Saturday, March 21, 2009

Job security?

Everyone pretty much knows what the economy is doing these days. Seeing as how I have never taken an econ course in my academic career, I won't even try to explain my thoughts on what is going on with the financial market. Even though we are in a pretty okay place financially, I have felt a slight edge of the budget cuts, tightened credit, and unemployment rates.

I am grateful that I have a good job right now. My heart goes out for all of the students who will be graduating this year and trying to enter the job market. More specifically, I am hoping for the best for all of my BG friends trying to enter the higher ed. job market in May after graduation. Last year, my cohort had the advantage of being able to say, "I am primarily looking for jobs in in ." And most of us ended up in a place that we wanted to be, at least right out of grad school. This year, a lot of the cohort is just basically saying, "I am primarily looking for a job!" They don't have the luxury of picking what functional area they would prefer to work in or what geographical region they would like to live in; if they are lucky, they will end up with at least one of their preferences met. The job search was hard enough last year when there were jobs available; now that many universities are having to impose hiring freezes, there are far fewer opportunities available.

Since I work at a state university, we were told in January that our budget was going to be cut for this academic year and also for the 2009-2010 academic year. For my particular office, those budget cuts have meant that instead of hiring 5 advisors, one to replace a position that was vacated and four new positions, we are only able to hire one person. And even that isn't completely finalized yet. The governor issued her projected budget proposal the other day and education across the state was spared some of the larger cuts, but it still is going to change the operations of the university. I was asked to be on an internal task force in my office to help come up with ideas of how to continue to provide good service to more students with fewer resources; we are looking at using more technology, larger group advising sessions, and partnerships with other campus resources to continue to meet the needs of the 13,000+ students that are served through our office. But even with all of these ideas in place, we are still going to feel the stress of serving an average of 540 students per advisor for the next couple years before we can hire more full-time advisors. At least we have jobs, I guess.

Although I am one of the newest to join the department, I have been told that I don't really have to worry about losing my job. It gets scary to think about what would happen if I did, but I'm not letting myself think about it; there is no use living in that fear. I will just continue to do my job to the best of my ability and hope that my efforts result in job security.

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