One final exam and one paper away from finishing my first year in graduate school means it is time to play catch up. I have to catch you all up on a lot so I will catch you up on a little bit today and this will focus on work.
I think one of the best things about the MLHR program is that it allows enough time for students to easily maintain a part time job as well. Some of my classmates are able to have HR internships during the year which I think helps them in a lot in the classroom. I am fortunate enough to work at Fisher in the Office of Career Management. While this has helped me with my own job search skills, I’ve also had the opportunity to develop many other skills which I want to encourage everyone as you come into this program and a new job to do. Recognize the skills you can learn and put in the effort to develop them.
I think one of the most important things I’ve taken away from the job this year is an incredible improvement in my public speaking skills. I had to give a lot of presentations this past year about job searching, resumes, and interviewing. I remember the first time I gave a presentation to an undergraduate class I was nervous, stumbling over words, probably not making sense, talking too fast etc. and the student feedback reflected this. This quarter I ended up giving the same presentation again and the feedback was excellent, I felt confident, and-the kicker- I even liked it. I think this will help a lot in future jobs because being able to speak well in public and in front of groups is an important skill in most fields, not just business.
I also learned how important it is for me to be in a job where I interact with people. My main responsibilities in the office are meeting with undergraduate students for mock interviews and individual appointments. I love it because every appointment is different, every student is different, and it makes the day fly by. There are some days however when a student shows up late or unprepared that I want to throw them out the window but otherwise I love them all.
I think the most important thing however that I have taken away from this job is the understanding of the type of work environment I need to be in for the long term. From this job and the job I had before returning to graduate school I’ve realized that you know I’m comfortable in my place of work when I have no trouble singing little tunes to entertain co-workers, or write emails to Santa on a co-worker’s behalf, or look forward to spending time with them outside of work. It is a close knit, supportive office dynamic that I need to make me a better more passionate worker which has let me to question which path to take in the long run. After all of my classes this year and reflecting on what has made me happiest, I’ll be interested to see which direction- corporate or higher education- I will choose to take in June of 2012. If I had to pick right this instant I honestly do not know, but now that I’ve seen so fully the importance of being happy at work, it is something that will be a top priority for me in my job search.
Up next time– what I’ve taken away from school and tips for those incoming first years.