What do you do?
I work in student services at various colleges. Over the years, I have worked for Disabled Student Services, Extended Opportunity Program (for economically and educationally disadventaged students), and the Tutorial Center.
How did you get into it?
I fell through the cracks as a high school student due to having an undiagnosed learning disability. In community college, my LD was instantly recognized, I was referred to the services I needed, and ended up graduating at the top of my class both in community college and in the four-year program I attended afterwards. It was such a huge boost to my self-esteem that I decided to pay it forward and return to help other students.
Do you love it, or dream of sending in your resignation?
I love what I do and the students I serve, but whether or not I dream of sending in my resignation depends on my team. In the best of my positions, my team was lovely, respectful, and worked well together, with the exception of That One Asshole ™, who we did our best to deal with. I couldn’t get out of bed for two weeks after I got laid off in the recession because I was so devastated, and I still think of that position as the best one I ever had. In the worst, my team bickered, stepped on each others’ toes, tattled on each other over stupid infractions that didn’t matter, and underminded each others’ work while our manager acted like Cool Mom from Mean Girls and turned a blind eye to it all. Was so relieved when I had the opportunity to resign from that one.
Any recommendations for someone looking to get in your field?
It helps if you’ve attended the type of college you’d like to work at (for example, I attended a community college and a private Catholic school, so it’s very hard for me to get an interview at a large public university).
Know that if you apply for a State position, the interviewing process is very different from the corporate world and you will be answering standardized questions in front of a panel of several people rather than having an organic conversation about who you are and what you have to offer the organization. Be prepared to say as much as you can about each question, but stay on-topic, the hiring committee hates it when you ramble! Also, your committee values honesty more than “selling yourself”, so if they ask you to describe a skill or an experience you lack, just tell the truth.
There is a high chance that you will be asked to demonstrate your skills with a test. Be prepared for that.
For fun, if you could open a business (anything your heart desires) what would it be?
I would open a no-kill cat rescue/adoption agency like Cat House on the Kings. I love cats!