Debunking 5 Myths about Young Professionals

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EDUCAUSE Rising Voices| Season 1, Episode 2

In this episode, we discuss five misconceptions about young professionals and why some people have a skewed vision of younger generations. (Recorded live at the EDUCAUSE 2023 Conference.)

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——好吧,好吧,欢迎来到Educause”上升Voices Podcast," where we amplify the voices of young professionals in higher education. I'm your co-host, Wes Johnson. I'm joined by-

- And I'm Sarah Buszka.

- And we are gonna be talking, five myths about young professionals. But we are joined by some esteemed guests. We have Kate Hash and Monica Rosen. So, both of you, thank you. We're so excited to have y'all on with us. So we wanna ask real quick, we already got name, position, institution, and your superpower. I'm Batman, who are y'all?

- Well, first off, I'm very happy to be here. Thank you for allowing us to be on here.

- My name is Monica Rosen, as you mentioned. I'm an instructional designer at the University of Michigan. And I would probably say my superpower is, you know, creative problem-solving. I really like to solve problems. And there's, you know, no problem, If you come to me with a problem, I like to spitball five or 10 suggestions for solutions for your problem. I just really like to help people overcome their hurdle. And take back a little bit of the stress of the anxiety that comes from having a problem and work through that.

- I'll need you on speed dial.

- Hey, y'all, I'm Kate Hash. I'm Assistant Vice Chancellor for Customer Experience and Engagement at UNC Chapel Hill. That's a really long title. I run a lot of our customer-facing support services for campus. And my superpower is probably that I can show up and talk about anything. So I'm excited to be here. Excited for y'all to throw some of the myths at us and just see what we think about it, me and Monica.

- The perfect podcast guests.

- There you go. Hopefully.

- Thank you for being here.

- And, Sarah, I heard that you've now stepped in the radioactive dew, you've developed a new superpower, right, correct? You wanna update the folks? What's the new superpower?

- Sure. Wes and I are just going to give everyone an update on our new superpowers for each episode. My superpower is I am a community builder. I really love bringing people together, and I love to see folks thrive together. Thank you, Wesley.

——是的,在这里。她带我们一起,the super team all at once. So five myths about young professionals. Real quick, a huge shout-out to the Young Professionals Community Group. We reached out to y'all to get some topics. We had none, you gave us 10. So thank you very much. We're gonna start this off. First, does anyone wanna speak to just young professionals in general? Anyone wanna kick this thing off before we jump into the talk?

- I mean, I think what's really interesting is just this definition of young in higher ed, we joked about it on the YPAC, right? Only in higher ed can you be 40 and be considered a young professional still, right? But I do think young to me is an age thing. It is, maybe you're new to higher ed, you're new to your institution. It's more of like an energy, it's more of a vibe than just a straight age I would say. So that's how I'm sort of gonna think about things today.

- Tell me more about the vibe, Kate, how would you describe it?

- When I think about like our YPAC and our Young Professionals CG, it's just folks who have a lot of energy. They're bringing a lot of energy to their work, to their job, and to the community as well. I feel like the Young Professionals Community is amazing. I mean through a lot of like y'all's hard work too in the group. So it is, it's an energy that everyone has.

- I like that.

- That's a great point, I reflect on that a lot. 'Cause it's like on one end, I've been doing higher ed for 13 years, and to me 13 years sounds like a lot of time.

- It is.

——当然。Am I still young-

- Feels like 30.

- He'll be retiring.

- We never get to retire.

- Yeah, right.

- No, that's our gift.

- Well speaking of gifts, we got some myths to bless with folks. I'm gonna kick it off. So the first one that we got from the YPCG. In mentorship, the young professional is the mentee and not the mentor. We don't generally serve the mentor role. What is, let me know, is that real or not? Can we be mentors, instead of just-

- Mentees.

- Do you wanna go first, should we-

- Sure. I'm probably gonna build off of what you said, Kate, just a moment ago. 'Cause I think that's a really good point. That, you know, I think that this can be a swap, mentor and mentee can swap. Because again, young professionals may be coming in young to higher ed, or higher ed IT, or ed tech, but they come still with a lot of experiences. And so I think that they can still bring that knowledge that they have from their former, you know, career in an outside of higher ed. And be, you know, a mentor to, you know, what would traditionally be a mentee in that way. So I think, yeah, I think that would be a myth for me.

- Yeah.

- That it always has to be like a mentor mentee relationship and there's no swap.

- Right. What I'm hearing is like the reverse mentorship is a thing.

- Mm-hm.

