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Taking Care of Your Career Discussion Session NOTES

Here is a recap of the Taking Care of Your Career discussion session led by Greg Anderson from the University of Chicago. The notes are from Ron McGettrick - - Thanks, Ron for providing these for the MWRC10 proceedings.

There are some great take-aways from this discussion and I've included a link to the professional development plan document.


Taking Care of Your Career

1.      Introduction – Greg.  Greg opened up the session and announced that Wendy Woodward, Director, Technology Support Services, Northwestern University could not be in attendance today due to a family emergency.

2.      Orientation – Greg. Greg asked everyone in the room to move chairs in a circle and then mentioned that this presentation will be conducted using group involvement. He then mentioned he will be a facilitator and everyone in the room will be utilized in the discussion to assist and give their experiences. Greg then asked everyone in the room to introduce themselves.  Everyone then one by one introduced themselves.

3.      What people want to learn? – Greg. Greg asked the group to supply him with question they want addressed in the session.  The group asked for 8 questions:

   i.      How to handle your career in reorganization?

   ii.      How to move from a part time to a full time position?

   iii.      How do I know my degree is valued?

   iv.      How do I get out of a job rut?

   v.      How do you make your own career path?

   vi.      How do you know if you made it especially if there are no standards?

   vii.      How do I start a mentorship program?

   viii.      How to leverage current position to obtain future dream job?

4.      Mentorship Program Discussion – Everyone.  Greg asked the room for ideas on what people have seen as far as mentorships.  Some university mentioned that their organization had no formal processes others mentioned they have a formal process.  Several universities that had a formal process mentioned that it fosters positive experiences for everyone involved and encouraged everyone to either be a mentor or mentor someone.  Greg mentioned that there are two types of mentorship processes out there: Formal and Informal.  Greg also mentioned that mentors should not be in the formal chain of command so there is open and honest communication.  Greg mentioned that you should find someone that has made a positive impact in your career and invest time with that person to establish a relationship with them for the long term.

5.      Job Rut / Make Your Own Career Path Discussion – Everyone. Greg asked how someone can get out of Job Rut.  Several mentioned that being in a rut or not are all on attitude. Greg asked the group how many people have peaked in their career, does their organization listen to them.  Greg gave positive ideas to get of a rut:

a.      Create and Individual Development Plan for their career.

b.      Perform a job swap session for a couple days, weeks or months

c.       Complete a job internship in another department in your organization

d.      Apply for a job within your organization.  This will force you to update resume and reflect on accomplishment and also tell you what skills and skill set you have and still need to obtain. 

6.      How to Leverage Current Position Discussion – Everyone.  Some suggestion to leverage on to help you get to your dream job:

   i.      Use your performance review session at end of year to tell your chain of command not only your accomplishments but what you are capable of.

  ii.      Speak up in your organization, have confidence and step out and take a more proactive lead.  The more noticeable you are the more a chance you will have to influence others.

7.      How Do You Know You Made It Discussion? – Greg.  Greg mentioned that there is myth in the industry that career is a linear path, that you start low, then get to a manager then director and so on.  Instead your career is based upon being at the right moment, at the right time with the right skills and skill sets. Several people in room mentioned you must be open to possibilities and you should on a regular basis reflect and take a moment to where you at now and where you want to go. Greg suggested:

  i.      Write a note for yourself on where you want to be in 6 months.  Put it away and then in 6 months pull it out and do an assessment.

  ii.      Writing down is a positive step of taking charge of your career.

8.      How to Handle Your Career in Reorganization? – Everyone. Several people gave their experiences on their organizations with reorganization and how they were handling their careers.  Here is some suggestions that people gave:

  i.      Listen to your senior management and align your goals with the organization.

  ii.      Step out of your comfort zone and get out and get to know people.

  iii.      Speak up and tell people what you can do and what you want.

  iv.      Take advantage of training opportunities and ask your supervisor after being trained how the organization can utilize new training. 

9.      Handout – Creating a Professional Development Plan – Greg.  Greg handed out a handout and suggested for everyone to do the Pinnacle Worksheet and Foothill Worksheets.  He suggested that doing this worksheet will show you what you are passion at and what drains you.

10.  3 Top Things You Should Do For Your Career – Greg.  Greg mentioned 3 thing you should do on a regular basis:

  i.      Take someone to Lunch.  Greg mentioned to take someone to lunch who has helped you in your career and say thank you.  This can be used to foster long term long relationships.

ii.      Be Out There.  Greg mentioned that you must believe things will happen, be confident and make sure you are visible in your organization.

 iii.      Reputation.  Greg mentioned that you must remember your reputation is key to your future work.  Your reputation is not owned by you rather your customers and peers own it.  You must be conscious at all times how you handle situations, how your treat people and how you complete your tasks.  Your reputation is what will make or break you and this is something you should guard and protect at all times.

11.  Take 30 Seconds – Greg.  Greg asked the group for 30 seconds of silence to reflect on where there want to be in the career and where want to go.  He encourages everyone to take charge of their careers.

12.  Evaluation – Greg.  Greg asked everyone to complete the Educause evaluation and thanked everyone for attending.


1.      After conference suggested everyone to use the Creating a Professional Development Plan document to create a plan for their career.

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