Posted November 5, 2014 by Missy Burgess 

The New Card

October marked one year in my new position. Some would say that means I no longer have the “new card.” Although, one of my colleagues says that you have three years to feel confident in your position, so I think I’m going to hang on to it just a little bit longer! After reflecting on the last year, I thought I would share a few lessons I have learned.Learned

  • Supervising full-time staff is hard work! In my last position, I had the opportunity to supervise a variety of graduate students and was fairly confident supervising full-time staff would be even easier. I realized that the balance of granting trust and autonomy to truly capable and competent individuals while still answering to the request for details from those above me is in fact quite challenging. My desire to immediately jump in and solve a problem or help with an event had to be tempered to realize that the process of allowing others to solve those problems or work through issues is just as important to their development as it was to mine when I was in their shoes.
  • Unexpected events can completely change the course of direction. After several crises related to student activities and events occurred on our campus, a large portion of my time was committed to assisting in the research, design, and implementation of a new late-night protocol for special events. It wasn’t necessarily in the plans when I took the position, but the need to respond was great, so we made the time to make it happen.
  • Surround yourself with people who care. Approximately six months into my position, my stepmom became quite ill and passed away. I witnessed my father’s employer of more than 30 years tell him that he had exceeded his vacation and sick time for the year and could take additional time, but he would not be guaranteed a position when he returned. On the other hand, my staff and colleagues of only six months allowed me to take the time I needed, reached out in care and concern, and covered for me wherever needed. While I would never wish anyone to have the same experience, it is a reminder why I love working in this field! I will definitely pay it forward.

I finished my first year still believing I had made the right move in accepting the offer I did the year before, so I am counting that as a win! I look forward to more years, and more lessons learned, as I begin year two.

What lessons have you learned in the last year?

Missy Burgess

Missy Burgess is the Associate Director for Student Involvement at University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh.

Missy supervises student leadership and involvement staff in the Reeve Memorial Union, including volunteer service, student organizations and emerging programs, Reeve Union Board, leadership, diversity and inclusion, and greek life. She holds a bachelor’s from Southern Illinois University–Edwardsville, a master’s from Kansas State University, and a Ph.D. in educational leadership from the University of North Dakota.


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