Career Series: What's it like to be a ___?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

What’s it like to be a….TV News Reporter?

My job title is: Senior Reporter
My actual position is (if this differs from job title): Sometimes I shoot and edit video

What does a normal day look like? Is it consistent throughout the year? If you’ve had this position for a while, how have things changed?

A typical day starts at nine AM with an editorial meeting.  We decide who is covering what, and we go out and get those stories.  It hasn’t changed a lot in the last 30 years, except that now we email back photos and notes to update our website.

What other, if any, positions have you held prior to your current job? How did you get to where you are now?
My first job out of college was in radio news.

What kind of training/education did you have? What would you suggest? What qualifications/skills/attributes make someone successful in this position?

A college education is essential, along with curiosity and willingness to learn new technologies.

What are the rewards in your position? Challenges? What makes a good day for you?
It’s rewarding to tell human stories that people respond to.  A good day is finding compelling characters that make the news stories come alive.

What trends or changes do you foresee in the next 5-10 years?
Reporters will shoot and edit more of their own stories and file them on the web as well as on TV.

How could a person find out more about your field?
http://www.rtnda.org;www.poynter.org

When you were growing up, did you have any interests that you have built into your work?

I was interested in the world about me.

What obstacles have you overcome to get to where you are today?
Fighting fatigue with covering the same stories over and over.

What was your first job like after college?

It was a radio news reporting and anchoring job and a lot of fun.

How do your beliefs and values or worldview perspectives impact what you do at work?
The most impactful video news stories aim for the heart to inform the mind.

Posted by Bonnie Speyers on 06/23 at 09:18 AM
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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

What’s it like to be a…..Christian high school principal?

If you have had this position for a while, how have things changed?What does my normal day look like?  Is it consistent throughout the year?

When school is in session, late August to early June, I am in the office well before 6:00 a.m., at school or school-related meetings during the day, at home for supper between 5:00 and 6:00 p.m., and then back at school for the evening until 9:30 -ish p.m.

When school is in session, early morning time until about 7:15 a.m. is a wonderful and necessary planning time.  It is during this time I do short-term and long-term planning and take care of lots of correspondence.  Teachers and students begin filling the hallways around 7:15 a.m., and from that time until 4:00 p.m. I am “on” for running the high school.

Being “on” means being available to students and teachers throughout the school day using a “managing by walking around” style.  This walking around involves answering and responding to a myriad of situations, questions, phone calls, and e-mails, and being available to students, parents, alumni and teachers who stop in throughout school day.  It also means being a presence and observing the daily flow and interaction of a dynamic Christian community.  Education is touching and influencing lives and this can only be done by “being there.”

I am home to have supper with my wife from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m., and then I’m back again for the evening, which includes parent meetings, board meetings, and supervision of student and athletic activities.  Over time supervision of activities becomes more like “I really want to be there to support and encourage students and coaches and parents- it’s our ministry, I don’t want to miss out.”

During the summertime, I maintain school office hours from 7:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., except for those times when I’m on vacation.  I am allocated five weeks of vacation out of 52 weeks each year.  Summer is filled with planning and preparation for the new year.

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Posted by Bonnie Speyers on 05/19 at 02:19 PM
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Thursday, May 14, 2009

What’s it like to be an….architect/business professor?

My job title is: architect/business professor
My actual position is: founder/principal architect/former partner of AMDG architects, currently associate professor of business at Calvin College

What does a normal day look like? Is it consistent throughout the year? If you’ve had this position for a while, how have things changed?
Architect:  Meetings with staff, consulting engineers, clients, code officials, doing architectural design, project management (tasks, budgets, schedules), reviewing construction drawings, managing the business side, personnel reviews and training, marketing and going after new projects; pretty well consistent through the year now that there are concrete admixtures which allow pouring concrete in the winter in Michigan. We’ve grown from one person (myself doing everything) to 15+ staff.  It has become more management and less doing the project drawings myself which are now done mostly by other staff. The move toward more computer design for the conceptual design process and construction drawings has meant technological changes, and design/build approach continues to grow vs. the more traditional approach with having an architect provide drawings and then bidding it out to several contractors.

