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"...another reason I'm intrigued with the hanged of Salem, especially the women, is that a number of them aroused suspicion in the first place because they were financially independent, or sharp-tongued, or kept to themselves. In other words, they were killed off for the same sort of life I live right now but with longer skirts and fewer cable channels." Sarah Vowell, The partly cloudy patriot.


Admin at an R1

It's interesting moving from being a PhD student to being in administration. Interesting too that my primary blog connections are with students and faculty, and hearing some of the complaints about admin staff.

I'm good at what I do, which makes the termination of my job all the harder. I have developed some really good skills over the past year and a half, and have really come to love some of what I do. I work in academic medicine, and find the culture of medicine to be fascinating. I also find the study of medicine to be involving and stimulating. I am in a field in which I have no background whatsoever, but I have learned a ton and have become a pretty good medical/science writer in this job. I've also become really good at marketing and communications for academic medicine and really good at bringing in money (I've brought in more than 5 times my salary in grants - which you'd think would give me some job security, no?).

On the job-seeking side of things, it's really too bad I didn't get to have a little more time in this job as I would be well positioned to advance and to find something that really fits my skills well and that pays well too. Jobs at that level typically require a few years of experience. I think I could do it, but convincing anyone to take a risk in this economy is not easy (if any of you have ideas on how to do so, let me know - esp. in a cover letter).

I have a second interview next week. I'm not sure how many people they are asking to come again, and it is also not clear if they will be allowed to hire. There's a hiring freeze at our school right now (so much for education and healthcare being the only fields not failing financially right now!!! Which is what they keep saying on the news), and so they have to get special dispensation for this hire. It works in my favor that I would be an internal hire as it won't cost the university any more money - but it's possible that my rivals are also internal hires.

The guy who would be my boss called me last week and said that some were concerned that I would be bored in the position. I said I wouldn't - but honestly, I worry about that too. The guy I would work for seems great and really wants someone smart and creative who can really help him advance his unit. The position does not currently involve development, communications, and marketing - but it sounds like it could, and that that would make him very happy. For example, he wants to connect with alumni, which is something I have wanted to do in my current position but really lack the time to do so.

But here's the thing - the things he'd ideally like in someone in that position requires skills and intelligence - but the pay for the position is pretty low (the high end of the scale is more than $3000 less than I make now, and I'm underpaid in my department!!!), and I think they consider that level of position to be fairly secretarial in that department (whereas in our department, the secretaries are civil service - but many departments are getting rid of their civil service staff because they are hard to fire and often have low skills).

It's funny because academics and academic physicians want their admin staff to be more like them - smart enough to keep up with them and able to handle anything with little supervision. In academic medicine this may be even more true because physicians don't have time to explain things and the stakes for getting things right are so high (due to the demands of patient care). But, often there is just no money for that level of skill. My current boss and I often joke that it takes an almost PhD to do well in my position due to all the stuff I need to know and need to do (for example, helping with promotion and tenure requires a keen knowledge of academia and research/journals/publications).

I have hopes that if I get this job (and if they can at least match my current salary - though I'd have to accept it even if they don't, most likely*) that I will find it to be a good match. The man for whom I'd work seems calm and smart - the former trait would be refreshing. The department is known for being a really good place to work with minimal drama and with an incredibly smart department chair. She is also a dean, and is well-known and extremely respected.

So my thought is that even if the job is not perfect, it would be a good environment (which would be such a nice change), with good people, in a field of medicine that actually interests me tremendously.

*I applied last week for a job that would be perfect for me - it is doing much of what I do now (marketing, communications, education) but in my field (violence) and working for someone who also got kicked out of my program. The problem is that the deadline for applications isn't until mid-January, and I'm worried they won't even start looking at applications until then! I plan to contact them if I get a job offer from this other place to see if I can push it a little - because it would seriously be perfect. The only problem is that it is in a non-profit - and I think it would be really hard and sad for me to leave academia.


At 10:42 PM, Blogger Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

Good luck with the job -- I think you are probably right to take a less than great job within a great department. Once you get there, you never know what is going to come up to use your talents.

At 9:35 AM, Blogger Seeking Solace said...

Sometimes taking a less paying job at a great place wil lead to better things. If anything, you will gain some great skills and some new contacts.

Best of luck!


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