Your Second Home

colleagues

Doc Seidman Says:

…Anyone out there looking for the perfect job? I encourage you to read the following post from my colleague Lucy Capul about what you need to be looking for.

  • Once you start working, do you realize you spend more time at work than at home? You spend most of your time at the office, with your colleagues, in meetings, on the computer, or on the phone. Every industry and every company is different. But one thing is similar. Your “office,” or the place where you work, becomes your second home.

I recently had a conversation with two friends. One friend was having a hard time adjusting to the new boss micromanaging everything. This drastically changed the office culture for the worse. Another friend was interviewing for a possible new position which would require her to relocate to a new state. In these conversations, there was a common theme: The office culture.

If you are in the process of interviewing for that dream job after college, or are planning on relocating, one of the top questions you should ask at the end of the interview is: “What is the company culture/team dynamic?” This question, as well as other important questions to ask at the end of your interview are discussed in Affordable College Prep’s Career Development Advising Packages.

My friend who was having a difficult time adjusting to the new micromanaging director was considering moving to a different department or even changing jobs but felt she would have to start over from scratch. She spent so much time building up her position in that office she felt she it would be like starting over if she were to get a new job. The advice I gave her was that no matter where you go, whether you are promoted or even get a new job in a new company, you still need to learn from scratch. It was important for her to see if the change in company culture was worth staying or if it was something that would ultimately affect her personally and physically.

If you are in the same predicament, ask yourself, “Is the stressful environment worth staying?” Does it make you a better professional and person? Think about how you would feel at home. If you feel stressed at home, you start to declutter and do a little spring cleaning. Start “spring cleaning” your work by brainstorming what is important to you. Would you be able to grow in that environment? Is there something you can do to help to declutter the stressful environment? Can you speak to your boss about it? If not, remember this quote by Alexander Den Heijer, “When a flower does not bloom, you change the environment in which it grows, not the flower.”

My other friend interviewed with a major company and went into the interview excited. She felt this would be her way to a new job in new city with great salary. She was getting bored in her current city and felt a need for a change. Once she finished her three-hour interview, she felt confused. She didn’t feel like she fit in with the people interviewing her. She felt confused about the team structure and communication, two things very important to her. She felt that it was better for her to stay with her current company because the dynamic has improved a great deal in the last year. She would rather stay in her current position with her current salary than accepting a higher salary in a new place where she felt she could never feel at home.

Whenever I go into an interview, the number one question I make sure I ask is about the company culture. I spend so much time devoting my heart and soul into my career, spending time with my colleagues, I want to feel at home. This is important for every young job seeker to take note of. Where do you see yourself working? Even if you always dreamed of working at Vogue since you were a little girl or dreamed of working at the company that your family raves about, think about if it is right fit for YOU.

Even if you do get the job, you do have the option to decline. You do not need to accept every job offer that comes your way. Carefully consider if the company culture is right for you. Life is stressful already. Don’t let a difficult office environment add to the pressures of your daily life.

 

Your work environment becomes your second home. You spend your whole day there, sipping your coffee, eating lunch, and conversing with the same people every day. You grow up there in a way. You learn your mistakes, you hone your strengths, you identify your weaknesses, and you grow a thicker skin. You learn new technology and new etiquette as you meet new people every single day. The way you talk, act, sit, your verbal and body language are all molded by your surroundings. You want to be around a positive environment that makes you not only a better professional but a better person.

In my professional experience, I have encountered different types of company cultures. One culture may empower and invest in their employees while another culture bullies and manipulates their employees. In every scenario, I found that I look forward to the company culture that I would want to “come home” to as they are investing in me which in turn is investing in my future. I have turned down jobs from places where I used to work, despite being offered a higher salary. I did not enjoy their company culture.

Don’t pick the job for that higher salary, the title, the company association. Pick your new “second home.”

When you receive that new job offer, ask yourself, “Do I see myself coming home” to work every day?

Its 9 a.m. You are sipping your coffee. Feeling at home?

Lucy is the Director of Marketing and Career Development for Affordable College Prep. You can purchase her book, “Nine A.M. Coffee, Tea, or Snooze,” on Amazon.

