Saturday, August 7, 2010

a decade at UMD

Ten years ago today, I began my career in higher education at the University of Maryland. On that day, I never thought I'd still be here--in the same office, even--ten years later. But, three titles later, I don't have one job responsibility today in common with my first position, which is a good thing. Maybe I haven't gained a breadth of institutional experiences, but I have grown professionally in the past decade.

Numerous aspects of my job and office have made it impossible for me to leave. Let me tell you about a few of them.
  • I work with phenomenal people. Do you want to spend 40+ hours with irritating, insensitive people? I don't either. Lucky for me, I don't have to. My boss and I have worked together for nearly nine years. We get each other and work well together. I've worked with the other three full-time employees in the office for more than nine, eight, and three years respectively. My graduate assistant is beginning her fourth year with me. (I got lucky and snagged her at the beginning of her Ph.D. program!) Even the student workers in the office stick around. Two of them just graduated in May; they began working in our office when they were freshmen.
  • My smarty-pants students challenge me, but I get to challenge them, too. There are few jobs in higher education where you can work closely with the same small group of students for their entire college careers. People change so much between the ages of 18 and 22, and it's fulfilling to watch my students grow and develop and to know that I played a small role in their maturation.
  • I'll never get rich working in higher education, but there are other perks, plentiful leave being one of them. What other organization completely shuts down for the winter holidays, spring break, and blizzards? My annual and sick leave accrue at alarming rates, and I never have time to use it all. And it's not because I am a workaholic who never takes days off. I enjoy vacations and staycations and plenty of Fridays off during the summer. And I still barely make a dent in my vacation and sick banks.
  • A second perk: tuition remission = free Ph.D.
  • A third perk: Maryland's insurance and benefits are amazing. How many other organizations provide substantial coverage for infertility treatments? Not many. And although ten years ago I had no idea I'd need such coverage, this benefit has been a deal-breaker for me in terms of accepting other job offers. Working with the same staff for years has allowed me to build strong relationships, which come in handy during life's inevitable bumps in the road when I need a helping hand, a compassionate ear, and perhaps an extra day or two off.
It's been a wonderful ten years. Cheers to the next decade!


Organized Living by Amy said...

Congrats on the milestone! I can't imaging doing any one thing for 10years!

Anonymous said...

That sounds like an ideal place to be. Congratulations on your ten year anniversary!