Taking the Scenic Route

by Lisa Hill

Success = Finish grad school + Get a full-time job with benefits

My post-graduation plan was flawless.  With a Master’s degree and two years of graduate assistantship experience under my belt I was sure that I would secure a job.  I began my job search around December 2015 with the goal to have an offer when I walked across the stage for graduation on April 30, 2016.  On July 12, 2017, I began my first full-time job.  What happened?  I chose to enjoy the scenic route.

By July 2016 I was still searching for the right fit when a colleague contacted me from my alma mater.  I was affiliated with the office throughout my undergraduate years as a participant, student leader, and student employee, and remained connected throughout my graduate years.  The colleague was leaving to attend grad school full-time and the office needed an interim staff member for 6 months.  The timing was perfect.

My first thoughts - Hell yes! I love the school, the office, and the town.  I have friends in the area so this would be more of a homecoming than a new start.  This is my career coming full circle; I have to take this opportunity!

My secondary, and more rational thoughts – This job is temporary and there are no benefits.  In six months I would be back to the job search, ugh.  I’m supposed to be looking for fulltime employment, not a “for fun” job.

I had set expectations for myself and this opportunity did not align with my plan, yet I still wanted to say yes.  So I did.  Thankfully I still had health insurance through my parents, I had friends in the area that helped with my temporary housing needs, and I didn’t have dependents or a partner to factor into my choices.  I had the privilege to say yes and take this offer, even if it didn’t align with my initial timeline.

By the end of January, I was back at the job search.  Searching for employment isn’t my favorite task, yet I stand by my choices.  I have my entire life to work at jobs because I have to; this was a unique opportunity to work a job because I wanted to.  The expectations I set in grad school were unnecessary and would have held me back.  There isn’t one route to success; there isn’t even one definition or vision of success.  If I had subscribed to the expectations of finding full-time employment with benefits, I would have missed the opportunity to return to my alma mater.  I would have missed the opportunity to reconnect with my motivation for entering the field of student affairs.

I recognize that my choice wouldn’t be possible for everyone but the lesson of defining our own success and setting our own expectations, free from unnecessary external influences, is widely applicable.  We encourage our students to find their own version of success; maybe we should follow our own advice.

Are any readers taking the scenic route?

Student Affairs - the First Years

Phasellus facilisis convallis metus, ut imperdiet augue auctor nec. Duis at velit id augue lobortis porta. Sed varius, enim accumsan aliquam tincidunt, tortor urna vulputate quam, eget finibus urna est in augue.

1 comment :

  1. What a great opportunity to give back your your alma mater! I haven't taken any scenic routes, but I'm thinking about it as I figure out what I'm going to do for my doctoral plans. Best of luck!


Don't be afraid! We love to hear from our readers!