“What are you planning to do when you graduate?”, is a question that I often ask undergraduate and graduate students. Responses are as wide ranging as the student population itself. There is the predictable “Good question”, the more resigned “I don’t know” and the more altruistic variants on “save the world — make a difference”. Most though have a common goal, either continue on in their academic pursuits or…..get a job. A recent article (published by BBC) on a study done at University of Westminster revealed many of the experiences I have had over the years are not unique, but rather data points in the much larger phenomenon of recent graduates not being able to find a job. (article here)
Before coming to Washington University in St. Louis almost ten years ago, I spent 17 years in the private sector, working as a project manager in the civil engineering\architecture business. Part of that time was as a self employed consultant, part working for a major engineering software provider, and part working directly for engineering companies. I feel extremely fortunate to have had the real-world project experiences that have shaped my professional career. All of these experiences had a common denominator. You must bring value to the job.
Sharing these experiences have led students and recent graduates to my door to ask for my help in finding gainful employment after graduation. They come with CV in hand and want to know what to change and how to modify content to get a job. They are crushed to discover that almost no one cares which lab they worked in during college, what their GPA was, or who they were a TA for (and how many times). They make the changes only to find that it’s still not enough to land their dream job….or any job. The disconnect between resume and interview is real. read more…
There is little debate in academic librarianship over our role in contributing to student success. The year ahead is likely to see more debate over what it should mean, how we demonstrate that contribution, and to what extent data is used to accomplish it.
For most of my academic library career the holy grail was collaboration with faculty. In addition to feeding a desire to gain some equal footing with faculty in contributing to student learning, those collaborative efforts brought a sense of purpose to my effort to help students learn. While connecting and building relationships with faculty is still critical to an individual liaison librarian’s success, my observation is that it is now somewhat secondary to the academic library’s collective ability to enable student success. Making that the focus of the academic library enterprise would certainly demonstrate support of what has emerged as the top priority of our institutions. In 2018, there was a clear sense of urgency around student retention and graduation—always a fundamental purpose of higher education, but heightened by an increase in at-promise student enrollment. If signs during the course of 2018 are an indicator, then the debate over how academic libraries do or do not contribute is sure to emerge as a major issue for 2019. Read article
We live in a world of constant change, where skill sets can become obsolete in just a few years, you have consistently upgrade and reinvent yourself.
“Skill is the unified force of experience, intellect and passion in their operation.”
John Ruskin could not have defined skill any better.
When you strive to consistently improve your skills, you enjoy more success in life and at work.
Don’t give up on lifelong learning. Ever.
Research shows that it pays beyond the skills you acquire.
More than ever before, a challenged, stimulated brain may well be the key to a vibrant later life.
“Every skill you acquire doubles your odds of success,” says Scott Adams
Start spending time preparing for the future even when there are more important things to do in the present and even when there is no immediately apparent return to your efforts.
Begin to plant seeds every day that will yield the best and most fulfilling life now and in the future.
These valuable skills can radically improve your life. They may not seem earth shattering at first glance, but you’ll be surprised at just how much they can affect your life and career now and for the rest of your productive life.
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“We’re like family here.”
It’s a line that seems enshrined in the collective unconsciousness of American workers. We spend more than 2,000 hours per year with our co-workers, so it seems only natural that we should think of them as family. We celebrate birthdays together, honor anniversaries, hang out at happy hours … these people are like a second family. Right?