More please…


Author
Stefanie Mancuso Norris

Published
September 25, 2017


I started my professional career in Higher Education as an ambitious, extroverted, and energetic program board advisor. My first year the Association for Campus Entertainment (ACE) was my world. I ate pizza and catered cookies at least two meals a week, had more Facebook photos in an event staff shirt than any other item of clothing. At the end of that year, as I thought about what year two as a professional would hold, I realized I needed to seek other opportunities in the department and on campus. Around that time, the Director of the union took me to lunch and challenged me to decipher what I enjoyed at work from what I was good at, and then try to take opportunities that involved both. She cautioned me that if I was not intentional when seeking additional responsibilities I would easily find myself doing things I was good at that I might not enjoy. Since then, I have continued to seek additional opportunities within my department and on campus. I have learned some key things when it comes to saying “more please”…

  • Your request may not always come in the form you are hoping for.
    • When I first began to entertain being the Director of a student union, I realized I would need experience with facilities as well as programing. When I approached my Director about it, he agreed and said he would see what kind of opportunities he could involve me in. The opportunity he found was an art gallery space, something I knew little about, within one of our buildings. Managing that gallery is still one of the most challenging things I have ever taken on. But my experience managing that space led to managing a movie theater and game room (which I was able to renovate in 2016).
  • More responsibility most often does not mean more money.
    • It can be challenging when making an entry level (or even senior level) salary to not feel financially compensated for the additional work you are doing. I challenge you to see the additional responsibilities as an investment. The experiences and contacts gained through these opportunities will be what help you get the next (and likely higher paying) job.
  • More responsibility means more time
    • If you are already feeling stretched thin, asking for more responsibility and expecting to work at the same pace is not realistic. Often times the additional responsibility may not be permanent, therefore, it may be about sacrificing time for the experience. For example, last year I became a Title IX investigator, so when a case is assigned, it is expected that I am doing that work alongside my actual job which may mean extra hours.
  • It is okay to say no
    • Sometimes it is not realistic to take something on because the timing or the opportunity does not work. Be gracious as you decline and explain that you would be interested in future opportunities.
  • Be intentional
    • When you look at job descriptions for future positions, consider what experiences they are looking for that you are not learning in your current role and think (or brainstorm with your mentor) ways you can learn these skills.

Opportunities can only be given when they are available, so be patient and communicate with your supervisor and, when appropriate, their supervisor. More responsibility is given to professionals who demonstrate competency and the ability to manage multiple tasks simultaneously. I challenge you to reflect on what you enjoy and ask those you respect where your strengths are. Seek tasks that blend both and good luck!

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Stefanie Mancuso Norris is in her 8th year at the University of North Carolina Wilmington where she serves as the Director of Campus Life Arts and Programs. She has a bachelors from Longwood University and her masters in College Student Personnel Administration from James Madison University. She enjoys living at the beach, spending time with family and friends, and pizza. She can be reached at [email protected].


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