Where Logic Meets Love

My Work -- An Update

Monday, May 17, 2010

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 My Work -- An Update | Faith Permeating Life
I want to revisit this post about my job because so much has changed since I wrote it.

The first big change, which I've mentioned previously, is that I now have a steady freelance copyediting job (which is what I should be working on right now...). I am connected into a network of authors who love my work, and I will probably be working with books for a long time to come. That is exciting to me. It also makes me feel like I haven't deserted my dream of working in publishing, even though my full-time job is in higher ed.

Another huge change in my work is that back in October, after being very vocal about my desire for more projects to work on, I started doing work for our learning assessment department -- first very basic, menial tasks, but increasingly more complex and important projects. The director made a big effort to get me access to a computer with SPSS so I could do more meaningful analyses, and he's been able to take on a lot more projects with my help. My boss has finally become aware of all the work I've been doing, and at my recent performance review said she wanted to review the responsibilities shared across the department to allow me to do more of this kind of work.

This is a help with two of the points in my previous post -- I have a lot less downtime now, and I feel like I'm putting my graduate education to work. Actually, a third point as well -- I'm able to help a lot of different people, and a lot of my work has a clear benefit for the quality of education for our students.

I've become really involved with student course evaluations and getting trained on our new evaluation software, and I'm trying to be a vocal advocate for the importance of course evaluations and allowing students to be part of the process of crafting good evaluation questions. I've done a lot of work recently looking at the research on course evaluations, so I feel educated enough to talk intelligently with anyone who wants to dismiss them as "an outlet for disgruntled students" or something like that.

Probably the most amazing transformation, and one that has only come in the past month or so, is the change in how people in my office view my capabilities -- not everyone, but not just one or two people anymore. My job, officially, is designed to be low-man-on-the-totem-pole -- I'm the one who gets the tasks that are too menial, monotonous, or time-consuming for people "higher up" to waste their time with. Everyone else in the office has the power to dump on delegate to me. Now, suddenly, people are saying to me, "Let's find someone else to do that -- we don't want to waste your time. Your time could be better spent on other projects." That's amazing to me! Especially because I'm perfectly happy doing time-consuming tasks if they support other people.

The most recent change in my job is that my boss -- who, ever since I got mono, constantly looks at me like I'm going to die -- suggested I start working at home two days a week, starting this week. I worked at home last Thursday and it made a huge difference. No commute meant I didn't have to walk anywhere, I didn't have to get up so early, I didn't even shower or change out of my PJs, just ate breakfast and brushed my teeth. And Mike is done with his internship, so he's here to make me lunch and refill my water. I've gotten better about asking him to do things for me, and he's gotten better about offering. He was a little put out about not being able to play his video game while I was working, but once I finished the report that required a lot of concentration, I was able to put in my headphones and let him play his game.

I believe it's true what people told me when I was job-searching: You can get a job that's not your ideal job, prove your abilities to the people you work with, and end up doing something you love. Granted, I'm not doing evaluation and assessment work full time yet, but as soon as that's a possibility organizationally and financially for my department, it sounds like everyone wants me to. And that is awesome.

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