 

Congratulations Graduate!

Mortorboard

Doc Seidman Says……

…….For college seniors, the month of May is something many have been waiting for.  The cold, blustery months of winter turn into the refreshing warmth of spring (except here in Florida), and college students throughout the country prepare to graduate. Graduation, or commencement, as it is called in academia, is an extraordinarily joyful time for students. And why not? They just spent the last four or so years sitting through tedious lectures, pretending to laugh at the professor’s boring jokes, and doing arduous class assignments. The thrill of walking across the commencement stage and throwing a mortarboard into the air in celebration is almost second to none. As a faculty member sitting in the audience, or as an administrator sitting on the stage, I, too was joyful and proud.

Some students learn the hard way that walking across the stage and celebrating with friends and family does not necessarily mean they have graduated. It simply means they have participated in the ceremony. The diploma comes sometime later, after the college has done its due diligence to make sure the graduation requirements have been fulfilled. It’s quite possible that there are students dressed in cap and gown, joyfully celebrating with their friends, who have yet to pass Statistics, or French, or Organic Chemistry, or Food Safety and Sanitation, or any other degree requirement. Don’t get too excited. It’s back to the classroom for you.

But for most everyone else, however, it is indeed a terrific accomplishment and a joyful time. It is something that will be with you forever and nobody can take away.

Unfortunately, many folks who start college don’t finish. In fact, recent statistics have shown that only 55% of four-year college students complete their degree within six years. At least 40% never graduate at all. If you are a student classified as a demographic minority, the chances of completing your college degree are even lower. Only thirty eight percent of African American students (46% of women and 35% of men) will complete their degree. Hispanic students do a bit better with a 46% completion rate. As a comparison, 62% of white students complete their degrees in six-years while Asian students perform the best with a 63% completion rate.

Are you the first in your family to go to college? Congratulations! But sadly, around half of you won’t finish. Do you come from a lower income family? Although government resources help, not having all the money you need is a significant hindrance as only 43% of you will graduate. Were you raised in a foster family? Your completion rate trails the entire field at only 14%.

There are many reasons for this. Money is perhaps the biggest one. Many underfunded students soon learn that they don’t have the resources to complete a four-year degree without an unwanted overwhelming debt burden. Many students get full and part time jobs while in college, but having multiple part-time jobs, or even just one full-time job, can be detrimental. The workplace culture soon supersedes the academic culture and next thing you know, classes are skipped, assignments are missed, and academic woes just pile on.

Since we are discussing money, not surprisingly, students attending private colleges have a better completion rate than their public-school counterparts (66% to 59%). Private schools, with a higher tuition and reduced class size, tend to be more nurturing. The professor may reach out to the students who seem to be fading away. Support services are more attentive too. The lines should be shorter to talk to whichever student support specialist is needed. It may not seem like much, but it helps.

The “For Profit” schools probably do more harm than good. For those of you, or someone you know, who is enticed by one of these heavily advertised universities, note that if you enroll, less than one in four of you will actually complete. They can also be expensive. Most “For Profits” make it easy to enroll and even easier borrow money. Whether or not you complete your degree, if you borrow money to  go there, or any other college, you need to pay it back. And if you fail to graduate and have a lot of debt….ouch! Not good.

Sorry to ruin the upcoming graduation party, but college can certainly be a case of “let the buyer beware.”  Whereas we would all like to think that attending college is certainly different than buying a used car, in many ways it is not. The buyer’s euphoria to find a good deal on a car might mask the deficiencies the used vehicle may have. It car might start out smoothly, but it is highly possible that as the years go on the flaws show themselves. And if you don’t thoroughly “check under the hood” before you buy it, the problems might arise more quickly.

Future college students and their families really need to “check under the hood” of the colleges they are considering attending. Check the graduation and retention rates. Investigate the advising systems in place. Kick the tires too while you are at it. Visit the campus. Talk to administrators and faculty. Make sure your future student will be well positioned to succeed and graduate. And perhaps most important, take a realistic view of the amount of debt that will be incurred. The truth may hurt, but a smart decision beforehand should help to prevent the pain of debt without graduation.