- And, you know, maybe we don't have to look at mentorship as, you know, older folks mentoring younger folks. Maybe we can look at it, maybe we can just drop that entire thing.

- Mm-hm.

- And look at it through the lens of you can learn something from anyone.

- Yeah.

- I mean, I think that's really gets to the heart of it too. Because we so often think about mentorship, again, as an age thing or hierarchical.

- Right.

- Like, oh, if you're a CIO, you should be mentoring someone below you. And I have advised folks in the past to find mentors to address specific, like, skill gaps. And when you approach things that way, age becomes almost irrelevant because you're just trying to learn from someone, like plain, that's it. You're not really focused on the age, or the experience level, you're trying to like get better at one piece of what you do.

- Right. I can attest to that because Kate is a mentor of mine. I consider all the old mentors my thing and Kate especially. And I have heard her talk about, and I have actually architected some of my network, around that advice and knowing who to go to for certain things. There's some people that I go to if I just need an idea championed. And not question and I just need someone to be my to cheerleader- Right?

- Yeah.

- And then there's some folks I go to when I want you just to eviscerate an idea I have and help me build it up and make it better. And those folks sometimes are mutually exclusive.

- I would add to that, I wanna kind of double down on busting this one, right? So when I think of mentorship at its core, right, it's really just a exchange of experiences and all of us come with experiences. So it really doesn't matter on how long you've been doing what or, you know, X and Y. But I will add, though, that as a new professional coming into a situation, that hierarchical setup does kind of at least set some targets. Like, hey, if I wanna be a CIO it makes sense to mentor with a CIO or someone who's close to that role. I do think it's on the more experienced, young professionals included, that when we're in those scenarios that we're the ones that bring to that mentorship. Like, hey, it's not just about we giving to you. I wanna get something out of this as well. I think you have experience that I wanna learn from. So I do think putting that all on someone who just stepped into the door is really hard to do. 'Cause they're gonna look up and down and say, yep, I talked to this person, that person, that person 'cause that makes sense. Right?

- Mm-hm, right.

- And I think, Wes, you're getting to something that's really important about mentorship, which is you have to know why you're doing it. Why you're asking someone. You know, I've had folks say, "Hey, would you mentor me?" I'm like, "Yeah, what would you like to get out of this relationship?" And sometimes there's not great answers. So, some of it is like really understanding what you're hoping to get. 'Cause being a mentor is, can be time intensive, depending on how many folks you're talking to at once. You know, there are some Educause, you know, big names in this Educause community and I'll hear like 50 different people say, "That's my mentor." I'm like, "Is this person, like what do they, what else do they do? This is amazing. They're giving so much of themselves." And I think one of the most respectful things you can do when you're looking for a mentor is really think through, like what, what you would like to receive from them. So that relationship is, you know, mutually beneficial. And then peer mentoring. Like, I actually think young professionals are amazing for peer mentoring too. Because, like, just the way we all talk to each other, and engage, and learn from one another.

- And I think we all grew up, you know, relatively around, you know, a generation where giving feedback and soliciting feedback is normal.

- Yeah.

- And we almost want more of it than I think some of our, you know, maybe bosses, predecessors, before us have been used to. And, you know, because, for us, it comes so free flowing, it feels almost like there's something wrong. Or even when void of feedback or not peering that-

- Yep.

- You know, peer mentoring kind of discussion that you can say.

- Yeah.

- It just comes naturally to us. So to further bust this myth and, you know, for a group of folks who really feel comfortable soliciting, and giving feedback, and peer mentoring, and all of these things, that's just kind of in our DNA, you know, why wouldn't you wanna be mentored by professionals? Especially since we're so experienced and comfortable with it.

- Yeah.

——当然。So we bust that one.

- Busted, busted it.

- All of us can be mentors, all of us can be mentees. It's about sharing experiences. We got one more from the YPCG and I wanna open it up to our esteemed colleagues here-

- All right.

- To see what they might be thinking. The next one I have on the list is, young professionals won't work with one organization long term. We give y'all two, three years and then we're ready to go to the next thing. We wanna go to the Googles, the Microsofts, the everythings. We don't wanna stick around. Is that true? Do we wanna just stay or not stay, but move on?

- So one of the things, when y'all sent out the long list of some of the myths, I said, "Okay, let me, step one, what if I don't get defensive right away? And what if I ask, is this really a bad thing?"

- Mm-hm.

