Here Come the Big Boss?

This is a thought that I’ve been having, lately. “I want to be Dean someday.” The thrust of my career appears to be on a management track. I’m not a teacher. I don’t have a particular subject specialty. I’m not a tech guy, and I have a strictly pragmatic attitude toward data. My skills, experience, and training have been about procedures, practices, and policies. It’s been managing service points and solving problems. It’s been personnel, coaching, and mentorship. I’m going to be getting more and more exposure to management and leadership training this year, and eventually, I will outgrow my current situation and desire something different; something bigger. After being the department head at a large university the options for me will be to take a similar job at an even larger university, or an upper management position at a smaller one. This assumes, of course, that there won’t be a promotion opportunity in my current institution.

If this is what the next career goal is, then I need to be preparing for that possibility now. One of the biggest mistakes I made in library school was to not look at job ads until I was ready to graduate. It was only then, that I realized how inadequate my library education really had been. I’m grateful that I was able to work in libraries while I was in school, otherwise I’d not have had a snowball’s chance in Hell. So, now I need to figure out how to improve myself to be attractive to another employer in 2-5 years. Even if a deanship — or assistant deanship — is not possible in that time I’ll certainly have to prepare myself for whatever that intermediate step is.

While I have no particular desire to go back to formal education, the fact is that I’m going to have to to advance in my career. My Bachelor’s in Religious Studies and Masters of Arts in Education with a focus on Library and Information Science (is it me, or is there an inverse relationship to the number of words in your degree and it’s prestige?) are not going to impress anyone on a search committee when the time comes. What will impress people are publications, presentations, awards, institutes, certificates, and further degrees. In short, I’d better get busy.

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