What attracted you to student affairs? How did you land your current role? What would you like to tell your institution? SA-exchange editorial board member Alero Ogbeide shares what drew her to her current role below. What would be in your letter?
An Open Letter to my New Institution
Whenever I’m feeling blue or feeling like life is getting me down, I just think of the day you called and changed my life. I had just emailed you requesting that I be removed from the candidate pool: I had told myself that it was solely because I’d taken a different job elsewhere when really it was because I was afraid of being rejected by you.
And then you called eleven minutes later – a true stroke of fate – without having read my email. I dreaded telling you that I’d already removed myself from the process, which surprisingly did nothing to sway your decision and original reason for calling, because I was expecting the hard sell or a plethora of persuasive tactics to come out of the woodwork.
Instead, you said four words that changed everything: “What do you need?” You wanted to know what I needed to make my decision.
That moment, above all others, immediately showed me your true colours, the core values to which you hold yourselves accountable. The same values that I use to guide my work decisions. Those four words resulted in more than me accepting the job offer: it gave me a reason – unrelated to location or benefits or responsibilities or hours or anything else that usually influences one’s decision – to accept a different position at a new institution. The sheer fact that you care more about whether I made a decision that was good for me and less about whether you could get what may have been perceived as an addition to your institution, something or someone to gain in order to better yourselves – it made me realize the kind of environment I wanted to be part of.
I wanted to be part of somewhere that empowers people to make their own decisions, somewhere that allows others to grow by educating them and letting them make what they think are the best options for themselves, somewhere that lets people either reap the benefits of their actions or learn from their mistakes, somewhere that puts both the personal and professional development of their own above all else: in other words, somewhere that cares.
Thank you for showing me, a prospective employee, that you cared, and thank you for showing me time and time again that you value me, not just for my contributions and for the work that I do, but also for who I am as a person.