- And so let's even just go down the pathway of that being true. I'm not sure it is, but let's pretend that it's true. What's bad about that? What's bad about getting a really highly motivated, high performing employee for two or three years, who comes in and does great things for your organization, makes you think about things differently, introduces new ideas? I mean, there's pros and cons, right? There's pros and cons to everything. But that's one, and I've had this discussion with my team and my organization. Is it a bad thing if people stay for just three years? So I would be interested to hear what y'all think about that.

- So this is something we actually touched on last year in our presentation, Kate.

- Yes, yeah.

- At the annual conference, which feels like almost yesterday, but also a decade ago.

- Yeah.

- Our topic was really about, you know, the next generation leaders. And how do you know when you're at a point your career at a certain institution or a role, where it's time to move on? And I agree, I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing if you realize, I've gotten everything that I wanted to get out of this role. And if I continue, I'm just doing what I already know That that growth, you know, is minimized. And how can I really be effective for others, for the teams I'm leading, for services I'm providing, if I'm maybe stale or stagnant or you know? And I think it's okay to say, I've gotten what I need to get out of this role. And maybe that is in two years, maybe it's in ten.

- Yeah.

- But, you know, I also agree that, you know, getting stuck on duration for, you know, calendar time in a role, I think is a box we need to really get out of. And really more focus on how we're, you know, learning in this role, how we're growing, what value we're adding. And you can't really measure that in the calendar time, consistently across all roles, all institutions, you know? I'm curious what you think.

——是的,这对我来说一直是一个挑战,in that so, a lot of my career has been in the front-facing, frontline support areas. And we do have a bit of a stigma. You're supposed to be here for a short period of time and then you're supposed to move on. We're one of the very clear entry levels of IT organization. On the flip side, I have several folks who have worked for me over the years that they very much enjoy that type of work. They would rather grow in that field. And sometimes feel a little lost in the messaging because part of the messaging is like, hey, I'm trying to get you outta here. I don't think you should be here too long. Two years is being here too long. And so, I've actually only recently started to have those conversations. So to kind of get to this, I think I'm agreeing with the group that I don't really think it's bad or good. It's just a matter of what your own situation is personally, professionally, and what makes sense when those opportunities come up. I moved across the country after 10 years, or almost 11 years, with the University of Georgia to go work at UC Berkeley. I don't know if I'm gonna be at UC Berkeley for 10 years or not. It really just depends on what opportunities come about. Where my family is at the moment, you know? At the end of the day, if my wife says, "We ain't leaving," I'm probably not leaving.

- I love that though, Wes, 'cause when I started at UNC a decade ago, I probably would've thought I was only gonna stay for a couple years. And here I am a decade later. So I also think you can go into a job thinking it's short term.

- Right.

- And then, you know, the institution or the organization can show you ways you can grow there. And I think that is on us as leaders to help young people envision, not just careers like in our institutions, but in higher ed. We talk about this all the time, Sarah. How do you keep talented people in higher ed? So I think that becomes an important conversation too.

- Yeah, I could get on my soapbox about that, but I'm curious to hear what Monica thinks.

- Yeah, so I mean, I agree that it's probably, you know, I don't think that people come in thinking, like they have a totally end goal as to where this position is gonna take them. Am I gonna be here for two or three years or am I gonna stay here? You're normally often trying to figure out is there still space for me to grow here?

- Yeah.

- Is my company, and my team, and my department investing in me? And am I getting something out of this? Is there a space, even in my unit, that I can grow from? Or, you know, transfer into a unit that's still with your own university? It kind of depends on how those opportunities kind of manifest over time. And you know, what kind of feedback you're getting from them. I mean, but a lot of times, yeah, especially in the entry level of some of these higher ed IT, I mean we're seeing these two, three year contract positions. So it's almost like they're kind of telling us that, you know, this is for two or three years and then you're expected to move on from there. So, I mean, it's a little bit of a flip, you know, like maybe you do want more. Maybe you wanna take this position and go into a new position and bring those skills with you to do something different, or something more, or grow. And other times you're like, this is where I'm meant to be and you grew in and you grow deeper, instead of necessarily wider or higher.

- Right.

- So I mean it kind of depends on your goals.

- Right. That's a great point too that you brought up, where some of these positions are framed as two or three year positions.


- Almost like expecting- That younger professionals, or folks going into entry level roles, are going to leave in that amount of time. And so I wonder, how much are we actually perpetuating the problem?

- Mm-hm.

- Yep. And that speaks to what I was talking about earlier, using my example of, I very much had the mindset of if you stay two, three years at my help desk, then I'm failing you. Like I feel like you need to be moving on.

- Yeah.

