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 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!
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:
I’m inspired today by an offhand comment by the famous (in our circles) Bryan Alexander, who is a frequent keynote and guest speaker at conferences all over the world, and has a lot of stunning and evocative things to say about not just higher education information technology, but the state and future of higher education in general. If you’re not familiar with his work go check out his blogs and articles. Even if you don’t agree with them he will get your brain moving.
So perhaps it’s not surprising that an offhand comment on his Facebook got me thinking:
“I’m fascinated by how conference A/V is still flawed and failure-prone, everywhere.“