The Perfect Career?

Still only doing one ReverbBroad prompt per week, but that’s still a lot more than I’ve been blogging!

If you could change careers, what would you do instead?

I love student affairs. Sure, there are some functional areas I will never work in, and there are some areas that I REALLY want to work in, but I don’t see any reason for me to leave student services.  I’ve never been in a field with so much support and professional development. Higher education is a unique world, and student affairs is unique within it. I enjoy interacting with students and helping with their development, from the simple “This is how you register online” to the more impactful ” Yes you are going to graduate on time.” Some of the work is tedious, but the rewards more than outweigh the frustrations.

I moonlight as a Girl Scout. Truth be told, there is something compelling about working for an organization solely devoted to the development of girls and young women. Girl Scouts had an incredible impact on who I am today, and I love giving back to the organization. As a Learning Facilitator for the Volunteer Development & Training team, I have the opportunity to utilize much of what I do with college students AND bring Girl Scouting to new volunteers who will deliver the program to the girls.

If I were to create a dream job, I think it would be a hybrid of these two passions. It’s possible that other councils have a lot of resources/assistance/development for college age women who are volunteering, but I know that mine does not; they are treated sort of like volunteers, but are often overlooked or not provided information when they ask for it. If they can’t be traditional troop volunteers, they are often lost because troops are still the most popular form of Girl Scouts participation. The VDT team I volunteer with is trying to diversify our resources and training, but little can be done overnight, especially with newer types of volunteers and delivery models that we’re still not sure of.

Once upon a time Girl Scouts provided specific support to “Campus Girl Scouts,” and doing a quick search brings up the fact that many of these still exist–my first volunteer experience with GS Eastern MA was with a troop hosted by the Northeastern University Campus girl Scouts group. The Kappa Delta sorority lists GSUSA as one of it’s philanthropies. It would be amazing to work in collaboration with Volunteer Dev. & Training  and Membership Services to focus on

  • Recruit volunteers from the plethora of colleges & universities in Boston and eastern MA
  • Help those interested to form Campus Girl Scout groups for campus support and resources (or found chapters of KD, but that is likely a more difficult process, and is not an option at many schools)
  • Modify existing training to make it appropriate for those women who can only volunteer occasionally or want to help with troops but not be in charge

This kind of position would allow me to do both of my passions at the same time. College students have such specific time/energy demands, and developmental needs, that it may not be enough for someone who doesn’t have student affairs training to properly address them. Many college students aren’t aware of the need for THEM, in particular, to volunteer with Girl Scouts: to act as role models of what Girl Scouts can lead a girl to; to help establish troops as minimum adult:girl ratios must be met; camp or event volunteers; as a mentor to girls pursuing their highest awards; and so many other things that I can’t think of.

I find the idea of a “dream job” to be just that however. If I am simply imagining and playing pretend, I never have to face the reality of difficulties, frustrations, bureaucracy, etc that comes with an actual, real-life grownup job. I can idealize and use those ideals to promote small changes within my real jobs (I do consider my volunteer role as a type of job; I don’t get a paycheck, but I work hard to do well and maintain my skills). I can look at each and see where the skills needed overlap and where I need to make improvements to myself as a person and professional.

If this were to ever happen, I can’t necessarily say it would be a career change though–my paycheck would stop coming from an institute of higher education, but would I REALLY be leaving student affairs? I don’t think so.