- There's a whole bunch of reasons why. How long do you wanna get yelled at by customer, right? Y'all-

- How long would you like to endure suffering?

- Right, right, exactly. But again, the lesson learned is I had several individuals like, "No Wes, I wanna be help desk manager one day. I wanna be a lead. If I go somewhere, I'm gonna go to a bigger service desk area 'cause this is actually something I enjoy doing. Even with all the hard things that we have to deal with. I don't wanna go and be a information security analyst, or anything like that." So it can be a bit of a conflict. 'Cause again, I've gotten in front of large groups and said, "Hey y'all, I'm training you up so you can get outta here and that's all success." And half the room's like, "Yeah, let's go." And the other half's like, "What about me?"

- Yeah, yeah.

——当然。Absolutely. So any other thoughts on long term? It sounds like we're busting this one. It really is just down to your personal experiences of what opportunities are in front of you.

我认为一个神话at is true is that young professionals will leave if they're not engaged. I think that is something very true about millennials and and Gen Z, is that if they're not engaged and challenged, they will leave.

- Yeah.

- And so I think it's up to us to keep folks engaged.

- Right. And building on that a little bit, I kind of wanna go into this, this is my myth that I'm gonna bring up.

- Let's do it.

- Let's do it. Wes sat back into his chair and is ready. So I hear so often, and my husband runs a staffing company, and he hears so often clients saying, "People don't wanna work. People are lazy." And typically these people are younger folks. And, you know, I've heard millennials are lazy, all of those things, right? And my soapbox, that I wanna be on and talk about, is I think that is exceptionally untrue. And why I'm saying that is because, as chair of the YPAC, we worked with folks within Educause to do a young professional survey of all of the young professionals in the Educause community. So thousands of folks were interviewed and we got data to show, hey, is this true or not? And what we learned was the majority of young professionals who responded are the most educated folks in our entire domain. You know, where they have, most of them all have bachelor's degrees. Most have master's degrees or multiple master's degrees. And more folks, more young identifying folks, have PhDs than anyone in our community. And so, if you're going to call us lazy, I don't know how many lazy people go out and get multiple master's degrees, bachelors, and PhDs. But you know, that's only, I know, one measure of, you know, success, or commitment, or showing up for something. But it's a big one. And frankly, it's our business.

- Yeah.

- And we show up for our business and we invest in the products that we sell, which is education, right? More than anyone. And I'm in grad school right now. I have a full-time job right now. I'm involved with this community a lot right now. And you know, it really irks me when folks think that young professionals are lazy because I don't feel lazy. And I look at everyone at this table, I look at our entire YPAC team, many of us, you have a master's degree. I mean, our audience doesn't know, Monica has a master's degree. And, you know, we all show up and we do so much. Wes just won the Rising Star Award. We show up in our community so much and we are so engaged. And I think lazy is the last word that should be used to describe young professionals.

- I think people are confusing laziness with an unwillingness to let the job run your life in a way that previous generations have.

- Yeah.

- And our general session speaker we just heard from, Dr Tressie McMillan Cottom, has a phrase that I share with everyone. You've heard it a thousand times. It's that, "The institution cannot love you." And for a lot of people that sounds pessimistic. I don't think it's pessimistic, I think it's realistic. And the institution is never going to give you back as much as you give to it. I think in most cases. Obviously, I'm generalizing here. And I think what you see is a lot of young professionals willing to do the work, do the work well. But they are not going to give their lives over to the work in a way that previous generations did. And I think where you see that generational struggle is in one or two generations that have decided what their boundaries are. And another generation that never got those boundaries.

- Right, right.

- We're not empowered to have those boundaries.

- Right.

- And I think that's some of the friction you see.

- I agree. And I think our generation is not only good at setting boundaries, but we hold them too. And that takes an entirely different skillset.

- Correct.

- And yeah, practice, right. And I think, you know, what we were talking about earlier with peer mentoring, I think we talk about that amongst ourselves. Say, hey, you know, this is happening, what do you think? And we have our peer mentors come in and say, yeah, you're right that's not okay. Or, you know, that is, calm down, right? And I really agree. I think it's a lot more of being honest with ourselves. And I don't think, we're not asking for ridiculous things. We're asking for, you know, work life balance.

- Mm-hm.

- And things that I feel are are rights as orders.

- Yeah.

- I think what I've always found interesting about this conversation is, I don't know about y'all, but since I've started working, do more with less has been a constant theme throughout my whole young career, right? And so, to me, I read that as, I'm doing more than the people before me.

- Yeah.

- People with the same jobs, therefore how am I lazy?

- Yeah.

