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January 24, 2012
Another Year: At Work
How's it going, folks?
Work is slightly less busy in January, so I finally have a chance to say hello and reflect back on this past year, the first year in which I haven't really posted on this blog. Today I'll be reflecting on the professional changes I've made in the past year.
I'm still working at the university. My job continues to shift around a lot. The program I was working with is shutting down, which led to a shift for me to the more technical side of things when we changed our student information system software. Now I'm a Student Information System Specialist, whatever that means! I work on a lot of little projects related to all of the softwares that our office uses. One day I might be setting up course information so that if you took ENGL110A and failed it but then passed the class when it was under the course number ENGL112 the system will catch the repeat for your GPA. Another day I might be setting up complex rules to calculate your academic standing.
I started out with the intention of doing things like this full-time, but it was lacking in structure, and as it turned out, a coworker went on maternity leave and I stepped in to help with course scheduling; that turned into about a third of what I do. Course scheduling includes maintaining all of the course information in our system, data entering all the classes that get offered each term, exporting them to our classroom assignment software, finding rooms for every class, importing them back into our system, and then interfacing with tens of department contacts for all of the changes that happen each year. I've gotten into the techie side of things and learned a lot about how to improve what we do by using our softwares to their full potential. I also joined a board on campus that reviews proposals from groups wishing to put on major events on campus; it's been fun to network a little and know more about what's going on on campus - something very important when you need to be up-to-date about all of the classrooms and their availability.
Yet another coworker went on maternity leave, and I was designated as the fill-in for reporting. Reporting is a whole other beast that involves another software that connects to our system and collects snapshots of all of our student and course information. I construct reports in some rather clumsy software and then tweak the results to display correctly. It's more complicated than most people think it would be, and dealing with the people side of things (politics, expectation, lack of knowledge) has surprisingly been the biggest challenge of all. At any rate, I'm hoping that this year I'll start learning some SQL tricks that will help me in this area, so this ought to be yet another year full of learning.
Speaking of learning, we did a staff development day aback in November, and took the StrengthsFinder test to find our "signature themes". I was not very interested in doing this, but that's probably because one of my top ten themes is Individualization, which doesn't quite appreciate being labeled. At any rate, it was an opportunity to learn more about my coworkers and what we may or may not have in common. It was also an awkward experience when I had to give feedback to some folks and couldn't think of examples to agree with their results. So the process also turned out to be a growth experience for me in learning to speak the truth honestly but kindly. Well, since you're dying to know, my signature themes are Achiever, Connectedness, Responsibility, Relator, Learner, Harmony, input, Developer, Positivity, and Individualization. My number one theme was actually the biggest surprise, because I don't see myself as an achiever, but I did learn that I like to accomplish things in the work setting and like to conquer new things, even if I don't feel an undying drive to do them.
One fun thing I've gotten to do is join the team in working on our departmental website. I haven't worked on websites in a very long time, but I always enjoy doing it. We redesigned our site for content over the past few months. Hopefully we'll be going live with the new organization next week, and then later on this year our marketing department will give us an updated look.
Well, I think that's probably more than you wanted to know about my job, but it was good for me to reflect back on the year. It was a busy one for sure. It seems that I'm destined to be in a job that is always changing and providing learning experiences for me, and I enjoy that very much.
Yay! Jeri-blogging is back! I read every word…didn’t glaze over the “techie” stuff. ;)
About a month or two ago, my department did StrengthsFinder as well. Here are my top 5: Harmony, Consistency, Connectedness, Intellection, Belief
Nice, we have a couple in common! The people who administrated the test for us were given our full results, and after we were all so curious, they gave us our top 10. If I wanted to make an appointment I might see my whole 32, but I think I might fixate on the lower themes.