I walk into some of my colleagues’ offices and I see their diplomas (MBA. Masters, technical certifications) on display on their wall. Sometimes I feel embarrassed that I don’t have an advanced degree. Because of financial reasons and that as a first generation college student, I didn’t really know that there’s formal education beyond a 4-year university, going to graduate school was never my goal when I entered the university. I suppose I can hang my undergraduate diploma to show my credential but I somehow never found it to be that important to show. What I really value though and what I have on my wall in my office are those that represent me and what I value. Some of the things on my wall are the following:
* Picture of my wife and me
* Certificate of Appreciation for being a facilitator for a 2-week summer transitions program for first-generation students
* “Best Team Builder Award” certificate
* A Filipino Jeepney toy
* Some toys from past department White Elephant gift exchanges
* Collage of pictures with a “thank you” message from a group of Filipino-American students I used to advice
* Copy of a campus newspaper that has a story about a campus-wide web committee I chaired
* “UCSB Margaret Getman Service to Students Award” nominee and recipient certificates
What’s on your wall?
I believe a key factor in hiring the right person for the job is to have the proper mix of interviewers to be able to assess an applicant from different perspectives . Just recently, our department (technology service provider for Student Affairs) went through a hiring process for a database developer. We were looking to fill a position to provide support for our developers in setting up and managing databases. In my role as the head of the unit consisting of developers, I was assessing the applicant from the customers’ perspective. Joining me in the interview committee were other co-workers who were more technical in nature (server admin, database manager). To be consistent with all applicants, we have a set of questions we ask each candidates. These questions consist of technical and behavioral questions.
A colleague of mine tells me “You’re like a lifeguard, you tell us how far to go in the ocean and where to go, and you call us back if we go too far but you don’t stop us from going into the water.”
To put what he said into context, a group of us, some folks from our student life office and some technical staff from my office which is the central technology department for the Division of Student Affairs, had just seen a demo of a product to manage student organizations. The authentication used by the vendor product uses facebook connect. While the vendor product was really beyond what we could ever build and everyone watching the demo, including me were very impressed with the product, I unfortunately had to dampen the enthusiasm of those present. I had to mention that using facebook connect may not be an idea that will be readily accepted as an option by security administrators on campus. Using a third party like facebook for authentication for an official campus system is a new concept on my campus. In my role as the Associate Director of Information Systems and Software Development, I unfortunately have to play the role of “bad guy” sometimes. Many times, some of these concerns I share are not even necessarily mine, but I do have to share them anyways. I think in general, I am more flexible in how far to push boundaries when using new technologies, relative to some of my technical colleagues. However, I still do need to represent their perspectives. Fortunately, I’ve built up my reputation with the departments I have served throughout the years that I’m not a “nay-sayer” and I’m a strong advocate for their programs and innovative technologies. My reputation allows me to be frank with my concerns as someone charged with protecting student academic and health information and enforcing security and electronic policies.
How well do you know your immediate co-workers? Do you know them beyond their job titles and responsibilities? Do you feel like you belong to a community at work?
One of the many reasons why I love my job is because of the people I work with. I love that we have a sense of camaraderie and that we consider ourselves as friends to one another and we just don’t see each other as co-workers. In my previous position (same organization) when I was managing a team of 8 staff members, I made the effort to promote an environment where my staff can freely share their personal lives to the extent they are willing to share. I have always believed that part of being a happy employee is to feel like you belong to a team, that you are not just co-workers given tasks to complete. We spend more time at work with our co-workers than our families that I made it a point to cultivate an environment that fosters personal interaction and friendships, basically, a community.