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Just Ask Jan: Wanderlust

Posted By Amanda Parsons, Wednesday, June 10, 2020
Updated: Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Dear Jan, 

For the last 7 years I’ve worked at the same community center in my home town.  I love my co-workers and my community.  However, opportunities to move up are infrequent.  The last position I applied for my agency ended up hiring from outside.  I’m thinking about leaving my center to find a promotion in a new place.  What advice do you have for finding (and securing) a job outside of my agency?

Sincerely,

Wanderlust

 

Dear Wanderlust,

Your question brings back fond memories.

I worked a long time at my first position in the town where I lived and that job served as a foundation for every position I have had since. There are many mentors and friends to thank for the experiences, training and encouragement!

You know when you are ready to move on, and good for you that you recognize where you stand. First order is to plan and map out where you want to be in the next 5, 10, 15 years in your career. While you are looking at other position recruitments, is there training that you are interested in pursuing?  Ask yourself if you are willing to commute or possibly move to a different community, state or country.

My advice is to look for a position with responsibilities that are similar and a bit elevated compared to the one you have now. Make sure the position description meets your expectations. Freshen up your resume, check out and read up interview skill websites, and practice interviewing with your friends and family. Then, go ahead and apply to various jobs that are of interest to you.

Please don’t wait until you feel burnt out, taken advantage of and/or uninspired.  You will find the right fit, it may take some time, so don’t get discouraged, keep trying and you never know, another position may pop-up in your current agency!

Chin up, and Good Luck!

Sincerely, 

Jan

 


 

Jan Wirtz is the Recreation Superintendent at Lake Oswego Parks & Recreation.  With her years of history comes sage career advice for park and recreation professionals at any level in their career.

Submit a question to Just Ask Jan to be answered in an upcoming newsletter.

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Just Ask Jan: Shifting Gears

Posted By Amanda Parsons, Wednesday, May 13, 2020
Updated: Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Dear Jan, 

I’ve been working in recreation programming for 3 years, and while I enjoy the environment of parks and recreation, I’d rather support my P&R department from an administrative level.  The work itself feels so different than what I’m currently doing – is it even possible to change careers?  What’s my first step?

Sincerely, 

Shifting Gears

 

Dear Shifting Gears,

If administrative work is your bag, Parks & Recreation is the perfect place to learn, develop and hone administrative skill sets! From tasks such as cashiering at the front desk to data entry to class and reservation permit management to registration software administration to promotional marketing and graphic arts focus to office management and contracting, there are so many avenues to explore in administrative support. 

I recommend starting with skills that you already have in your Parks & Recreation portfolio and examine your past education and work experience and start rebuilding your resume.  You can ask your current supervisor if there is a need within your agency for some project administrative assistance and then demonstrate your interest and talent in your abilities as an administrator.

Don’t be afraid to try different options and learn new software applications in areas of finance, human resources, and record management, legal, planning and building, permitting and other outlets to build your administrative resume.

Sometimes a job just pops up so don’t forget to check out the ORPA job board for openings at other Parks & Recreation agencies too. An opening may be right around the corner for you and I wish you luck with your search!

Sincerely,

Jan

 


 

Jan Wirtz is the Recreation Superintendent at Lake Oswego Parks & Recreation.  With her years of history comes sage career advice for park and recreation professionals at any level in their career.

Submit a question to Just Ask Jan to be answered in an upcoming newsletter.

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Just Ask Jan: Last Man Standing

Posted By Amanda Parsons, Wednesday, April 8, 2020
Updated: Friday, April 3, 2020

Dear Jan, 

Our agency (like everyone else) has shut down facilities.  While I've been lucky not to be laid off or furloughed, I'm having to take on the work of everyone else on our team whom we've lost or let go.  Programs may be on hold, but it doesn't mean we can just stop... we still need to work for the future.  However, talk about coronavirus has taken over everything and I'm feeling overwhelmed.  I have so much work to do, but can't seem to focus on any of it.  Help!

Sincerely,

Last Man Standing

 

Dear Last Man Standing,

My heart goes out to you and I am grateful to you for sending this question.  There will be many Parks & Rec pros that feel your same distress with the current abnormal situation.  Even though things seem to change every day and there's new information to absorb, I think we all feel a similar grief about our losses. 

During this season of serious COVID concerns, it's so important to put your priorities in order, and the number one priority is YOU!  Use all the resources you know of to take care of your needs.  You can't help anyone or with anything if you aren't feeling well physically or emotionally and there's never been a more important time for self-care.  If all the COVID chatter at work makes you anxious, step away from it or limit your engagement time.  Can you work remotely or partially remotely?  If no, then take some quiet time to breathe and calm yourself during your workday and home life.  

The second tip I'd like to share is to revisit your favorite way to organize and sort the stuff!  Sometimes a familiar and orderly process helps you feel like you're in control and then you can make some progress and feel better about the work happening now and in the future.  Through your organizational process, you can identify the volume, categorize and prioritize the tasks that you've inherited, and put together your plan of attack.  You may discover some tasks that someone else might be able to take on and some tasks that you can perform more efficiently if you bundle and integrate them with your current tasks and some tasks that just won't get accomplished.  Hi Boss, can you help me???

