Thursday, November 20, 2008
Do you ever wish you had more hours in a day so that you could implement all of the great ideas you come up with during the year? As a one-person operation for 650 students, I truly wish that I could have several of me to implement new ideas.
I need several extra pairs of arms and hands to go along with my brain to type drafts of class notes, develop Power Point slides, and revamp handouts. I could use several extras of my body to attend committee meetings and community groups as we revamp old programs and initiate new programs.
Mind you, there is always unpaid overtime to squeeze in some of the extras. But, one has to be careful about burn-out. As my program has grown from brand-new to established here at Texas Tech, I have been able to pare down the insane number of extra hours that I was putting in each week. However, overtime will realistically never disappear entirely as long as I have new ideas and care about making my program better (and as long as the university tags me as an exempt manager).
As ASP professionals, we have to balance caring for our students and caring for ourselves. Our group of professionals is likely to give of ourselves to others constantly because we want our students to succeed and we truly care about them as individuals. And, we also give to others in ASP through phone calls, workshops, conferences, articles, and other outlets.
And, for those of us who are not married and/or have children, we sometimes have trouble carving out our personal space because it is easy to decide that no one is waiting at home expecting us. (Hmmm, dogs could be very useful. Unlike my cat children of the past, they do need us to show up promptly unless we have backyards with doggie doors.)
So, I have gotten better at carving out personal time. I use every cancelled meeting or appointment slot to the maximum. I keep a long list of "future ideas and projects" as an incentive to improve my program within realistic time limits. And, I occasionally do say "no" or "next year" to requests that come my way.
Despite the disadvantages at times, I hope I never run out of new ideas. I hope that I never stop being inspired by other ASP folks to try a new approach. I hope that I never lose sight that it is a blessing to come to work each day to help my students. After all, these are the things that make me an ASP professional.
So, New Idea, if you are out there, come and find me. I am ready for you. (Amy Jarmon)