Since I just closed out my first six months of my not-so-new-anymore job, I figured it was time to revisit the idea of knowing that I don't know - something I wrote about almost exactly 5 years ago as I was about to start my first job as a library administrator. My mind was boggling at all that I had to learn, and the truth is that I hadn't even imagined half of all that there was to know.
This most recent job change was easier in some ways. I made a lot of mistakes as a new library director... mostly dealing with people issues. Learning that I couldn't think aloud anymore was hard. Learning to ask questions in a way that the staff understood it really was just curiosity with no subtext was even harder. Hardest of all was learning to look at the entire context of an issue before trying to come up with a response. So starting my second job as an administrator was smoother because of all my past missteps, but that prior learning hasn't actually made it easy.
Although I'd worked at a two year institution before, I've never worked at a public institution of higher education. Further, although we are relatively small at just under 6000 FTE, this is also the biggest school that has ever employed me. Another big change is the size of the staff - I have 17 people working for me. I have learned a lot a lot a lot, but I'm still adjusting to all of this. And there is still so much more to learn.
Here's a list of what I KNOW I need to do:
- Experience all the ins and outs of our budget cycle;
- Sit down with as many of the rest of the faculty as possible;
- Live through the rest of our strategic planning process and experience its ramifications;
- Understand all of my responsibilities as they play out through the school year;
- Get to know all the nuanced (or not so nuanced) differences between working at a small liberal arts college and a small-ish community college.
And that's just the stuff I know that I need to learn. At least once a week I learn something that I had no idea I needed to know, like how we handle email when someone leaves the institution or who to contact when I want to reserve a room in one of our new buildings. We all know, in theory at least, that we never stop learning, but it's so very different to be living it every day of my life. I love it.