Career, Reflections, Workplace

What’s Your “Ideal” Job?

Have you ever been asked to describe your “ideal” job? Sometimes this comes up in a traditional job interview.  Or perhaps you had someone (a teacher, family member, or friend) just ask you about your career goals. Have you thought about what sort of work drives you? Do you know what sort of “job” you are looking for in your field that best fits you? How does work design impact what you do daily? What inspires you in your day-to-day work? How do you prefer to function and perform?
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These are questions I have asked my students for years. We spend a lot of time in the world of work. So, it’s a natural to want to know about goals and purpose as a student discusses courses in an academic advising appointment. And it is even more intentional as I have worked with undecided majors and first-year students (undergraduate and graduate) to help with their career exploration journey. This semester I am instructing LTEC 3010: Personal Development (a scaled up version that I promise to blog about soon), where we dive into these specific issues (follow #LTEC3010):
  • Determining avenues to find a job and planning your career
  • Preparing for the workforce: job search, interviews, resumes, applications, etc.
  • Getting started at your new job: dress, etiquette, digital identity, etc.
  • Being productive: Managing stress and time effectively, & working with others
  • Developing your career: Finding support, connecting to professional organizations, strategies & challenges for moving up the ladder, and seeking out mentorship experiences.
I typically ask my students what their “ideal” job and/or career entails — however until recently I haven’t flipped the tables on myself. After a recent prompt from someone, I decided to list what MY “ideal” interests are for the world of work — specifically targeted towards learning and development.
In general, I am interested in understanding how to build and support the complex learning spaces we work in, specifically, as we consider the connection between formal to informal learning (found among K-12, higher education & the workforce). If I was on a formal job hunt, here are a few items I would be scanning for in the job posting descriptions for, specifically to uncover the culture of an organization:
  • The opportunity to research the challenges/barriers that higher ed faces for our learning landscapes, which includes pedagogy and design of online, blended, and F2F learning. In particular, the issues encounter with HE faculty and staff development, systemic challenges, and student access. Those organizations who are aligned with a similar research agenda, i.e. new ideas of learning, learning delivery, and approaches to educational models impacting us now and in the future, would entice me to apply.
  • The ability to apply research into practice. This means continuing to be active in the field of learning and teaching, through course instruction and/or training & development programs for formal and informal learning. The idea of creating and delivering curriculum to various campus stakeholders who share similar emerging ideas for learning and research is exciting to me.
  • The opportunity for community building and network development to enhance the work of our segregated professional learning organizations that support HE faculty, practitioners, and administrators — specifically distributing knowledge, resources, and issues across these sections of our institutions. I would love to be part of an organization with a broader vision that can offer  t; offering an avenue for social sharing/learning; considering these contributions beyond a space or place (i.e. conference, event, etc.) to allow for on-going dialogues; being a central hub to cross-pollinate ideas and deal with issues
  • Being encouraged to collaborate and support design thinking as a process for innovation within a team across our higher education organizations and/or institutions. In working with a number of talented and thoughtful folks, I have learned the value of incubating ideas to solve problems and work on shared projects. We need to apply this nimble sort of thinking to our learning organization. We need to value both the process and not just the final product, in an environment that values and encourages sharing.

Those are my general thoughts for my future focus for work, and here are a few practical/personal preferences* for my world of work. Here are a few “must haves” for my ideal job:

  • Shared vision with the organization; appropriate cultural fit that supports the above ideas and goals
  • Balance between shared projects and individual assignments
  • Opportunity to continue current research projects and/or contract instructional assignments within higher education and/or learning institutions
  • Flexibility for my work environment, i.e. ability to work within an office and the allowance to be a distributed team member (telecommutes/remote work)
  • Open & available for traveling to consult, work, train, etc.
  • Preference for project-based work vs. a set schedule of hours per day/week, while offering regular updates and progress reports as required
  • Being both challenged and supported on assignment projects and contributions
  • The culture of learning is embedded to the work functions; learning is not just something we talk, research, or do — the organization lives its mandate for all employees (i.e. professional development, mentoring, coaching, etc.)

*Note: I am sure I have other preferences (wants & needs) for a job — but let’s just start with this list and see what is out there first.

Can you describe your “ideal” job? If so, please share!

