We are under pressure as student affairs professionals like never before.
You can thank me later for the Queen ditty that is stuck in your head right now.
We are on information overload. As if the pressure for new grads to get a job is not enough to make one’s head explode, there are now added pressures in our field.
To be published
To have a side gig
To be professionally involved
To go to this conference or to go to that conference
To be on Twitter (and use it often)
To always be in the know for fear of missing out
To have a sponsor
To always be able to answer “what’s next” for you even if you have just started the next phase of your journey or are perfectly content with where you are.
To start an #sadoc program
To do research
To be a Vice President (and climb that ladder quickly)
Where does this pressure come from? I have struggled with this question for a while. Perhaps, it is largely internal – the drive or want to do the things these folks you admire,want to be like, or are (gasp) competing with are doing. I appreciate that our field is small. I love that I have a strong network of professional
colleagues friends because of it. I know some people who are doing some amazing things (like Sue, Mallory, Matt and Valerie, or Paul Gordon Brown for example). I both admire and envy these people.
Or maybe, we pressure other people into this through social media, classes, and actual pushing (i.e. Hey you should really start a blog. Seriously. Start writing now. – kind of “advice”). I worry even more that we do this, albeit unintentionally, to our students. Join this club, apply to be an RA, go to grad school, run for this position, go to this workshop. We create this pressure to compete – to do or fall behind.
We are a field of generally good people who want to help. We have taken that need/ability to want to help to a new level. Let’s slow it down. You do you, I will do me. More importantly, take it easy on yourself. Do what is important to you. Do your job and do it well. What else you choose to do with your time and how else you choose to engage in the field is up to you. After all your blog, digital identity, side gig, etc. etc. etc. is all for nothing if you are not good at your job or are generally miserable.
Let’s be ok with giving each other a gentle nudge now and then framed in a compliment, but back off when that person is not interested. I owe this site to the gentle nudge of Ed Cabellon, the voice to write this post to Mallory, and one of my best/most favorite ideas to Sue. Their advice was based on a foundation of knowing me, my skills, and my interests and not based in an “everyone is doing it” kind of approach. The distinction is of profound importance.
Let’s make 2015 the year to reflect, relax and just do you.