Professionalization of a sort

Wednesday through Saturday of this week I was out of town at the big conference in my field. This particular conference happens every two years, and, coincidentally, the last one happened during my first year on the job. Although during the last conference I attended more sessions, I would say at this conference I accomplished more. At this conference, I felt much more a part of the profession, rather than a newcomer/grad student looking in.

The sense of, for lack of a better term, professionalization I felt at this conference highlighted the lack of that feeling in my department at home. Now, I will be the first to admit some of that feeling comes from me. I need to project more of the confidence and authority I felt at this conference within my own office. There is, however, a significant way that I think the current structure is set up to undermine those feelings.

Much of this is a part of my title. As the coordinator of a program, and not a director, there are barriers to my decision making process that inhibit my ability to really plan for change. Sure, I can make a plan, but so much of what I would need to put that plan in motion two or more steps removed from me that it is easy to feel like nothing can be done.

Some of this is how I am treated. Again, I think I have made some mistakes in setting myself up here that have led to some of it, but not all. Much of it has to do with the existing politics and administrative structure of the place. There is far too much “management,” particularly of me. There isn’t much I can do about this, but I am hoping that some of the recent changes and the new QEP will lead to some changes on this front.

What I can do right now is to work on myself. Locking myself down in a way, and only projecting the professional that this weekend taught me I am. There are definitely going to be people around there that won’t like it, but my only goals are to grow the service, and have solid foundation for the next person who holds this position.

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