Professor:  Teaching methods are changing somewhat to better adapt to the students’ expectations and learning styles, much more experiential and discussion vs. straight lecture.

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Posted by Bonnie Speyers on 05/14 at 12:54 PM
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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

What’s it like to be a….Social Work Professor?

What does a normal day look like? Is it consistent throughout the year? If you’ve had this position for a while, how have things changed? 
My day is varied and includes preparation and teaching of classes to social work majors, participation in departmental and college wide committee work, and academic advising.

What other, if any, positions have you held prior to your current job? How did you get to where you are now?
 
My background in social work is also varied.  I worked full time while working toward my Master’s Degree in Social Work:
I worked as a career counselor at a technical college, working with young people completing certificate programs to write resumes and cover letters, prepare for interviews, and search for jobs. 
In addition to this I worked briefly at a pre-natal clinic for low-income mothers in Irvington, NJ. I worked directly with the pregnant mothers and the medical professionals to connect the women and their families to needed resources including housing, food stamps, Medicaid, and where necessary, substance abuse treatment. 
After this I worked in Newark, NJ as a supervisor with the Court Appointed Special Advocate Program (CASA). This is an organization that works with the courts to help oversee cases of child abuse and neglect and to advocate for the children and families in order for the children to move toward permanency, either back at home with their parents or toward adoptive families. 
My most recent work, prior to teaching, was working with homeless women and children and in the development of low-income housing, including permanent supportive housing, transitional housing, housing for persons with AIDS (HOPWA), senior housing, and housing for people with disabilities.  Most of this work was done with Lutheran Social Ministries of NJ and also in Grand Rapids with Genesis Non Profit Housing Corporation.

I got to where I am now by always learning that regardless of what job I found myself doing at any given time, that there were valuable lessons, skills, and abilities to learn which could be transfered to my next position.

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Posted by Bonnie Speyers on 05/12 at 09:45 AM
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Friday, May 08, 2009

What’s it like to be a….Physician’s Assistant?

What does a normal day look like? Is it consistent throughout the year? If you’ve had this position for a while, how have things changed?
I work in a family practice setting so I see patients ranging from infants to the elderly. I work from about 7:45-5:30/6:00 seeing many different cases every day, ranging from the common cold to lacerations to diabetes, etc.

What other, if any, positions have you held prior to your current job? How did you get to where you are now?
None. I got my bachelor’s degree majoring in Spanish and went on to PA school immediately after graduating.

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Posted by Bonnie Speyers on 05/08 at 08:49 AM
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Monday, May 04, 2009

What’s it like to be an…Assistant Dean of Residence Life?

What does a normal day look like? Is it consistent throughout the year? If you’ve had this position for a while, how have things changed?
Certain aspects of my job I perform almost daily, while other responsibilities are much more seasonal.  Regardless of the time of year, I meet with students and staff each day to work out issues of housing or to discuss a housing policy violation.  In addition, I am a liaison to other campus departments (Food service, Building services, Academic Services, and Admissions).  I have weekly interactions with these departments and represent the Residence Life Department in those meetings.  Finally, I supervise the Knollcrest East Apartments and the Area Coordinator position coordinating various student support and accountability services with the Dean of Students for Judicial Affairs.

In the summer, I help with roommate matching, assist with orientation programs, and prepare for opening the residence halls and apartments to students in the fall.  This includes helping with Resident Director and Residence Assistant training.  In the fall and winter, I teach a first year experience class, mentor the hall presidents, and review our policies and procedures.  In the spring I facilitate the room selection process for returning students in both the residence halls and apartments and help plan summer improvement projects.  All in all, it is not a boring job, and no two days are the same.

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Posted by Bonnie Speyers on 05/04 at 02:24 PM
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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What’s it like to be a….Registered Nurse?