These times won't last forever and it's good that you reached out.  We're in this together and We Are ORPA!

Sincerely, 

Jan

 


 

Jan Wirtz is the Recreation Superintendent at Lake Oswego Parks & Recreation.  With her years of history comes sage career advice for park and recreation professionals at any level in their career.

Submit a question to Just Ask Jan to be answered in an upcoming newsletter.

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Just Ask Jan: What Is My Role?

Posted By Amanda Parsons, Wednesday, March 11, 2020
Updated: Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Dear Jan,

 

I supervise an ongoing long term project and am responsible for the end result.
The members on the team come from different departments and report to different supervisors.

When issues come up, I sometimes find myself questioning my next step.

I am looking for some tips as to what to address, what to let go of and when to potentially talk to their direct supervisor.

 

Sincerely,

 

What is my role?

 

 

Hi there 'What is my Role?'

I hereby empower YOU, well, someone else did first and I second that! Your role is the supervisor, you were selected to lead the project, you are responsible for the results.  You set the responsibilities, the timelines, the check –ins, the deadlines and most importantly the expectations. If you do this and leave room for team building and bonding and accept respectful input and the team members don’t follow through, it’s on them, not you.

I think that instead of questioning yourself, you should question the members of your team if they don’t produce results. Hold them accountable, how many chances do they get? That’s your role too; you decide, and if they don’t meet the mark, then you go to their supervisor and ask for a replacement from that department.  No need for guilt, no need for questioning your abilities, move on, and don’t forget to recognize all the team members who do the work and get it done.  

Step by step, everyone shares in the glory, and the end result should be a fabulous party!

Sincerely,

Jan

 


 

Jan Wirtz is the Recreation Superintendent at Lake Oswego Parks & Recreation.  With her years of history comes sage career advice for park and recreation professionals at any level in their career.

Submit a question to Just Ask Jan to be answered in an upcoming newsletter.

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Just Ask Jan: Not Done Growing

Posted By Amanda Parsons, Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Dear Jan, 

Recently my agency has gone through a structural reorganization and an opportunity has opened up above my current position.  My long-time manager and mentor has recommended I apply for the job.  However, doing so means giving up parts of my job that I love and I'm not sure if I'm ready to take the leap.  How do I know if I'm ready?

Sincerely,

Not Done Growing.

 

Dear Growing, 

Wow!  A restructure is an exciting opportunity for an agency to explore and experience the job and challenges of change.  Employees can really benefit within the profession when this type of situation occurs.  For you, the question begs the answer if you are ready to take a different path.  Would you be willing to self-reflect and ask yourself these three questions?

  • Are you ready to grow both personally and professionally?
  • Would you regret it if you didn't apply for the new position?
  • Lastly, would you enjoy teaching someone else (new role as mentor) how to perform some of the tasks you so enjoy presently?

From what I read in your message, you have a champion that has confidence in you and you have the prospect of a promotion and those don't happen every day.  If you can answer yes to at least two of the above questions, then you are ready.

Sincerely, 

Jan

 


 

Jan Wirtz is the Recreation Superintendent at Lake Oswego Parks & Recreation.  With her years of history comes sage career advice for park and recreation professionals at any level in their career.

Submit a question to Just Ask Jan to be answered in an upcoming newsletter.

Tags:  Just Ask Jan 

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Just Ask Jan: Better Qualified

Posted By Amanda Parsons, Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Dear Jan,

At my job the manager I got along with so well retired.  The new manager is from outside the state and we don't always see eye to eye.  It is causing a lot of stress.  I know this person is my boss, but I've been here longer and know how things are supposed to run!  What do I do?

Sincerely,

Better Qualified.

 

Dear Better Qualified,

Adjust your attitude, please.  Seriously, flexibility and keeping an open mind to new ways of doing things is going to help YOU with your stress level. Your new boss needs support and you owe it to yourself to give the new manager the benefit of the doubt that the reason they were hired is because they have the experience and qualifications and they know what they are doing.

Yes, you may have to adapt to new ways and not that the past methods and approaches aren’t valuable, it’s just change. Have a sit down with your new manager and get to know the person as a person, not just as your boss.  Make sure that you find some common ground or interests and then never under any circumstances ever ever say, “We’ve always done it that way”. Explain to your boss what worked, what you liked about a certain style or approach and discuss what you two can do to make things work better.

Improvement in communication on something that you work on together will be the building block to a better working relationship, relieve your stress and you may learn something new and start enjoying new approaches. You may see a brand new appreciation for working with your new boss and while your past time working at your agency is great for your longevity record, learning and adapting to change can actually lead to a happier and longer life. 

Sincerely, 

Jan

 


 

Jan Wirtz is the Recreation Superintendent at Lake Oswego Parks & Recreation.  With her years of history comes sage career advice for park and recreation professionals at any level in their career.

Submit a question to Just Ask Jan to be answered in an upcoming newsletter.

Tags:  Just Ask Jan 

Share |
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