Burnham Academic e-Portfolio

Job Hunting…

Job-hunting in today’s world is a career all by itself. As I peruse the listings for non-academic, administrative staff, I find I become more and more discouraged. The versatilist that I naturally bring to the environment that we call higher education seems to be in the process of extinction. Oddly, as the economy wanes, and undergraduate skill-sets are re-defined, the role of a specialized hybrid (such as I call myself) seems to be losing its value across academia.  It is has become a weekly event to discover that the funding for administrative staff positions has been suspended.

I am not discouraged! As the economy rebounds – as it must – I am confident that the need for faculty, student, and staff development and assistance will again become an important component in the quality of the under-graduate education. The versatilist is the one who will adapt to the needs of academia, continuing to learn even while unemployed – it is the very nature of those who fill the role of “utility player” in institutions of higher learning.

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1 Comment »

  1. I had a “moment of insight” this morning. I was reading an article about students entering the workforce with new BAs, BSs, and MBAs and the problem they are up against as potentially “over qualified” applicants. The phrase “over qualified” is apparently code for “we’re afraid you’ll keep looking for something better, and leave us with an empty position”. The whole concept of over qualification as a reasoning for the inference that an applicant won’t stay has always been a pet peeve of mine. The implication is that the applicant is unable to think about and or predict satisfaction specific to his/her own personal and professional goals. It seems the more appropriate tack [on the part of the interviewer] is to voice the “concern” rather than give in to an assumption.

    However, even given the probable inaccuracy of an interviewer’s inferences, I suspect the actual implication of having more credentials than a position requires is that the applicant is potentially more adept at quickly identifying business practices that may be considered unethical and or dysfunctional. My “moment” [this morning] was to realize that while my education has not necessarilly prepared me to be a manager, or to run a business, I have learned to deftly apply buisness theory to overt behaviors. including the acquisition of a new vocabulary for the discovery of the covert business practices that contribute to workplace perfomance, expectations, and employee satisfaction. While the MBA core has not provided me with skills to do a particular job, I have gained a more professional understanding of the visible markers of good business, and have come to be able to articulate those markers such that others may understand future implication(s).

    That I have assimilated these skills does not imply that I am over qualified, per se. Rather that I am more likely to participate in the use of a position for which I am hired than I might have been in the past. As often is the case, position descriptions are based on ideal situations. The perspective of the employee is frequently not the primary referent in the process of position definition. It is the well-run organization that can take advantage of an employee’s ability to assess his/her positioning with a relatively objective eye as the particular job fits into an organizational structure.

    Comment by Colleen Burnham — April 19, 2009 @ 12:58 pm


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