Thursday, March 22, 2012
Your Career and You: "I Know I Didn't Come to Work...What Can I Do for 'Extra Credit'?"
I just sent out a batch of “academic warnings” to students who, for various and sundry reasons, somehow haven’t found time to come to class after spring break.
For those of you who I haven’t “met” yet, I teach full-time at Curry College where I oversee the Communication Department’s undergraduate Public Relations Concentration and teach most of the PR courses.
I also teach part-time in the graduate Organizational and Professional Communication area at Regis College.
The neat thing about this “warning” system at Curry is that the message goes both to the student and to his or her faculty advisor…“You can run, but you can’t hide!”
Awesome responses to my “warnings”!
“I didn’t feel well…and couldn’t email you.”
“I was on vacation and didn’t get back until today." (Three days after classes resumed)
“I had two sports games that I was playing in and couldn’t come to class.”
“I know I’ve been slacking off…can I do an extra credit assignment to make it up?”
Wow…I’m having this mental image of a few years in the future!
“Mr./Ms. X, you’ve missed three days’ work this week and I didn’t hear anything from you during that period.
I’m so sorry, Mr./Ms. Y. There was an away Red Sox game that I really wanted to see, so I went. I know we had that deadline to meet…What can I do to make it up?”
There seems to be a major disconnect in some folks’ mind about the definition of “responsibility.”
The professional world doesn’t do “extra credit.”
Either the job gets done, or it doesn’t.
Either you meet expectations...
...Or you don’t.
College should be a training ground where you learn to multi-task, where you learn to think and behave like an adult, and where you develop a sense of responsibility…”It’s on my shoulders to make sure this gets done.”
Why? Because employers have an expectation...unreasonable in the eyes of some with whom I've chatted...that you will actually do what you have been hired...and have agreed...to do.
And most of the troops with whom I interact get it.
But there are a few who, for reasons known only to them and those who brought them into this world, don’t.
I don’t have a magic answer for this. But I do have a bit of advice.
Because, if you don’t, there will come a time when you will be faced with a “what do I do?” situation. We all encounter those dilemmas.
And you will have to make a decision.
What will it be?
"The identity crisis...occurs in that period of the life cycle when each youth must forge for himself some central perspective and direction, some working unity, out of the effective remnants of his childhood and the hopes of his anticipated adulthood."
Erik Homburger Erikson, "Young Man Luther" , ch. 3