December 04, 2003

Rethinking Rider

Had a nice mid-morning chat with TG today, yet another person who actually got a job via a job posting (guess I'd better start reading the Chronicle of Higher Ed on a more regular basis)! She asked about whether I was considering Rider, and I answered from a mostly admissions perspective, forgetting for the moment that my next job is likely to NOT be in college admissions. Felt bad about it afterwards, although I think I did a decent job of explaining my thinking to her in a post-visit email. Still, the whole thing reminded me of how hard it is to be "on" in the way that actively seeking out employment requires you to be. More motivation to do this well and quickly.

November 26, 2003

Get Me Rewrite!

Already helpful, FS launched herself into the "can't do this without you" category today by making a terrific editorial suggestion on the copy of my resume I sent to her via email. Terrific!

November 25, 2003

Friends In High Places?

This just in... BC knows the head of one of our local-area private schools. Could come in handy, down the line...

November 24, 2003

Apples In My Future?

Reconnected with RW today after not having spoken with him in a long time. He was very gracious, and we both spoke about the ways in which parenting can change your sense of time and what is achievable. He offered to talk with me about working at his school, and we also want to get the families together at some point. When I mentioned that several friends have asked me if I'd consider teaching, he asked what grade levels I'd be interested in, and I said, "Secondary, I guess," because that's the age level I've had the most experience with. What I should have said, I think, was, "I have no idea! How does one make that determination other than through trial and -- hopefully not too much -- error?"

November 18, 2003

Miss Manners

Finally managed to send out a thank-you note today to FS. Rooting around in my stationery box for the appropriate card made me remember how important this kind of follow-up is; the next time I schedule a meeting with someone, I should mentally schedule the thank-you note as well.

November 15, 2003

Have You Met My Friend....?

Met ES today, the girlfriend of a friend. ES works for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, about which I know little, but at least now I have someone I could start with.

November 09, 2003

Good Food and Good Advice

Had lunch with Quaker friend FS today, after having played "connect-the-calendars" for a few weeks. She shares my fondness for the "right hand gal" spot, so we had a good talk about the advantages of working from that position. She also encouraged me to expand my search to include Rutgers, and swears the commute isn't half bad, especially if you're into books an tape. It was great to talk with someone whose job search experiences are still fresh, and also interesting to talk with her about her first job in NJ, which ended up being a poor fit. Told her that working within a Quaker context might feel like a dream come true; we'll see about that.

October 19, 2003

Please Turn To Page 19 In Your Manual

One of the tasks I liked best in all my years at Penn was the last one I did: analyzing, describing, and codifying my job in an accessible way for my successor. The indexed section of shared hard-drive I came up with was not-so-jokingly nicknamed, "Shelley's Brain in a Box," and I KNEW that the person who came in after me was going to be in great shape. Similar to the work I did as a student computer consultant at Brown, when I wrote a "quick and easy" guide to the word processing software because I realized that I'd taught so many people how to use it that I had it down to a system. Satisfying to learn a system well enough to be able to boil it down to its essentials and teach it.

October 16, 2003

Let Me Get Back To You On That

Here's something else I really enjoy: targeted research. Loved tracking down a replacement copy of my mom's high school yearbook. Loved figuring out where I could find census-based baby name frequency information when we were expecting. Knowing that what you want is out there somewhere and then finding it. Right now I'd love to find a few more hours of sleep.

October 14, 2003

Right Hand Gal

I've been scouring my memories, thinking about all the jobs I've had and what aspects of them I truly enjoyed, looking for patterns or trends. Some of my favorite memories of my time at Brown revolve around my work with Production Workshop shows, and if I could have seen my way clear to theater being a job for grownups (somehow I just couldn't imagine that), I might be working off-Broadway right now. In the long run, though, what I think I started to learn as I stage-managed my way through school was how much I enjoyed working as someone's right hand gal. Brown was where I really started to learn to be the source of my own satisfaction. Actors get applause, directors get reviews, and stage managers... know that the show wouldn't have gone on without them. I love the feeling of having someone turn to me to ask me for something and being able to say, "Yep, did it already, you're all set." That combined feeling of quiet mastery and saving the day. Of course this only works well if you like and respect the director.

October 12, 2003

In Other News

From today's New York Times: "Nearly three years into the worst employment slump since World War II, many unemployed professionals are finding that the job networds they have been tapping are no longer producing." Great. The emotional rollercoaster ride continues.

October 01, 2003

Clunky, But Doable

Okay, I've got the iMac and the Earthlink free webdesign tool talking, sort of. Enough so that I'll be able to put up a site over at, although it looks like I won't have graphics capability. Sigh. One of these days I'm going to buy myself some software and a little server space to call my very own.

