Good day to you!
I must tell you that it is with great excitement that I say that this is the final post in this series as I have accepted an offer to work at Husson University in Bangor, Maine as a Resident Director, starting in July! It has been a long journey to this point, which I wanted to truly capture in the purest of forms, numbers.
So, in total, my job search has entailed the following:
- Applied to 50+ postings
- Interviewed with 30+ institutions via placement conferences*, phone, Skype, and on-campus visits
- Traveled over a thousand miles
- Spent a total of almost six months time searching (January-June 2014)
*Note: I did not find my job at a placement conference, rather, it was a job I found mid-April on HigherEdJobs.
All of this culminated in my recent job offer, which was exactly where I wanted to be. Husson is a small, private university in my home state, close to my partner while she’s in graduate school and closer to my entire extended family than I’ve ever been. I really enjoyed the vibe of the campus and the people I’ll be working with so I’m excited to start my career in less than a month!
I have just felt a strong sense of calm come over me that my anxieties over this process can finally be put to rest. There are certainly many details still to be hashed out such as choosing health insurance(!), figuring out how I’ll get my whole life up there, and learning about a new area once I’m there, but all of these things are basked in a light of optimism that my life can begin and won’t be paused for any longer. I can begin to build toward my own professional future as well as my personal goals such as making a life for me and my partner.
While I am feeling very positive at this moment, I still want to acknowledge some downsides and criticisms of the whole process. First off, as I noted above, I did not find my job at a placement conference and I am somewhat skeptical of their value. The meat market feel and scatter-shot approach to the whole thing didn’t feel like it made a whole lot of sense in hindsight. While yes, you can play a numbers game to an extent, it didn’t seem to be worth the sizable amount of money to me. Second, the length of the whole process feels absurd. The long duration just exacerbated all the worst parts of my search. The schools I connected with later on proved to act quicker and communicate better than those I spoke with in February, for example. Which segues into my third point, communication. There was no consistency in communication, which only fed more into my anxiety, self-doubt, and shame. There are still schools I haven’t heard anything from since March when I met them at TPE, which is very disappointing on an ethical and professional level. Other times when I did hear, it felt like I was bothering them when I got a response. Feeling as though I had no idea what was going on made the doubt just grow of feeling as though I might not get a job and I made a mistake getting into all of this.
I write this not thinking I’m sharing anything revelatory, only to provide a voice among many that this is the current state of job searching in student affairs, at least for entry-level folks coming out of a graduate program like myself. Whether or not this is right, just, or fair, I’ll leave up to you to decide.
Even though my job search is over, I look forward to continue writing of my reflections as a first-year student affairs professional. I also write frequently on my own blog, so be sure to check there for updates as well of a more personal (and geeky) nature.
Thanks for stopping by to hear my story and many thanks to those that have kept up with my entire journey and given words of support. It has been a long, hard fought battle and your emotional support has been very helpful! To those out there still searching, stay strong and please feel free to connect. I’d be happy to help to pay it forward and make sure we all end up where we’re supposed to.
> BONUS <
Podcast With Danny Malave on New Professional Retrospective on the Job Search