- I mean, quite literally, have built that into our strategic plans for the past 10, 15 years.

- Yeah, myth busted. 100%. I agree. You know, and they didn't look at, you know, your predecessors, or more resources that they had even, and sometimes the teams were double the size.

- Mm-hm.

- Add some more funding, double the budget. And that we're being asked to deliver more services faster, 24/7, 365, but still be told to do less. And I know this isn't, you know, any one singular person's fault. I think it's certainly, you know, true in for all of us in higher education, especially in public institutions. But it shouldn't be that way. And so when, you know, young professionals kind of get caught up in this lazy, or you know, not wanting to work. It's like, well, that's really difficult to work and be successful if we're not set up for success. If you're not giving us the funding or the staff, how are we supposed to execute and meet those expectations if we're not being given the same resources? We're not even on the same playing field. So you have to adjust your expectations. And I feel like that also is where that friction comes into play.

- I'm curious, you work a lot with faculty.

- I do.

- Do you feel like the faculty have that myth as well? That younger, like the students, in particular, are lazy?

——我的意思是,看情况。是的,有时候。我想说的I think, you know, one of the other issues, especially with older generations, is in that we're talking about how the work has changed and you evolved over time, is that also older generations don't know what it means to be online all the time. To have every communication, Slack, and Google, and G-chat, and app mentioning on docs, you know, like we do have to be protective of our time. We have to be protective of our time because we're literally on the clock, like, it feels like all the time.

- Right.

- And then to add to that, I think that another thing that's, you know, that young professionals add, is that we try to work smarter, not harder, in that we try to be even more efficient. So we look at kind of like the old ways of doing things and we'll try and find ways to automatize that or to, you know, for our own sanity, protect our time. And that may be like, well why are you doing it a different way? We've always done it this way. Well your way takes a lot more time. Is, you know, we don't have all those resources that you have. And so we try and find and build processes that make it easier so that we can manage that time.

- Right. That is such a great point. And I feel like many of us have been, millennials especially and Gen Z too, have been raised to just, you know, optimize everything.

- We have to when you don't have that many resources as before, right? So you have to be smart and you have to be creative about-

- Right.

- How to get that work done.

- I can't tell you how many times I say work smart not hard. I think I say it to our team too. Like, how do we do this better? How do we do this more smart, so we don't have to the spend time? You know, I think about from an opportunity, every minute we spend doing something that has maybe a better way of executing, we're losing a minute on actually focusing on something more worthwhile.

- I'd also say we can't be lazy because the speed of change is so rapid. I mean, it used to be you could put in a technology and feel pretty good it was gonna be around for 10 or 15 years.

- Yeah.

- Mm-hm.

- I have zero expectation of that now anytime I do an implementation and that's different. You can't be lazy when you know you're gonna be changing technology on three to five year cycles.

- Right.

- I mean it's more with less, it's changing more frequently. So I just think it's, sometimes I feel like the generations have just lived in different worlds.

- Right.

- Different realities.

- Very much so.

- Speaking of those different worlds, I'm gonna put on my dad hat 'cause we argue about this sometimes.

- Here we go.

- So, you know, I talk to my dad, say we talk about the experience of going to college. Back in his day, right? They had to go to the school, they had to go to the registrar's office physically. They had to go to the admissions office physically. They had to go to the bursar physically. Me, I went on the Internet at home, you know, probably in my pajamas, and typed up one document, and I got accepted into college. So there's an argument there that I've gotten, we've got back and forth, right. He didn't call me lazy. But he did- He said, it was more for him, but he had to do more things. It took more time, more effort to do stuff. So I'm curious, like, what are our thoughts on that? That there's an older generation, someone mentioned here already that it's a different experience. There are some barriers to them. It does feel like it's a little easier because of work that they've done. That they built some things and put some things in place that made it a little bit more efficient for us. What are our thoughts?

- I would walk to every office if it meant the tuition was $50.

- Yeah.

- No, I mean, I think, like it's valid. I hear that. But also that, I mean, it was a different reality then. And just, you know, and again, I think that just gets the generational differences. Like, I just don't think it's apples to apples.

- Mm-hm.

- Just those lived experiences that folks had.

- Yeah.

- Yeah, I totally agree and tell and tell him.

- How does that go over?

- You know, old man, we just argue all the time. So to our guests, we busted a few myths here. Are there any that y'all want to put on the table for us to talk about?

