Other Duties as Assigned

I think it would be fair to say that when job searching, we look for the responsibilities that we are most qualified for and ones that can also help us gain valuable experience. Even though all of these responsibilities will look different for each individual, there is that one bullet point that always seems to be reoccurring. It’s usually the very last phrase that simply reads “And other duties as assigned”. Don’t be fooled, no matter how they phrase it, it all holds the same hodge-podge of connotations that require us to go above, below, and straight up outside of our typical job responsibilities. Let’s be real, a job in student affairs can often leave us susceptible into doing the most random tasks that I’d like to categorize as the “they-didn’t-teach-me-in-grad-school” responsibilities. So in a way to reassure that we’ve all been in those awkward situations, I asked my conglomerate of student affairs peeps to share some of their craziest “other duties as assigned”. 

“Driving a tractor to till a field and losing my wedding ring in the process.”

“Walking around with a red wagon collecting branches so an organization could have a barn fire.”

“Digging through the trash to find a guys wedding ring.”

“Sit as a judge for a multicultural (almost talent) show. I felt like I was an American Idol judge.”

“Coach bus undercar bag handler.”

“I got put on the board of directors for a First Night in our city. I was the youngest person on the board by 60 years...”

“Detective when things get stolen in the union.”

“Skunk carcass remover ... so not kidding ... a skunk died on the challenge course and a bird ate some of it but we had to go remove it. GROSS!”

“Making billing calls to freshmen who still owed tuition three weeks before the semester began. I felt like a bill collector!”

“Once I was the elevator boy for the Dalia Lama. Also- a few weeks ago I had to investigate a missing thong that was hanging from our ceiling as (allowed) advertisement. I started the conversation with my boss with ‘Just following up about the thong’."

“"Tow" truck driver... Who knew pulling students cars out of the snow would become a regular duty?”

“Mop up the floors in the laundry room of a FY hall - over and and over again!”

“I slept in a homeless shelter as part of a learning community course we taught.”

“There was a bat in a res hall once and my supervisor and I had to capture it. He knocked it down with a broom (it was hanging upside down, chilling), I ran and covered the bat with a bucket, slid a plate-like thing under, and ran outside and released it. The bat was terrifying.”

“Organize and prepare to teach (and am currently teaching) and social justice/spoken word course.”

“Washing about 30 tablecloths for the info fair tables at orientation. I think pretty much everything related to orientation is other duties as assigned...”

“I've assembled display boards, judged competitions, captured/released insects, and got items off of high shelves.”

As you can see, we do get asked to do some pretty wacky things within and outside of our job responsibilities. I hope this gave you the chance to see that you are not alone in the weird requests that we are asked to do. Clearly we do it because we love the profession, but who know maybe you’ll discover a new talent or potential back up job in the process. If not any of the above, then I hope this gave you a good laugh!

Kittens and Puppies,

Kim Pho

Student Affairs - the First Years

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