Clear as mud

2008/11/03

So here I am in Phoenix on my second week long commute to the office and I realized that most of you probably have no idea what my job actually is. No need to feel bad about it. (Unless you are a man at church who when in the course of making small talk has asked me what my husband does and after I not so subtlety drop hints that I too might have an interesting career to converse about and you have ignored me and plowed right on - you should feel bad about that.) It's never been a question I've answered even to my own satisfaction. Let me try again. For the past nine (!!!) years I have worked for Glendale Community College in the College Research Services department. My job title is Coordinator of Institutional Effectiveness which I find exceedingly silly. I have had a few job titles since I began at GCC: Research Assistant, Institutional Research Analyst, and even Acting Director of Research and Planning. Some days I think of myself as a data analyst, some days I think of myself as a report writer, some days I think of myself as the guru high on the hill that people come to ask questions of. Basically, I help people answer their (hopefully intelligent) questions about data and trends related our students and the classes we offer. Who are our students? What classes do they take most often? How do certain populations perform in certain classes? How did changing x in a program change y? Ad infinitum. Anytime anyone needs to make a smart decision, our office can provide data to back up or challenge their assertions. I push a magic button on my computer and make the answer pop out. With pretty charts and graphs. Must have the pretty charts and graphs.

I love my job (most of the time) and it is very well suited for my particular brain. It was a happy accident that I found it and I'm so glad that I did. I was set to quit so that I could stay home after Tessa was born but my boss at the time offered me an opportunity to work half time and mostly from home. I gave it a shot and it has been fantastic. Not always easy, but I am extremely grateful for it. I feel very fortunate, especially knowing there are many who don't have such a great opportunity. GCC again has given me a great opportunity - this time allowing me to move my graph producing self 1,000 miles away and still keep my awesome job. So I fly back every so often to remind them what a fantastic employee I am. And now we're back at the beginning - me in Phoenix. Tada!

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