——当然,我有一个,我已经研究了thinking a little bit. And that was, you know, I'm going into a new phase of my career where I'm trying to look at things like leadership and what does it mean? How does somebody build leadership skills? Like there is no class really. I mean, I guess there are some classes, but you know, like as you're training, like how do you move into that position without having a leadership title? And I think that one of the myths is that you can only build leadership experiences with a leadership title. And so, I mean, one of the, I think this is a common myth. And so I think that you can be a leader, no matter what your title is, no matter where you're at in your career, no matter what position that you're in, just by looking at the availability around you. Like leadership in this project, leadership with an initiative, leadership by bridging units together. And yeah, that's one I'd love to discuss a little bit.

- Yeah, absolutely.

- What do you guys think?

- I'll take the shot, so. I think one of the, at least in my own experience, it's been the difference between not having a role that infers leadership versus one that you, it's the intention. This is what I'm trying to get to. There was things, to your point, that when I wanted to exhibit that I was ready for a more official position, I got involved in things. And I had to put a lot of my own intention in being involved. I had to seek out committees on campus. I had to seek out opportunities to say, hey, I'm here. I think I can do that. Or I'm interested in this project. Is there a place for me to assist? And I had to put myself out there to do it. Versus when I became a director for the first time, I was very much pulled into tables and seats. I didn't have to ask to be a part of that important meeting. Usually I was in the room as the idea was being developed and I could just decide, hm, do I wanna be a leader today or do I just wanna sit back and watch how this goes? So I feel like that's the difference I see earlier in career, I very much had to think outside of just my job and say, hey, is this opportunity, I wanna be X, Can I hop on this project? And do I think I see something that'll get me there? But I'm curious if that's similar for others.

- No, I think that's been my experience as well. And yesterday, Tara Hughes and I, Tara is the CIO at Cal State Maritime, did a pre-conference session on transitioning to leadership. And that was part of the advice that we gave to folks. You have to seek out some opportunities. I mean, getting involved in Educause is a great way to show leadership when that opportunity isn't available to you on your campus. Get involved in different committees. And even sometimes on campus, you're gonna have groups of IT professionals, women in technology, like different options to get involved and showcase your leadership. Because you can't always count on your institution to do it for you. But I agree with you, once you get that title that infers leadership, it's amazing how many doors can open for you and the seats you get at the table. And as that all sort of happened for me, I really tried to to like internalize it and remember it, so I can make those same opportunities for other people.

- Right.

- 'Cause it's really easy to go about your day to day and forget that you have folks who are looking for that one foot in the door.

- You're right. Right.

- So I'm curious then, how do you? So right now you are officially the title lead.

- Yeah.

- How do you make those opportunities?

- Yeah, so this is something else we talked about. I'm really sensitive to opportunity hoarding. And I think when you first get into a leadership position, it is so tempting to join every committee, to self nominate for every committee, every project, every chance for leadership, so that you can showcase things. And one of the really important things you have to learn to do as a leader is to step back. 'Cause you've already got the privilege of the title. Right?

- Right.

- You've already got that. So how do I make space for folks who want new opportunities? And sometimes that means I don't get to have, like the insight into a specific project or a committee, but someone else does.

- And my experience has been very similar. It's been stepping back and saying, "Okay, I don't have to say yes to every single thing for me directly." It's once I stepped into, particularly this role I'm in now. So I'm Executive Director for Campus IT Experience at UC Berkeley. And there are a million opportunities that pop up on my desk. And I feel like this is the first time that I've had this many people to think about and say, "Hm, I think so and so could be a great person for this opportunity." And really, I think the biggest thing is just, I'm in rooms that they're not gonna be in.

- Yep.

- Right.

- You know, just being honest about it. They're not gonna automatically get to sit at the executive leadership table or sit in cabinet meetings. So it is on me in a lot of scenarios to say, "You know what, I know someone, I can't do this right now." Probably could, but I can't do this right now. "I know someone that's really good at this." I give them my influence to say, "I think that this individual can do this job. I'm gonna put them in the spot. I'm gonna support them through it." But I'm gonna say, "It's on you now. I've given you what I've got to give. That's support you in being successful." And I found that when those scenarios work out, usually we both win. Like in the end I still look like the great leader and then I look like I've got this new leader that's up and coming. And so we end up all winning in the end. But it very much is the intention. I have to be very thoughtful and aware of like where my teams are, their bandwidth, experiences, and whether that matters in this scenario. Sometimes it's putting them in something they have no experience with.

- Yep.

- That's the pick.

- Right. And I feel like that scenario works really well because you have a name. Or you know of some, right? And for our young professional listeners, I wonder what advice we would have to make sure that those leaders, like yourselves at this table, know their names.

