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Author Topic: What does "paying dues" mean in the administrative world?  (Read 7843 times)
wolfenet11
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« on: December 31, 2012, 11:35:21 am »

I recently graduated from my PhD program I was told that I would have to "pay my dues". Does this mean taking up lower ranking positions and working one's way up the ladder? Dealing with unofficial and unceremonious amounts of b.s. that comes with being "the new guy" in the field? Learning the finer points of organizational socialization from etiquette in politics to conferencing as a professional? These are just a few examples.

In addition to your "definition" could you provide a young student affairs professional with your experiences and advice on how to negotiate one's career?

Thanks
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baleful_regards
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« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2012, 1:16:23 pm »

How on earth did you get through a PhD program with no familiarity of organizational norms?

Let give you the "Everything you needed to know you should have learned in Kindergarten" summary:

Play nice.

You're new. Shut up until you have learned a few things about the people around you.

Offer to do your share, but don't take more than you should.

Your degree is not worth more than any one else...no matter what school is on the degree.

Smile at the custodians and the admin asst's. They run the joint. Learn their names and inquire about their lives.

Don't ask someone to do something that you can do yourself.

If the Admin Asst says she wants X paper completed on a specific day, move heaven and earth to get it to her on THAT day. Do not anger the Admin Asst, her job is hard enough.

Smile at students. Even if you have no idea who they are, and you won't.

Write thank you cards (this is something that has gotten me further in all of my adult career than my degrees)

Clean up after yourself. No one here is your mom, not even the custodians.

Recycle file folders and hanging file folders. You don't need new ones for everything.

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bud04
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« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2012, 2:31:32 pm »

Share. Nobody likes a greedy newbie.
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polly_mer
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« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2012, 3:11:27 pm »

Find a mentor as soon as possible.  I usually look for the crankiest old-timer and keep showing up to say, "What can you tell me about this aspect of the job?"  Cranky old-timers usually are thrilled to expound at length on what should be done, where the bodies are buried, and what the real rules are.

If you can get two or three of those people to talk to you on a regular basis, then you can triangulate on what the situation is.
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larryc
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« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2012, 4:05:11 pm »

I recently graduated from my PhD program I was told that I would have to "pay my dues". Does this mean taking up lower ranking positions and working one's way up the ladder? Dealing with unofficial and unceremonious amounts of b.s. that comes with being "the new guy" in the field? Learning the finer points of organizational socialization from etiquette in politics to conferencing as a professional?

All of the above, in an obsequious manner.
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msparticularity
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« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2012, 5:31:04 pm »

Very specifically, "paying dues" means stuff like:
-Taking on the committee assignments everyone hates;
-Making certain to do the extra service stuff like showing up to help staff tables at information/recruitment days, helping with student move-in, making phone calls to prospective students, attending athletic events, or whatever is important at your institution;
-Teaching more of the lower-level courses and/or in the undesirable time slots;
-Serving your time in the cr@ppy office with the lousy furniture;
-And doing it all cheerfully, because you, too, will get your dues paid and be able to let go of some of this in time.
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piledhigheranddeeper
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« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2013, 5:52:17 pm »


Some people use what they had to do before they got promoted or additional responsibility as the standard for whether you deserve to be promoted. deserve extra responsibility/authority, or additional titles.  Most of us have to earn these promotions.

Some of it is about "pecking order."  When you are junior staff, sometimes you have to endure a lot as the others describe.  It can also be as simple things as getting an office without a window, the one in the basement, a cubicle, or you might have an office mate.  When senior people leave, you may get to move into a better office.

You may eventually be elevated to the status, where you do not have to ask permission or justify printing something in color to your boss on the departments color laser printer. 
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alleyoxenfree
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Countin' all these posts as publications


« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2013, 6:50:11 pm »

Your field almost certainly has a professional organization (as for advisors, Students Affairs, people, etc.).  Join it.  Go to its conference.  Ask copious questions of people who look older than you.  If they have a formal mentoring program, sign up for it.  If they don't, volunteer to start it.
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ellareese
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« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2013, 3:03:33 pm »

You're new. Shut up until you have learned a few things about the people around you.


I couldn't stress this one enough. It will take time for you to really understand departmental workings, and politics. Refrain from complaining about anything for a while, I'd say at least 2 years. You will likely be surprised in a year or two about how your initial impressions of people and policies shift once you truly get to know them. Too many newbies burn bridges that haven't even been built by airing all their impressions right away. Hold your cards to your chest and be nice to EVERYONE for now.
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brixton
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« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2013, 11:43:30 pm »

+ 10
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dale1
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« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2013, 11:41:10 pm »

Absolutely right, ellareese.

A lot of people with no experience in the field and no background want to tell you how to do your job. Students want to tell faculty how to teach. Staff want to tell administrators what to support. Legislators want to control how much tuition goes up despite their hand in cutting funding, ad nauseum.

New staff may have great ideas, but finding someone you trust to vet them before you go proposing a silver bullet solution to every problem is nearly always the right move.
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Dale (original)
shembekar
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« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2013, 6:34:55 am »

Paying dues simply means that it is the amount which remains pending on your side. There are many categories for paying dues in administrative world which illustrates different meanings for every individuals. Administrating staff may complete their work regarding this and if they found a person who has not completed the dues, then they can demand from the respective person.
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bojangles
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« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2013, 11:48:51 am »

I recently graduated from my PhD program I was told that I would have to "pay my dues". Does this mean taking up lower ranking positions and working one's way up the ladder? Dealing with unofficial and unceremonious amounts of b.s. that comes with being "the new guy" in the field? Learning the finer points of organizational socialization from etiquette in politics to conferencing as a professional? These are just a few examples.

In addition to your "definition" could you provide a young student affairs professional with your experiences and advice on how to negotiate one's career?

Thanks


It means that you have to learn how to be a brown noser for a few years, then graduate to know it alll, then after that, maybe move up to the ranks of a napolean type person.  Finally, after burning every bridge and having most of your colleagues hate your guts, you would have paid your dues.
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