Without a doubt, the world of higher education is changing. Budget cuts across the country have made plenty of institutions rethink the way that they do business just to stay open. As I wrote in my previous post, community colleges in Pennsylvania are also being hit below the belt as well, with some institutions having to eliminate low-enrolled programs, cut back services to students, and even reduce their workforce.
Higher education is seeing some dark times.
But even in the midst of this winter of discontent (pardon the reference Mr. Shakespeare), there is still hope. For those of you who may be employed at one of the hundreds of educational institutions across the country facing budget crises and layoffs, there are some things you can do to hold it together professionally as you weather this storm.
Yes, it absolutely is going to be difficult to maintain a happy demeanor every day when you feel that your job may be in jeopardy. However, the mindset that you carry with you to work daily will eventually spill into your job performance. While it may seem natural, comforting, and even justified, to spend your days huddled around the water cooler with your colleagues, commiserating on how the administration just doesn’t care about its students and loyal employees, this is not going to get you anywhere professionally. If anything, this could hinder you from possible opportunities that could come about as the college reorganizes and reshapes itself.
If you make a conscious decision to hold your head high and continue to give your assignments 110%, even in the midst of uncertainty, this not only shows what a dedicated professional you are, but it also speaks volumes about your character; and believe me, people take notice. So if there are any opportunities that come down the pike for your position to be salvaged, or even to move into another position within the college, you will be the first person on upper-administration’s radar. Also by maintaining a positive attitude, this can help to build office morale because others will feed off of your vibes.
Keep those creative juices flowing. If you really love your college and care about your students, you still should want what’s best for them. If you feel like your job may be on the line, now is definitely not the time to slack off. Up the ante by kicking out fantastic ideas that will not only help to better serve your students, but will also maximize the resources that the college has available. You want your employers to feel like they need to do everything they can to keep you on board.
Change isn’t always fun, but it has this funny way of bringing about new and exciting opportunities. You may really love your job and want to do everything you can to keep it, but if you’re fairly certain that your future may not be so bright with your current institution, while you’re still working hard, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with keeping your ear to the ground about other professional opportunities outside of the institution. Always have a back up plan and continue to expand your network so that when the time comes, you are in a position to start a brand new adventure!
Hang in there! I promise you. It gets better.
Did I miss anything? What other tips would you suggest for coping with organizational change?