September 23, 2003

Earthlink, Schmearthlink

I have been working on a static website to go along with this blog, a kind of companion piece where I can put my resume, references, etc. etc., but I've hit a bump in the internet autobahn... can't get the Earthlink website creation site to let me publish (or unpublish, for that matter) any of my draft content. I'm on the third go-round of emails to the support folk there... sigh. Will try to keep forging ahead in other ways.

September 22, 2003

Making A List

I'm feeling better now, and making a list of the folks I think might be able to help me at some point in this process. You're probably on it. It reminds me of an exercise I was once assigned in a graduate course at UPenn. The professor asked us all to take out a blank piece of paper, and then, seeing the look on our faces, she reassured us that this was not to be a quiz. "Imagine that you are in some kind of trouble: you've been injured, or your car has died, or you've been thrown in jail. I want you to spend the next few minutes writing down the names of the people you would contact in those and similar situations." We all sat there imagining ourselves in dire circumstances and writing down the names of our "go to" people. When it seemed that we were mostly done, the prof said, "Now turn your paper over." And then when we all expectantly looked at the still-blank side of our paper, she said, "Some people's list looks like this."

I try to carry the feeling of gratitude that exercise inspired with me wherever I go. I am so fortunate to have people in my life who care about me and would be there for me no matter what. I'm adding new people to my list as I think of them, even if I'm not sure yet exactly how I'll be asking them to help. It helps me remember that although it is most definitely MY jobsearch, I'm not in it alone. I think I'll be looking at this list long after I've started my new job.

September 18, 2003

Ahhh Choo!

Just when I felt like I was making some progress, I get laid out by a cold. Good thing I bought a kabillion Kleenex on my last shopping trip. Sheesh.

September 17, 2003

Why Schools?

ML and I have taken to calling academia "the golden handcuffs." The longer we stay, the harder it is to imagine leaving. True, we could make more money in any number of corporate jobs. But would we have access to Firestone Library, Springdale Golf Course, and be surrounded by people who are passionate about education? I'm not ruling out non-academic settings, but if I had to lay odds...

September 16, 2003

Why Not Admissions?

Finally got together with MM tonight to catch up a bit and bring her up to speed on my plans. While we were still in connect-the-calendars mode I'd mentioned that I'd missed seeing SM on my last swing through the office; MM kindly invited SM to join us for pizza dinner at her house, which was great.

When I tell people that I think I may end up back at TCNJ, they often think I mean back at my old job. And why not? I had a great experience there... terrific people, a chance to make a real contribution, bright students. But at this point I have pretty much decided to rule out college admissions jobs unless it becomes absolutely necessary to consider them. There are two main reasons for this: First, I think that taking a break from waged work has made me hungry for new challenges. After over a decade of admissions work, I certainly still have more to learn, but there is also much that will never be new for me again. The second reason for looking beyond my "field of origin" is of a much more practical nature. It would be better for our family if both grownups weren’t both on the same “fall = travel, winter = reading” schedule . So, yes to school life, no to admissions. At least not undergrad. I think.

September 12, 2003

This Had Better Be Good

Scooted over to TCNJ's website to look at their childcare info and fee structure. It looks pretty reasonable... will have to talk to SM to see what her kids' experience of it was like. Meanwhile, all I can think is, "Whatever job I get has got to be good enough to make it feel like an okay idea despite the fact that I'll be missing D every minute for who knows how long."

September 09, 2003

Baby Steps

Spoke for quite a while today with the ever-generous JD, initially about a specific position that may or may not open up, but then widening the discussion to search strategies in general. I told him of my growing conviction that the people you work with are at least as important as the work that you do, and he helped remind me that it's a both/and proposition. After all, the best leader in the world would have a tough time making a job like blocking lenses at Winchester Optical seem fulfilling. (Sorry, Mr. Lynch.) So we're back to, "I want it all." :-)

JD's approach -- admittedly from a situation quite different from mine, but still -- was to spend time thinking about those skills he felt were ones he could offer, and also to learn as much as he could about what people needed and what they were like to work with/for, then look for the best fit. Matchmaking 101.

And, like looking for a house, I think one of the keys could be finding ways in which you are different from other seekers.

Another interesting aspect of our exchange was my internal reaction to some of the details of the position discussed at the beginning of our conversation. When the job was described as not having much authority in matters of policy, I immediately thought, "But I LIKE being involved in policy." Liked it at Penn as the coordinator of all advanced standing, and deliberately sought it out while working to help pull together the constitution for the Staff Senate at TCNJ. Good to remember.

September 08, 2003


It's official. A year from now I need to be back working for wages.

September 07, 2003

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