I'm sure you've all been waiting anxiously to hear how my interview went, so here we go...
One of my least favorite moments of on-campus interviews is when you get off the airplane and walk toward baggage claim looking for the person that is supposed to pick you up. It's just nerve-racking. Will you find them? Will you make a fool out of yourself? You don't want to look around too anxious or scared because what kind of first impression would that make. But you also don't want to walk along too confidently or they won't realize you're "the candidate" and you may miss them. My heart always starts beating like crazy at these times - it's like when you're at Placement and are sitting in the Waiting Room. Just thinking about that makes me nervous...LoL.
Anyway, I found the staff members picking me up. We got my luggage. I was trying very hard to make small talk - after all, I wanted to make a good impression. I can be rather quiet and introverted when I don't know people; so it takes some effort to come up with topics to talk about and remember that I shouldn't just stand there quietly.
That evening, one of the staff members took me out to dinner and showed me the area. Afterwards, I called one of my friends from grad school who works at that institution and we met up and hung out for a while. I hadn't seen her in years and it was wonderful to catch up. We kept thinking/dreaming about what it were like if we both worked at the same institution - and then I had to stop myself from getting too excited because after all, I needed to get the job first.
I was staying in a vacant Area Coordinator apartment, which was nice because it allowed me to see what the apartment I'd live in could look like.
The next day, I got up early and got ready for the interview. Another moment I don't like - the waiting in the apartment to be picked up. You just sit there and get progressively more nervous. AHHHH!!!
I got a campus tour, interviewed with different groups of people (Residence Life, Housing, Campus Partners, RAs) - I really enjoyed the interview with the RAs. They just had a lot of energy and enthusiasm and were "fun" to talk to.
I soon realized that I could really work there. Not everything would be perfect - but I have long ago given up on the idea of finding the "perfect" job. I don't think that exists. In every job, there will be some things that you'll love and others that you aren't that fond of. The question is whether there are enough things you like and enjoy doing to weigh out the ones you don't love that much.
The position is called an Area Coordinator but it is basically a Hall Director. Why do we call things differently at each institution? Do we just try to make things confusing? But I guess that's a topic for another blog. So anyway, I'd be supervising a staff, managing a building or area, working with committees, doing some judicial - exactly the type of position that one of my colleagues would consider a "step down" for me but also exactly the things I enjoy doing. There's also a chance I may get to work with RHA and NRHH and if you've been following the blog, you know that I LOVE doing that. :)
I know I'd enjoy living there. I'm a workaholic, but one of the few things that can get me away from work is the beach. And I'd only be a few miles from the beach. The department really values balance and encourages that a lot - from making sure that after-hours, only the duty person gets called to allowing employees to take weekends off on a regular basis if they're not on call. What a change that would be!!! Even workaholic-me may have a life there.
And having nice weather all year long...how amazing would that be?
I tried hard throughout the day not to fall too much in love with the school. I just didn't want to get my hopes up and then possibly be disappointed.
It helps that, as much as I can be very impulsive and tend to fall in love quickly, I would also consider myself to be a realist. I knew I wouldn't love everything about this job. The department is very set on dressing business casual during office hours and we all know I don't like to dress up. Not being able to wear jeans and a nice shirt to the office will be a struggle. And they won't even let you wear nice flip flops or sandals. Come on!!! Oh well, I don't mind dressing up as much when it's warm out - and I guess I'll have to get used to that eventually anyway, right?
I'm not sure how I feel about their programming model. It's just very basic and leaves a lot of responsibility up to the RAs. I've really embraced the Residential Curriculum in the past two years and truly believe that we, as Master level professionals, should play an active role in program planning - but hey, these are things that can be changed, right? I mean I'll give "their way of doing things" a chance...and then, once I've gotten to know the institution and the department, I will start bringing in some suggestions for changes. I got the impression that the office is very open to change as it is still growing and developing - and come on, you know me, I love CHANGE. Haha.
My last part of the interview was a tour of the construction site of a new residence hall and let me tell you... WHOA BABY!!! That building will be AMAZING! And in everything they did, they thought about what would work best for the staff and for programming. To work in such a facility....