Well, the time of year is upon us again: The EDUCAUSE Annual Conference. This time, as in 2013 and 2010, it is in Anaheim, California. I’m finishing up this post from the airport, waiting for my flight to Anaheim.
October 11, 2016 marked six months of working as AVP of IT and Deputy CIO at Baruch College. Tl;dr: It’s been the hardest I’ve ever worked, and overall it’s been incredibly rewarding. And I’m just getting started.
As I come up on my six month anniversary at my new job (surely that is worth blogging about, stay tuned) I’ve decided to dust off this post. Parts of it date from nearly a year ago, as I was basically using it as a place to write down some of the random thoughts that would occur to me during my explorations into the employment market. (I would always test myself by clicking “Save Draft” instead of “Publish” because I like living on the edge.) I’ve cleaned it up because I’ve been sharing parts of it with people I know who are on their career paths, and figure it could be of use to others. Of course, this is written by someone who is on the higher education IT leadership track, but it should have some relevance for anyone in the job hunt.
A disclaimer: I’m not looking for a new job at the moment. Anything written here is from the perspective of when I was looking for a new job, which was before I had a new job. I like my new job, a fact about which I’ll elaborate on in a few weeks.
I’ve now been an Assistant Vice President and Deputy CIO for just over a month. In some ways, it feels like no time has passed at all. In other ways, it feels like it’s been forever. Continue reading The first month
I have just a few weeks left at Drew. One of the things I keep realizing about this transition is that it’s something I’ve never done before:
Firmly in uncharted territory now.
— Mike Richichi (@chairthrower) February 22, 2016
But I had forgotten something when I tweeted this: As a child, I moved three times before I graduated high school, and my parents moved an additional time right after my graduation, and another time 2 years later while I was in college. As an adult I have moved to a new domicile 4 or 5 times as well. So I do have some experience with transitions, they’re just more personal than professional.
Every time I’ve moved, there would always come a point in the move–usually when the movers had packed everything up and the house was filled with nothing but the clutter of the move–when I didn’t want to be there anymore. There was something about that trigger that made my mind say “Yes, now, it’s time.”
I’m starting to feel that, but it’s not because I’ve physically packed up my office (I’m going to start that soon) but because I’m “packing up” my job. I’m making sure I’m giving things to other people to take on, deliberately not taking on most new things, watching as the organization makes the first steps into doing things without me. Soon, my job itself will be nothing but a cluttered house, empty except for the pieces that are too unimportant to deal with.
And that is when I will be completely ready to go.
None of this means I won’t miss the place or the people. Of course I will, and it will be very hard. But I’m reminded that there’s something about the nature of transitions that readies you for the next step, just in time for when you need it.
I’ve accepted the position of Assistant Vice President and Deputy Chief Information Officer at CUNY Baruch College. I start in April.
I’ve just passed my 23rd anniversary of working at Drew. At this point working at Drew will likely be more than half of my professional career, which was one of the many reasons I think I realized I had to take on a new position, so I could understand all the things you can only understand if you have worked in multiple places.
My new position will provide me a higher profile role, a larger staff to manage, a place at the table making institution-wide decisions, a chance to be an important part of a larger organization (not just Baruch but the entire CUNY system). I’m already digging into some of the new challenges and opportunities I will have. Sure, the commute will be a little more intense, but I’m hoping my “train time” will be productive–whether it’s a little extra sleep, a chance to do work, or even time spent recreationally on the computer so I can focus on my home life when I do get home. And I get a built in hour or so of walking every day, which means even on days I don’t get to the gym or out for a run (and I’ll be able to run along the East River Greenway) I’ll still be getting my daily exercise.
Of course, I will miss my friends and colleagues at Drew very much. However, as an alumnus of the institution, I will be around. I’m also still a 10-minute drive away, so hopefully I’ll get to visit frequently enough. In fact, it will be great to be connected to Drew “just” as an alumnus instead of “an alumnus and administrator.”
I’m looking forward to my new adventure. I’m going to learn so much and grow a lot as a person. Most importantly, I think I’m really going to be able to make a difference at my new institution.
Here’s to the future!
I’ve been in higher education for nearly 25 years now, and I’m finally doing something I’ve never done before.
Teaching a college course.
One thing I forgot to mention about Wednesday is that a few weeks before the conference I got an email from a video producer for EdTech Magazine (published by CDW) asking if I wanted to be interviewed for videos they were making about EDUCAUSE. I figured the only right answer to that question was “sure!” so I said yes. I got a call sheet with several questions on it and a warning that they would not have hair and makeup on site so to arrive camera ready. A few extra brushes of the hair, and a good shave were thus necessities in the morning.
I’ve been home for a while now and it’s a good time to collect my thoughts and musings about the conference. Continue reading EDUCAUSE 2015–Part 1
You’ll hear people talk about them a lot. People should be mentors. People should have mentors. People should both have and be a mentor.
I not only have a mentor, I have several people who I think of as mentors. Some are people I’ve worked with in one fashion or another. Some are colleagues I’ve known for a long time. Some are in the same phase of their career that I am; some are one or two steps ahead of me. All are people whose opinions I respect and value; and have been more than gracious with their time. In some cases, I’d like to think we’ve mentored each other. While I have a lot of professional relationships, not all of those people are ones I consider mentors. My mentors have given me professional advice, not just on a technical topic, but on the nuances of leadership. They’ve allowed me to speak confidentially. They’ve helped keep my career on track.
If I only had one mentor, I’d be missing out on a world of benefit. Here’s some reasons why you want to have many mentors: