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Career Story: Assistant To A Group Of Professors

Assistant To A Group Of Professors

Job Title: Faculty Assistant

Type of Company: I support five members of the faculty at a graduate school of education with all their varied needs.

Education: BA, English, Columbia University, Oberlin College •• MA, English, University of Kansas

Previous Experience: I worked as a shift manager at a used book store for two years after completing college, before going back for my masters, at which point, I temped at several places until finding this job.

Job Tasks: In a typical day, I often handle filling out all types of financial forms for my faculty, so that they can get reimbursed and/or receive the goods and services they need. I proofread letters of recommendation for students, as well as manuscripts that will be sent to editors/journals. I schedule students and colleagues for appointments, as well as helping students with questions they have that do not require the response of the professor. I assist in event planning, such as conferences or talks. I book travel. I provide class support by compiling reading materials, and often digitizing materials for later use and easier access. I engage in small research tasks, and the occasional sleuthing for an article/resource that's needed but can't be found. I make sure that all technical equipment for my faculty works well, and that they have the supplies they need to do their job. Additionally, there are any number of random questions/needs that come up in a day and I'm the girl a faculty member goes to to get them answered/solved, so I need to have a good relationship with my colleagues and knowledge of how the school works.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: I love the research, the editing, and the "taking care of people" aspect. I'm really into other people and customer service, so that part makes me really happy. Also, my workplace is home to a lot of smart, enthusiastic people, which makes it a pleasure to be around.

Job Tips: Be persistent! I applied for something like ten jobs at this school before I got one. Also, you really do have to like people, and want to help them/take care of them. It can be a little bit like daycare for grown-ups. Finally, have good language skills and be organized.

Additional Thoughts: This isn't, per se, my CAREER. I am actually going back to law school in the fall, but working here gave me the idea that what I would be really good at is intellectual property law. A job like this is a great starting point for someone who has just graduated from college and is unsure of what he/she really wants from a career. It lets you see people doing all sorts of things in the academic world, and there really is a huge cross-section of jobs in academia.

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