My job title is: Registered Nurse
My actual position is: Acute Care Staff Nurse on a medical-surgical orthopedic floor

What does a normal day look like? Is it consistent throughout the year? If you’ve had this position for a while, how have things changed?

A typical day for me actually starts at around 7pm.  When the new shift comes on, we receive ‘report’ from the previous shift.  This lets us know more about the patients than we can find out by just looking at their charts.  After report, we assess each patient and pass out any evening medications they might need.  We also help them get ready for bed, which can mean helping them wash their back or face and brushing their teeth.  With a little bit of luck most of them will be able to get some sleep, but the rest of the night consists of rounding on each patient at least every hour, re-assessing at midnight, and passing morning medications starting around 5am.  Nurses are the “eyes and ears” of the doctor, so if we catch something going wrong with a patient or if we need to have a medication changed, we have to page the doctor in the middle of the night and inform them and then take and implement any new orders they may give.  I usually leave around 7:30am.

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Posted by Bonnie Speyers on 11/25 at 10:37 AM
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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What’s it like to be a….Lab Coordinator?

My job title is: Laboratory Coordinator
My actual position: Glorified Lab Assistant/Facilities Manager

What does a normal day look like?  Is it consistent throughout the year?  If you’ve had this position for a while, how have things changed? 
On a normal day I start about a half hour before the rest of the lab gets in and my day doesn’t end until about a half hour after everyone else leaves.  During much of it, I am at the desk answering emails, scheduling and maintaining calendars, and calling vendors to either fix equipment or handle delivery problems. But a good portion also includes assisting the department with personnel problems.
It is consistent throughout the year for the most part.  When my laboratory started, we didn’t have any divisions like Human Resources or Finance Administration, or even IT.  I was the person people talked to for problems in these areas.  As we’ve grown, we’ve hired more and more experts in these fields.

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Posted by Bonnie Speyers on 11/19 at 04:21 PM
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What’s it like to be a….social worker?

My job title is: Outreach and Assessment Coordinator

My actual position: I’m in a social work agency, where I chair the department responsible for the intake of clients.

What does a normal day look like? Is it consistent throughout the year? If you’ve had this position for a while, how have things changed?
Most days look about the same, although there are always surprises. Our agency operates in people’s homes, so there’s a lot of driving, and then when I get back to the office, there’s a lot of paperwork. I also supervise three other people, so each day involves some time spent with them reviewing their work. The busiest time for me is the end of the month when I have to submit data about our monthly activities to the state. Our agency is funded by the state of New York, so I have to prove to them that we’re accomplishing enough to merit the money. This involves a lot of paperwork.

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Posted by Bonnie Speyers on 11/19 at 04:13 PM
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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What’s it like to be a…Senior Art Director?

My job title is: Senior Art Director
My actual position is: senior art director, graphic designer, photo/video director, copywriter, strategic consultant, product designer, event promotions, illustrator, teacher, public speaker, etc

What does a normal day look like? Is it consistent throughout the year? If you’ve had this position for a while, how have things changed?

A typical day starts with a check-in with our production “traffic” coordinator to find out what projects are hot and if there’s anything that’s changed that I need to be aware of. Then, check emails, open up design programs on my Mac and start working the projects. That could mean brainstorming with a group or alone, researching, idea generating, creating sketches or designs, updating designs, making changes the client’s requested, printing copies and making prototypes, working with a copywriter, going on a photoshoot, traveling to meet with a client, presenting creative ideas or designs to a client, or sending something to be published.

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Posted by Bonnie Speyers on 11/18 at 05:19 PM
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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What’s it like to be a….financial advisor?

My job title is: Financial Advisor
My actual position is:  Most people would refer to my job as a “Stock Broker” but because it includes much more than merely stocks, “Financial Advisor” is a more appropriate title.

