I made it to Friday, and the best part about that is…

I made it through my first “first week of Fall Quarter” at work. The wait times for students wanting to see an advisor was infinitely shorter than it was last week, when times got up into the hours (plural).

Now, I’m going to reward myself with an episode of Doctor Who, maybe a Rainier, and some sleep before waking up much too early for a 5K I don’t even intend to fully run. YAY! FRIDAY!

The Newbie

#SAchat focused on how to make new staff members feel welcome at their jobs this week. Since I was working at my new job during the chat, I chimed in with my own thoughts just a few times. One question addressed what has been done to make you feel welcome as a new member. With 140 characters and a crunch for time, I mentioned the call I got from my director and the training scavenger hunt I did. A few people said they would feel overwhelmed by the process, but I tried to hastily explain, “No, no, no! It was perfect for my new college setting! And I loved it! Ack!” given the smaller feel of the community college and the willingness of other employees to converse with the brand-new employee.

And really, it’s been much, much more than those few things that have helped me begin to integrate into my new setting.

Even before I started, I was welcomed via phone by not just my supervisor, but also our director. When I arrived, my name was already on the entrance of my space, with little to indicate that I was stepping into a space that used to belong to someone else. It was my work space from the start.

My department took me to lunch the first day.

Human Resources gave me a training binder that not only required me to complete modules and worksheets, but to talk to people and to explore my new setting.

I was even invited to attend trivia night at the end of my first week.

I am included in campus events, and I shadow my colleagues during advising sessions and presentations. I have regular meetings with my supervisor. We close emails with smiley faces now and then. I am introduced at meetings, and people are genuinely interested in the academic and professional experience I already have.

This is a two-year institution that is proud of where it has come from, and it has set many strong goals for itself due to the foresight of its administration. This is an institution that doesn’t just display its Mission Statement for show; I see the commitment to enriching students’ lives and enriching the community. And I see that by integrating new members by orienting them to not just their jobs, but the campus culture.

Of course, how each department and institution approaches welcoming people will differ. And that’s good! I like exploring and independent projects, but that would have been nightmareish on a bigger campus. I could not imagine replicating all the orientation activities I did at Oregon State University or even smaller Western Washington University. That would have resulted in something scary–although probably very humorous in hindsight.

In essence, the trick to integrating new staffers seems to center around not just job processes, but the social and cultural aspect. And why wouldn’t it–we’re all social and cultural beings. (Don’t shake your head, Reclusive Gamer!)

As Week 3 of the new job winds down, I am settling happily into my penguin den. Is that what penguins live in?

It’s Friday, Friday…

Please don’t hit me for getting that awful song stuck in your head.

Since it’s Friday, I’ll post something work-related! I have a feeling that student affairs folks may see the values and traits listed as a “no-brainer,” given the nature of our work, but nonetheless, here you go:

Extraordinary Bosses

What Do You Think You’re Looking At?

This is my fifth year on the quarter system, and let me tell you, winter term is the most difficult every year. During my undergraduate career, it was always because basketball season was in full swing– I had games two or three times a week. I remember one particularly hellish week in which we had five games; I think it worked out to two double-headers and a single game. Plus, on top of that, I worked my last two years, which meant that right before winter quarter, I was knee-deep in retail terror. Couple that with Honors courses or writing intensive courses and you had a busy little ‘Dith.

Nowadays, I’m working, reading for graduate classes, and trying to figure out what the crap is going on in my personal life. Factor in working out, eating better, and a lot of upcoming events to plan, and you have another stressed-out ‘Dith.

So look, if I’m cranky or having a meltdown, it’s just normal winter quarter blues. Feed me some candy, give me a hug, and tell me we’ll go do something fun soon.

In the meantime, carry on.

Relevant to My Interests

I worked all day today. Got up early and caught the ferry. I mean, I got up at 4AM early to make sure I beat any and all ferry lines. Lucky for me, there were maybe 10 vehicles on the ferry that left shortly after 5AM. I guess I was successful, but after reaching Mukilteo, I had to find a way to keep myself occupied for an hour and a half while it was still dark out. I settled on coffee at Starbucks.

I’m leaving soon and going back to Whidbey for the weekend. I love hanging out on that island.