毫米。我想问你们,我有一些想法s. What are your thoughts on this one?

- I mean, I think you have to be your own advocate. I actually think that's one thing I've done really well in my career, is when I've had opportunities to advocate for myself, I've sort of raised my hand. or I've taken a leader to coffee. Or I've asked for a meeting. I've not been afraid to ask for things. But I always have a very purposeful agenda. Things I'm hoping to ask them for. And I try to take a respectable amount of their time. And sometimes it's just saying, if an opportunity comes up for this thing or this thing, please consider me for it. Not put me on it, not think of me first, but consider me for it. I think your words really matter in those situations, but you have to advocate for yourself. And that's not a comfort zone for a lot of people.

- Yeah, do you have a thought?

——我的意思是,我认为这些都是非常棒的点。like I said, I don't have that leadership title yet. But you know, I am trying to figure out, you know, what kinds of opportunities you can do to develop those skills and putting yourself out there. So I think these are all really great advice.

- Consider me.

- Yeah.

- Consider me.

- Just put it out there to the world. Consider us.

——我会把一件事因为我通过ionate about this. So colleagues, friends, all right? There is some meeting you're probably invited to on the regular. It might be a all staff meeting, some kind of leadership meeting. If you're invited, someone's saying that I wanna take X amount of time out of your day because I think it's important that you're there. Take advantage of that moment. If they do presentations, reach out, find out who runs it. Say, hey, I got this project I'm working on. I got this effort I'm working on. We're a 300 plus personal organization. I bet you 100 of them don't have any idea what I do. I'm gonna just talk about the work I did within a time span. It seems small and to you it probably won't seem that important 'cause you're like, I do this every day. It is not a big deal. I can't tell you how many help desk presentations I gave, while I'm sitting here rolling my eyes in my head. But it mattered. Like, and it almost instantly makes you an expert of that field in that moment.


- And it gives you an influence that, I don't know any other way to get it. There might be others, but I don't know any other way. And I think that's been critical in my career. The way I've been able to take advantage of those moments to say, if you're gonna have me here then I'm gonna make it meaningful, not just for y'all, but also for me.

- Right.

- And just talk about regular work. I didn't join a committee or anything like that. Just the work I've been doing and why I do it and here's the value that it added. That goes a very, very long way. People in that room, they pay attention. They notice. That's the moment they put the phone down, particularly the first couple of times you do it. So that would be my advice. Take advantage of those regular meetings that you just sit in and listen through all of it.

- Right. That's great advice. Yeah. What other myths do we have to bust that we did not cover today that anyone here wants to share?

- I mean, I think one that's been on my mind, is that young professionals don't belong around the senior leadership table. I mean, I don't wanna make any assumptions, but Wes, I bet at Berkeley you're probably in the same situation as me where there's no one else within a few years of you around that table.

- Yes.

- And that's an interesting feeling to have.

- Yeah.

- The first time you sit at it. 'Cause, you know, as a woman or a minority, you kind of expect that outsider, you know, feeling, but the age thing caught me by surprise. The first senior leadership meeting I went to, and I'm the youngest by 15 years. And realizing that that can bring a really unique perspective to the table. And that that is, in its own way, a really valuable asset to the university and to the IT leadership because we think differently about things.

- Right, right.

- And I always think about the very first senior leadership meeting I went to, I was newly appointed Chief of Staff. And one of the requests we had was to provide Office 365 accounts in perpetuity for every person who ever came through UNC. And immediately, as IT folks do, the senior leadership team started like solution. Like, oh, how do we do this? What would this look like? What would the licensing cost be? And this went on for about 15 minutes. And I finally raised my hand and I said, "I don't know how to tell you all this. They do not want your email accounts." Like an email account is not the flex it was 20 years ago. They would all use their Gmail accounts. Their personal Gmail accounts at this institution if we'd let them. And in that moment, and we didn't do that, right? My CIO was like, "That's a really interesting perspective." And took that back to the folks that requested it. The university did not do that. And if any of y'all know about the licensing structures, I mean that's a million dollar, that's multimillion dollars saved right there over many years.

- Yeah, yeah.

- Right? And so, but that was a perspective I had on day one that no one else in the room would've had. So there is value to having young professionals around a leadership table. And I don't think people realize that enough.

- Right. And building on that even more, the irony in all of this, is we work in higher education. The primary folks that we serve are students, who are typically aged young. So why would we not have young professionals who more closely identify with the constituency that we serve on these leadership teams?

- It seems obvious. The answer is right there in the room.

- Yeah.

