
- Focus on your “big picture” but be knowledgeable of what’s happening around you
- Embrace assessment – prove your program has worth
- Don’t be geographically restricted if possible for your next move
- Link your program to “ER” (Enrollment and Return). How does the experience in the halls influence a student’s decision to enroll and return?
- Prepare for next professional move through responsibilities growth and involvement
- Positive relationships = future success
Submitted by Chuck Lamb, Retired; and Gary Bice, Director of Housing and Residence Life, Northern Michigan University