A New Chapter
Tomorrow I start a new job.
A little less than six years ago, I was a grad student who had applied late to the Ph.D. program at Auburn University, so they didn’t have any GTA slots available. I was looking around for other on-campus employment and came across an open spot in the Athletics Department, working as a GA in their student-athlete computer lab. And I thought, hey, that would be pretty cool.
Almost exactly 4 years ago, I was a disaffected grad student who had no interest in writing a dissertation. So when my boss in Athletics approached me about turning my GA spot into a full-time position, I was ready to jump.
Which brings us to today. Leaving the Athletics Department for a job in campus IT.
So what happened?
It wasn’t because I stopped liking my job. I mean, sure, I can complain all day about impatient coaches and long working hours. But, on the whole I worked with a bunch of smart, dedicated, hard-working people and I had a lot of fun.
It wasn’t about money. The university doesn’t pay anyone as much as they should, other than football coaches (oblg. “Great benefits, though”). But I’m getting by just fine.
It wasn’t about power. I’m actually going from top dog in Athletics IT to small fish in a big pond.
I don’t know if I actually have a great answer. I guess what it really came down to is that I saw a potential new challenge that excited me. There would always be new projects in Athletics, but they would be similar to problems I had already solved. I may not have been bored, but I could see myself getting there.
And then OIT came along with a new position that I was perfectly qualified for. One that they didn’t have someone internally prepared to step in to. One that when I inquired about it, I was encouraged to apply. And once I did, they moved faster than I thought the university could move to get me into it.
So here I am. Sad about what I’m giving up. Superficially, that includes free football tickets and lots of Under Armor gear. But more importantly, it’s doing a job that I’m good at with people who like and respect me. It’s great people who love their jobs who I’ll miss working side-by-side with.
But I’m also excited about the future. About new challenges. New problems. A new environment.
I think I’ve always known that I wasn’t going to be the kind of person who worked one job for 40 years and then retired. I think I have many new chapters before I reach that point.
And the next one starts tomorrow.