Impact Factor, Job Search

What’s Your Research Impact? #ImpactFactor

For those of you who track on me in social spaces, you know that I just completed my tenure as an academic advisor and counselor as of TODAY! This does not mean I will drop off from the advising world entirely, as I serving my term on the NACADA Council, I am a fan of the #AcAdv Chat community, and I involuntarily advise a number of students, colleagues, friends, and family, about academic and career matters on a regular basis. 🙂

syllabus Job Update: I’m Off the Market

I accepted a full-time faculty position with the UNT College of Information, as a Lecturer for the Department of Learning Technologies. YAY! My teaching responsibilities start in mid-August, so I will be sure to share more about this down the road. I will say that my work in both student affairs and academic advising helped contribute to my hire. {Remind me to post about the job search, interview, etc. process later.} All that I have learned about student development and support will DEFINITELY be applied to the online classes I’m instructing this Fall. Thanks #AcAdv & #SAchat!

 

So what am I doing  this summer?

Taking a hiatus from 8-5 office life on campus, to work on a few projects. One of these projects is an EPIC road trip adventure and… RESEARCH! I am contributing to a grant with @drjeffallen to compile a comprehensive literature review, platform information, metric indexes, social spaces, and general research on scholarly impact in the digital age. So far, I have been collaborating with a few researchers to assess and review individual research impact, specifically with regards to open and online scholarship, citation indexing, and altmetrics.

impactstory

Personally, I have been interested in learning more about this topic as an early career researcher who is a fan of digital scholarship and identity. I was recently added to the Impactstory advisor posse, so now I have some swag to give to fellow research collaborators, who share a similar research impact philosophy. See – I’m still an advisor!

 

Are you interested in research impact? Do you want to talk about how digital scholarship can influence research, writing, and publication? Let me know. Let’s chat! Follow along this blog, as I am sure to share some ideas, findings, and insights, and I will be tweeting using  #ImpactFactor as my hashtag of choice.

#phdchat, Book Review, Higher Education, PhD

I’m “On the [Job] Market”: The Application Process

As academic job postings and other employment opportunities are becoming available, I decided it was time to prepare my own application materials and announce that I’m ON THE JOB MARKET. It should be no surprise to many as I am ABD (not a title), and I have been diligently working on my dissertation— so there is really no better time for a job search.

Well I was going to save this for holiday reading...but it looks like I'm On The Market NOW #phdchat I’ll be honest. I’m quite accustomed to the thrill of the job hunt (I am in my 3rd position of employment, since I have moved to Texas 5 years ago); however the academic job search has upped the ante. My future career planning involves a potential re-location (either in the US or abroad) and new career beginnings (either as a junior faculty member, research or other), which means this job search and application process is being treated like a job itself.

To prepare for my job search and career planning…

I have been talking to many researchers in the field, administrators in higher education, companies who seek my support, current faculty (off and on campus), mentors, and peers over the past year [Thank you for these discussions and talks – you know who you are]. More than not, many are quite open to offer advice, share professional experiences, edit my application materials, provide a reference, or send potential job postings my way (hint, hint). In my spare time, I have been reading Barnes’ (2007) “On the Market: Strategies for a Successful Academic Job Search,” specifically,  Chapter 4: The Application Process. This section of the book includes great questions to ask and think about before the application process, and examples of deciphering what academic job postings mean to decide what I want. Here are some current, pre-application questions I am currently pondering:

  • What type of position am I most interested in?
  • What sort of institution or organization do I want to work for?
  • Where do I want to live?
  • Do I want to apply for administrative or faculty track positions?
  • Who will write my reference letters?
  • Will my academic search focus on research or teaching institutions?
  • What is my best academic “fit” for department?
  • Do I want to look beyond higher education & academia?
  • Who will I connect to discussion the application process?
  • What is my timeline and schedule for applications?
  • How will I best organize a joint career search with my partner in crime?

Fortunately, most of my academic application requirements are “works in progress” from my doctoral program and portfolio requirements (Thanks #untLT department!) these past few years. My current objectives are to edit and prepare materials I have for my academic job search and application, including:

  1. Cover Letter
  2. Curriculum Vita
  3. Letters of Recommendation
  4. Writing Samples and Other Supporting Documents
  5. Teaching Portfolio (Dossier)
  6. Social Media Spaces & Places
  7. Application Schedule – to track applications & submissions

This chapter also includes helpful templates for CV’s and cover letter formats. I plan on re-tooling and modifying my current application materials based on position type and job description, so a review of these examples were helpful. Here are a few suggestions for cover letter writing items to include – 17 elements for the academic cover letter:

17 elements of the academic cover letter. #phdchat

Do you have academic job search advice? Tips on the application process? Considerations for the academic research and faculty positions? Potential openings I might be interested at your institution? Let me know. Academic job search advice is welcome.

 

Reference:

Barnes, S. L. (2007). On the market: Strategies for a successful academic job search. Lynne Rienner Publishers.