What does a normal day look like? Is it consistent throughout the year? If you’ve had this position for a while, how have things changed?
In a typical day I arrive in my office before the stock or bond markets open and begin by game planning my day.  As in most jobs, a clear plan of which goals to accomplish on a particular day keep me focused on the tasks at hand.  Once I have a plan of action for the day, I generally read about the happenings of the stock market and the general news.  I do not read about the news and the markets for merely enjoyment but so that I am continually educated and ready to help lead my clients with current pertinent information.  Keeping an eye on the ever changing news is also important throughout the day.  Typical tasks for any given day include phone calls to and meetings with both current and prospective clients to jointly find clarity in their investment paths.  Prior to every phone call or appointment I review the client’s account so that I feel more fully prepared to answer their questions or concerns.  It is also good to remind myself prior to every discussion that is important to understand that the investments being discussed are my client’s assets, and it is their wishes and desires that must be followed, not my intentions.  Another task to have on my to-do list is to look to the future to continually add new clients and assets to my book of business.  Over the past few years I have improved the efficiencies of what is accomplished, but the standard practice remains the same.

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Posted by Bonnie Speyers on 11/11 at 10:50 AM
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Monday, November 03, 2008

What’s it like to be a….Registered Dietitian?

My job title is: Registered Dietitian (RD)
My actual position is: Coordinator of Corporate Wellness & Sustainability

What does a normal day look like? Is it consistent throughout the year? If you’ve had this position for a while, how have things changed?

My position as a Registered Dietitian for a food service management company is somewhat unique.  I travel to around the country and provide nutrition education, menu, sanitation, and sustainability planning for my company’s accounts.  My position has changed quite a bit since I took it six years ago.  As environmental concerns have gained attention, many companies were called to action, including mine.  I became the coordinator of our sustainability program, which was a big challenge as this wasn’t exactly part of the curriculum when I attended school.  I’ve learned that the environment and nutrition are even more intrinsically linked than I originally thought and that has greatly influenced how I look at food and nutrition.

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Posted by Bonnie Speyers on 11/03 at 11:15 AM
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What’s it like to be an….ELS Instructor/Academic Counselor?

What does a normal day look like? Is it consistent throughout the year? If you’ve had this position for a while, how have things changed? 
I’ve only been in this job for two months – and I’m loving it!  I teach an English class that is specifically designed for international students so we talk about American academic culture, culture shock, and how to juxtapose home cultures with school cultures.  This class meets three times a week for one hour.  The rest of my time is spent meeting with students who are on academic probation, advising my English students, and designing my next lesson.  Each day is different.  This job is only a ½ time job, but I spend most of my day at work creating and developing ideas.

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Posted by Bonnie Speyers on 11/03 at 11:10 AM
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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

What’s it like to be a….Orthotist?

My job title is: Certified Orthotist
My actual position is: Director

What does a normal day look like? Is it consistent throughout the year? If you’ve had this position for a while, how have things changed?
A normal day consists of seeing patients, where I evaluate the patient according to the prescription; measure, cast and fit the patient. I instruct the patient on wear and care of their device. I may also fabricate or adjust the device in the lab. I may order products and check products in that were ordered.  Everyday is consistent, but it feels different because of all of the different patients I see each day. The patients will range from newborns to geriatrics. Once the patient leaves your office, then I have to dictate my notes for the patient’s chart.  The longer you are in a position, the more responsibility you acquire and the more the patients become familiar with you as well as doctors and other healthcare workers.

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Posted by Bonnie Speyers on 10/21 at 10:47 AM
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Monday, October 13, 2008

What’s it like to be an…Occupational Therapist?

My job title is: Occupational Therapist

What does a normal day look like? Is it consistent throughout the year? If you’ve had this position for a while, how have things changed?
A normal day as a staff therapist consists of evaluating and treating patients. This is consistent throughout the year. Things have changed in health care and time spent with each patient has become much less in the clinic. There is a greater focus on home exercise programming and the role of the therapist is as much that of an educator of disease and treatment as it is a therapist.

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Posted by Bonnie Speyers on 10/13 at 03:34 PM
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