An ongoing series about the work skills that academics and anyone else working in higher ed need to succeed. These are skills that will help you master the workplace so that you can rock your job.

Another Thing to Think about for Grad School Reform

I think a lot about what needs to change when it comes to graduate school. I thought a lot about it before I read Leonard Cassuto’s The Graduate School Mess (which is excellent and highly recommended), but I especially have been thinking more and more about it after having read that. Cassuto makes excellent points about what’s broken, how it got to that point, and who is thinking about good ways to fix it. You don’t have to convince me that grad school needs to be reformed. It needed reform back in the day when I did it!

One of the most important points he makes is that graduate schools need to overhaul the curriculum to incorporate professional development writ large. If students are to succeed in any career path, they will need to be taught how. How to find jobs appropriate to their training, how to market their transferable skills, how to interview and succeed on the job.

That’s all true. Grad school reform is long overdue.

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No Time to Network? Send an Email

It’s not just introverts who hate in-person networking. It’s also people who are time-pressed. My workplace is pretty good about having networking events during the day – a first-thing-in-the-morning type thing, or a networking lunch – but let’s face it, most places are not. Most networking events are after-hours, often off site at a bar (which raises its own issues of shutting out people who don’t want to be in that environment). People who have dogs who need to be let out, long commutes, loved ones to go care for, groceries to grab just simply do not have time for this.

But fear not! You can network from behind your keyboard. I’ve written about this a bit before, but today I’ll walk you through a foolproof method for connecting with someone new via email.

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Top 3 Must-Have Workplace Behaviors

In career coaching, we talk alot about KSAs: knowledge, skills, and abilities. These are the traits that a job requires in order for you to do that function adequately. They’re absolutely essential to federal job applications, but you’ll see them on pretty much any job posting anywhere. And they are important, but I also consider a couple of other attributes when I’m coaching my clients. Let’s talk about workplace behaviors and habits.

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7 Career Building Gifts for Yourself

It’s that time of year. Black Friday, Cyber Monday deals… Right now everyone is looking for the best deals on something they’ve been hoping for. I secretly think we’re all out shopping for ourselves, rather than for someone else…but maybe that’s just me and I’m a bit too selfish. 🙂

But this time of year isn’t just the time of year to think about tangible gifts for your personal life. It’s also a good time of year to think about your professional development. Whether you have career wanderlust, feel content or restless at your job, why not use this time of year to think of ways to give your career a boost? 

Your Career is Worth Investing In

Here are 7 gifts you could gift yourself to make your career feel fresh, to re-engage with your work, set yourself up for pursuing more challenging tasks next year, or just investing in yourself.

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What to do when you’re bored at work

I am a podcast nerd. I love them. Why? I don’t always have the time or energy to read, but I can still keep up with things by tuning in on my drive or when I’m walking my dog or cleaning my house. I love how they let you eavesdrop on smart conversations, even about dumb things. So podcasts are my jam. And no, they’re not always about work 🙂

I was catching up on an episode of Hannahlyze This, specifically their Time Log Try Out episode, in which they track how they use their time throughout the day. That’s when my ears really perked up. I really recommend tracking how you spend your time because it is particularly helpful for boosting your work productivity. In order to get your stuff done, you gotta know which time slot of the day you’ll best be able to tackle those things and know how you currently structure your day. Anyway, then the discussion took a left turn into therapy and self-care. Here’s how it went:

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Flexible Schedules vs. the 8-5

Many graduate students can find themselves in for a rude awakening when it comes to working full-time due to the work schedule. As busy as you are in grad school, you have a lot of freedom and flexibility when it comes to how you spend your day.  In and of itself, this can be a lot of the appeal of the grad school lifestyle. Even when you have a 9 am class after pulling an all-nighter, you can find time for an afternoon nap. Or if you’re exhausted, you can hit snooze and postpone your workout until, say 2 pm, in the middle of a workday.

But when you land a staff job, at least at my university, the expectation is that you work 8-5. That can be a culture shock. And even though we all know that the 8-5 is antiquated, that’s still the expectation.

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