Working Girl

As I mentioned in my last post, I went to a party last weekend and met a whole slew of new people. As a result I answered many of the same questions: yes, I have kids,two and six, boy and girl, new to St. Paul, no I don’t stay home, I’m a Director of Student Services.

At that last one, I usually get a smile and I can sort of see people trying to think if they know what that means, in terms of jobs. What do I actually do all day? I suspect a lot of us have jobs like that. There are certain jobs, of course, that people assume they know what your work is all about: stay-at-home parent, teachers, doctors, lawyers, barista, plumber. People may not be right about what they think those jobs are like, but they have some basic grasp based on title alone. But a lot of jobs, like mine, have pretty vague titles. I don’t blame anyone for not having a frame of reference for how I spend my time when I am out of the house.

I was thinking about this today at work as it was one of those days when I found my own job interesting and satisfying. It is a pleasant feeling to think of what I do as kind of meaningful and as a good match for my skills. Today I:

– answered about 47 emails of varying degrees of importance and returned three phone calls (this is the daily stuff of life part of my job).

– worked with our administrative assistant on the planning of a 350+ person conference that will happen in about two weeks

– sent a profanity laden text message to my boss (who is out-of-town) about a work situation that is A) totally messed up and B) not something I am going to talk about online. Felt happy again that my boss is awesome.

– Responded to a call from a college dean about a contagious illness on campus which involved looking up information on the CDC website and drafting an appropriate message to send out to the campus.

– Responded to a call from a university vice-president regarding an issue related to a student which involved looking up relevant policies and figuring out who to balance a student need and a faculty concern.

– Worked on the early stages of planning a conference in April.

– Met with a colleague to prepare a presentation for high school students on how to transition to college.

– Continued working with a group of college presidents on drafting a survey instrument for an ongoing research project.

-Talked with our legal counsel on an interpretation of the American’s with Disabilities Act in light of a faculty member’s concern about academic freedom.

It was a good day.

I’m curious, do you think people “get” your job or how you spend your days?


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