- We should be leaning into this with full force.

- Agree.

- Myth busted.

——所有的中等收入国家。不,这是一个有趣的强啡肽mic though. Since I've crossed over into, I guess, senior mid-level leadership, just generally a 10 year gap at minimum. And it's just like the little nuances like, well, I'll sit in a room, I'm the only one within 10 years of my range, and they'll just have small talk about things I have no idea what they're talking about. And then I small talk and all of them have no idea what I'm talking about. And I don't even have a, you know, a comrade in there to say, yep, I know that Kendrick Lamar lyric you're talking about. So I totally resonate with that. I think fortunately I've been, I've been very fortunate with some of the folks. They've been, at least, open to. It sounds like at least you're-

- Yeah.

- Yeah.

- That you spoke up too, at least we're open to the idea.

- Definitely, yep.

- That's an important step. I've been in scenarios where that wasn't the case. And that's where you get to the toxic type of environment. So, yeah, that is a good point. And it does surprise me. I don't wanna be mean, but like to the point of like, students are generally young, not all. Like I'm a student now, and so I'm older than the average student.

- Me too.

- But you know, I'm sure I got something in common with, you know, a 65-year-old, 70-year-old president. But I don't think they're as obvious as -

- Yeah.

- Someone maybe in their thirties or forties.

- Yeah.

- So I think there's something there. I'm not saying no one should be that old, but they should just have like, they should be open to feedback from a wide range of generations and experiences. They even shouldn't just be young professionals where they should have a seat there.

- Right.

- For the longest time, I was the person who always got tagged to do like student interaction. And they're like, "No, Kate, you're young, you can relate to them." I was like, "I don't think you realize how old 40 seems to an 18 year old. Like, I might as well be a million years old." And I mean to like, we don't share the same cultural references or anything like that.

- Yeah, yeah.

- But, you know, I think everyone has to work at this. You know, on a multi-generational campus, which is always gonna be the reality of all of our workplaces, we really have to work and do our best to understand each other and respect each other, even when we don't totally, you know, fully understand.

- Right, exactly.

- I feel like that probably is a good way to wrap up like all the things we've spoken about, right? Being open to and respectful of many different perceptions, our perspectives, regardless of where you are in your career, or where you are in your life, that we all add a little value.

- Yeah.

- And I think that pretty much busts every myth.

- Yeah.

- Yeah.

- Myth busted.

- Myth busted.

- You heard it here.

- So any final thoughts, Monica or Kate? Any final thoughts you wanna leave our guests?

- Well, you know, I do feel like all of these myths kind of tied in with each other. You know, like the mentor-mentee kind of relationship, the energy, and the new perspectives and the, you know, that the younger professionals bring. And the importance of diversity across all different levels of the institution. So I think that's kind of like they all kind of connect back to each other.

- I would say if you're, if this is something you're struggling with, find community. I think community has been huge to me in my career. I mean, that's how I've met all of you. Like, and this is just the plug for the YPCG and YPAC. Like, go find your people. And I think that's really important. And you'll find it really sort of like life and energy giving when the work on campus gets tough.

- Right, exactly. And my final plug really is, you know, when I first started getting involved with Educause, the YPCG and the YPAC did not exist. And I remember walking into my first, it was a connect conference in Chicago, actually. I think this was like 2017, 2015, or something, before the pandemic, so the before times. But I remember walking in and feeling like I didn't see anyone who looks like me here. I don't know if I belong here. And my message, you know, to our listeners in this community is everyone belongs here. And you have a space here in the YPCG and in the YPAC. Applications are open. If you have any questions, I welcome our community to reach out to me and to our team. All of our information is posted on our website and our social media accounts and we welcome you. This is a safe space and this is a place where we have an open mind and want to hear from you.

——当然。,也许我们的一些更新的认为ts on this episode, YPAC, Young Professional Advisory Committee. YPCG, Young Professional Community Group, please join us. We are looking for folks within the YPAC, so we would love to have you. Put in your applications. I think we've wrapped it up. We've busted a bunch of myths. So y'all professionals are ready to go now. You got it all figured out. I'm Wes Johnson.

- I'm Sarah Buszka.

- And we are the "Rising Voices Podcast." Thank you for joining us.

- Thank you. Thank you.

This episode features:

Kate Hash
Assistant Vice Chancellor for Customer Experience and Engagement
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Monica Rosen
Instructional Designer
University of Michigan

Sarah J. Buszka
Senior Relationship Manager
Stanford University

Wes Johnson
Executive Director Campus IT Experience
University of California, Berkeley