Posted September 10, 2012 by Joseph Hayes 

Professional Transitions

This post was inspired by one of my favorite movies (Old School) and actors (Will Ferrell). Watch this clip to understand the following.

Well, I guess deep down I’m feeling a little confused. I mean suddenly you become a director, and you’re supposed to be this entirely different guy. I don’t feel different.

I mean take yesterday for example. My associate director and I were in the food court having lunch, which was lovely, and I happen to look over at a certain point during the meal and see a group of student employees chatting, and I found myself wondering what they are talking about. What’s the scoop?

Odds are they are probably just discussing the setup sheets, but I started to think maybe they were discussing a new band, maybe something funny on YouTube. Maybe it’s something really cool that I don’t even know about.

I don’t where I was going with that. I guess what I am trying to say is that now that I am a director, I’m definitely feeling a little freaked out that it may be harder for me to connect with students because my direct access is limited due to my new administrative leadership role.

In all seriousness, I am delighted with my new position as the director of a college union. It is the realization of a career goal I set for myself some years ago, and I am forever grateful to my colleagues and former students who were integral in my professional maturation. Getting a new job, getting married, or any other large life transition each pose their own set of challenges.

How have you successfully transitioned positions? What words of advice can you provide others who have made a transition or aspire to?

Just like in the movie clip, remember The Commons is a safe place—a place where we can feel free to share our feelings. Think of The Commons as a nest, a tree of trust and understanding. We can say anything here!

Joseph Hayes

Joseph Hayes is the Assistant Dean of Students at Indiana University-Purdue University–Indianapolis.


Brilliant post as always. And I love the connection to the cinematic tour de force that is "Old School." I have experienced a similar transition moving to our event services area, after four years working with student organizations. Working with new colleagues, and even working with old colleagues in a new way, has been interesting and educational. I also feel a bit removed from the student experience, but my advising work with a couple of groups keeps me "hip" to what's new. For instance, just today I learned what Gangnam Style means, and that I do not have it. I have also enjoyed the opportunity to work with newer professionals, seeing our operation from their perspective and working to improve the good things we already do. Knowing that others are in transition helps ease that anxiety as well, particularly here in the nest of the Commons. You're my boy, Joe:
Jeff Pelletier
Comment posted 09/10/2012 10:34 AM
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