My eigth @SAFirstYears blog post – published date of 3/14/2012:
I hope all the job searchers survive the placement exchanges: OPE, TPE, (almost) ACPA!
My last post was geared towards helping graduate students get a job that would encourage professional and personal growth, as well as enhance their happiness.
As I have a mini obsession with the concept of happiness. I have been reflecting on my own search process and how I determined where I would be most happy.
After some quick digging I found my infamous job search excel sheet. No one has EVER seen this excel sheet, so feel honored to be privy to such important information. Please. Not really, but just a little.
This document has everything from contact information to interview dates and times, from salary to initial reactions during my interview. But what intrigues me most is my rating scale. I have an affinity to use my left-brain (probably why I ended up at Mines), and so I devised five categories and rated them from zero to one. Decimals were absolutely acceptable.
These were my 5 categories:
- Do I get to supervise a graduate student? (This was apparently very important to me then.)
- Will I be personally happy? (Are friends or family in the area?)
- Do I like the location? (Are there fun things to do? Is it sunny?)
- How is my supervisor? (Would s/he be focused on helping me be a better professional? Would s/he provide new opportunities? Would s/he be flexible?)
- Is the department a good fit? (Would I work well with colleagues? Do I like how things are run?
These numerical values actually helped me understand institutions I was really leaning towards.
Out of 5 possible points, Mines scored a 4.4. There were only a few above, but quite a few below.
- Do I get to supervise a graduate student? (.8) I get to supervise 5 undergraduate Hall Directors and help them supervise their 21 RAs. Close enough.
- Will I be personally happy? (.8) I didn’t have any family, and only a small handful of friends in the region, but it was only a hop, skip, and a jump from Arizona (home) and I liked the people I would work with, so good enough.
- Do I like the location? (1) I remember being so in love with Golden, Colorado the first time I visited. The hiking and running trails were enticing. And the small town feel, coupled with the close vicinity to metropolitan Denver was perfect.
- How is my supervisor? (1) Awesome. Hands down. Awesome.
- Is the department a good fit? (.8) Smaller, not exactly what I was used to, but it seemed like it would be good. I think I was mostly concerned about not having set professional development funds. Now I know that was silly. We only must ask and we receive.
These were my first impressions written in my excel:
great professionals, small department, intelligent student population; great feel
Ultimately, I think I picked well.
So I ask again: What makes you happy?
Maybe it’s a few of the same things I chose to evaluate my experience. Maybe you have others. Maybe you think a numerical evaluation of your next career move is dumb. That’s okay with me. As long as you find a way to make a decision that will result in your happiness.
I know too many people who are not happy with their jobs. Don’t be one of them!!