Archive for June, 2012

Finding “The One”

I’ve been a little quiet on the blog recently, but for good reason. In two short weeks I’ll be packing up my belongings, leaving Menlo (and, in fact, leaving California), and taking on a new CIO position at St. Norbert College. Yep, that’s right — I’m changing jobs.

My job search started late last year, and ended in May when St. Norbert and I found each other. Along the way I’ve wanted to reflect on the process here, on my blog, but for obvious reasons I couldn’t…until now.

This was my first experience going through the full executive-level interview process — where the entire campus was involved with, and had a stake in, the process. I’ve held a number of jobs in my life, and been interviewed countless times. But none of my experiences compared to this. I imagine it’s what speed dating must feel like, but instead of picking who you want to date at the end of a 2-minute conversation, you decide who you want to marry at the end of a one-to-two day campus visit.

A visit which, in my case, generally went something like this:

  • wake up at 3 a.m. PST to catch a plane, travel all day, and arrive just in time to have dinner with members of the search committee (luggage arrival at the same time – optional, apparently);
  • wake up at 5:30 a.m. EST to be ready for a 7 a.m. start time (seriously…many of my meetings started before 8 a.m., east coast time, which translates to 5 a.m. or earlier for me!);
  • spend 30 minutes to 1 hour with person after person, or group after group, from the aforementioned start time until dinner (also with members of the search committee), with a presentation for 15-50 people thrown in there somewhere, for good measure;
  • pass out in hotel room before 9 p.m., then…
  • wash, rinse, and repeat.

The whole process was arguably the most exhausting activity I’ve been a part of, but the most exhilarating and enlightening too. There are the highs of getting the initial interview, and the lows of the subsequent wait — did they like me, should I have said something different to question “x”? It can be an emotional roller coaster. An exercise in “what if’s”. It can test your preparation skills, not to mention your interpersonal ones. And it can help you reflect — about the future (for you and for IT), your core values, what’s important.

I learned some things along the way. Well, actually, a lot of things. Among them…I learned that strengths and weaknesses are relative — what one institution sees as a weakness, another sees as a strength. That working for a values-based, mission-driven institution is critically important to me. Where, of course, those values align with my own. I learned to listen to my inner voice (and Frye colleagues, and friends). And that everything happens for a reason.

Along the way, I found some institutions that I wanted to work for, and some that wanted me to work for them. But not at the same time. Then I found a match made in, well…Wisconsin. I came home from my two day “speed date” positively beaming (or so folks tell me).

And in the end, I knew, that I had found “the one”.

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