To the 50% or so that our truly graduating, all the best. Congratulations on your accomplishment. It’s a good one. Hopefully, the college taught you how to make smart decisions. Something that will serve you well in the years to come.

 

 

So, You Want to Teach College?

Image result for college teacher clipart

Doc Seidman Says:

…Back in the day when I was an undergraduate student, I looked at my professors for the most part as bloviating egocentric mouthpieces. Although that was a harsh opinion, I also speculated that they had good lives. They would spend a few hours a week teaching, a few hours in their offices, make a monthly appearance or two in a committee, but spend many hours traveling the world consulting on whatever their specialty was. Who wouldn’t want that life?

I wasn’t aspiring to be a part of the college teaching profession in those days, but the thought of it was tucked away in the back corners of my brain. Instead, I choose to begin my career in Hospitality and Food Service.

Twenty years later, with cuts and permanent scars over my arms and hands, chronically aching feet, and more gray hair than brown hair, I started to think about a career change. The college teaching gig slowly moved from the back of my mind to the front. I recalled the thoughts I had about my old college professors and began seriously thinking about pursing this new line of work. The one big problem, however, was, how does one even begin? How do you take a career that was predominantly spent in the rough and tumble world of quick service management and parlay it into a more glamorous professorship? Was that even possible? Moreover, I had zero teaching experience. I had never taught a class in my life.

Back then, the Internet was just taking shape and there was no Google or Amazon that would guide me. I had to go by my own intuition. I knew the first step would be a master’s degree of some kind, so I enrolled at a local private university and began pursuing my master’s degree. I did so for the experience of going back to school and learning new things as much as for a possible pathway into college teaching. It was clearly the right thing to do as my observant dean saw some teaching potential in me and mentored me along. Yada, yada, yada, several years and two degrees later I found myself amongst the college teaching fraternity. Now, I too became that bloviating, egocentric mouthpiece with global consulting opportunities at my fingertips.

You would have to ask my students as to whether or not I was a bloviating egocentric (I’d like to think not), but I did enjoy a rewarding career in academia. I did get to see a good part of the world as the business of academia took me to Australia, South Africa, Thailand and Singapore. My experience was just about everything I thought it would be back in my undergraduate daydreaming days. Whereas I truly enjoyed my food service career, it was no comparison to my twenty plus years in academia.

So, you want to teach college too? Are you wondering not just if you can do it, but how you can achieve it?

For nine plus years in my college tenure, I served as an academic chairman. As head of the college I hired many teachers. They came in all levels of age, experience and ability. Some were older. Many were younger. Some had previous teaching experience and others did not. Some turned out to be excellent teachers while others, not so much. As a teacher myself, I was willing to train newbies. I enjoyed teaching teachers and didn’t mind giving someone their first job in the college classroom.

It can be easier than you think to get a job, at least part time, teaching college students. All too often a chair scrambles at the last minute to find someone…..anyone…. to teach a class. If he or she stumbles across your resume at the right time, you may get the call, whether you have previously taught a class or not.

Being a successful teacher on the other hand, is not as easy. As all college professors have learned, being effective in the job is more than just committee work, office hours, international travel, and lectures.  It involves carefully prepared lesson plans that utilize a variety of teaching techniques.  It also requires a commitment to accurate record keeping and other administrative responsibilities. Advising students of varying backgrounds and intellect, is also a must. There’s much more to the job than meets the eye.

During my tenure as chairman, I kept a journal. I took notes of my experiences and waited for the day when I could share them in a way that would be helpful to others. I look at all the aspiring college professors to be out there and want to help. So, you want to teach college? I wrote and published a step by step guide for how to do so.

My book, So, You Want to Teach College? Is available on Amazon. I didn’t write it to get rich. I wrote it to help others, just like I am writing this now. There may be one person out there reading this who aspires at some point to be a college teacher but doesn’t quite know how to go about it. I hear you. I was there. I went through it and I want to help.

So, you want to teach college? From building an effective resume, to how and when to apply, to how to get your class set up for success, let me show you how. Whether or not you bloviate is up to you.