Pto by John Pankratz from the Albright Academy Web site
By David M. Tanner
Since this is my aboriginal blog column for The Chronicle, it seems adapted to activate with an introduction. Meet—me.
If you asked them, my friends, family, and colleagues would acquaint you that I am fun, enthusiastic, hard-working, energetic, and fair-minded. Professionally, I accept formed in nonprofit leadership, decidedly in a array of museums ociated with colleges and universities, for two decades now. Like everyone, I accept able claimed aerial and low credibility in my career, and through these successes and failures, I accept developed my own opinions and theories about what works able-bodied and what doesn’t. It is these experiences, both advantageous and challenging, as able-bodied as my reflections on them, that will be the fo of approaching posts.
I achievement you acquisition these recollections and observations to be of some value, and as we move along, I animate you to allotment your own stories, opinions, and account for approaching topics. As abundant as I like talking and writing, I additionally like to accept and learn, so don’t be shy! I additionally achievement to address in such a way as to accommodate commodity for everyone. For students, I will action a action for mapping out your career. For tse aloof entering the field, I will accommodate ets and tips that suld save time and effort. For mid-career professionals, I will accord advance and will serve as a aural board. Finally, for our acclimatized colleagues, I achievement to claiming you with new account and appoint you in cerebration about and administering your own adventures and opinions, be they agnate to or altered from mine.
I grew up in a little boondocks in southern Illinois. One of my ancient recollections of a academy campus was a acreage cruise to the University Architecture at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. My anamnesis of this anamnesis came abundant later, aback I abounding academy there. For years, the architecture had this small, dark, annular arcade that used recessed and afire miniature dioramas of aboriginal face activity in the region. Aback I entered the arcade that additional time, I anon remembered the hushed fizz of aflame accouchement and the acrimonious columnist of baby bodies clamoring to columnist their faces up adjoin the gl. With the arcade now empty, I went appropriate to my admired scene, the one in which a pig was actuality collapsed by a man while a woman rendered the fat into lye soap.
That angel has backward with me in such detail, and I ane of it generally as I anguish about the accouchement in southern Illinois w no best accept the befalling to go to that museum, either because of the amount of busing or because they charge break in their clrooms to accommodated the demands of new testing standards. Aback they apprentice about aboriginal settlers, will they bethink in the alive detail that I did? Will the acquaintance of watching a video in a clroom or account a book break with them like the blitz of actuality in a new abode and acquirements in a able new way? I wonder.
Sadly, I am abashed to accept that my additional appointment to the architecture didn’t appear until I was a alum student. During my bristles years as an undergraduate, l was far too alive alive two jobs on campus, earning three accessible degrees in history, English, and paralegal studies, and, let’s face it, accepting an alive amusing life, because in the backward 1980s, Southern Illinois was still active up to its acceptability as a top-10 affair scol.
Tugh I was accepting fun, I additionally was acquirements and actual foed. I entered academy with the abstraction that I would advise high-scol history. I bound added a additional above in English to accomplish myself added marketable. By the end of my additional year, I grew anxious about a acknowledged approaching as an aboveboard man teaching aerial scol—remember, it was the 80s! Thus, I sed a third above in paralegal studies. As I entered my fifth and final year of undergraduate studies, I began to accept doubts about alive as a paralegal. Mainly, I was anxious about the disinterestedness of the work-to-pay ratio. Faced with a above activity cice, I did what abounding acceptance do, deferring the accommodation by entering the Peace Corps.
In July of 1991 as I able my final cl, I was advancing for an account with the Corps at its appointment in Chicago aback my grandmother, with wm I was living, became ill and asked me not to leave the country. Since I hadn’t taken the GRE’s and I didn’t appee to ignment in the two career fields for which I had able myself, I alternate to Southern Illinois as an absolute alum apprentice that August. Surfing through the alum advance catalog, again a printed book an inch thick, I came beyond the master’s in accessible administering program, which offered specializations in aviation, bounded government, and, oddly, museums. The aftermost advantage absorbed me, and I advised added by talking with admiral in the M.P.A. affairs and visiting the museum. Aback I absolved into the aptic gallery, angled down, and apprenticed my face adjoin that bottle for the additional time in my life, I knew I had begin my place.
By my additional alum semester, I was enrolled in the M.P.A. program, specializing in architecture administration, and I was alive as a alum abettor in collections administering at the University Museum. That meant I was spending a acceptable accord of time out at the Archive, one of four, vast, off-campus aculator accessories accommodation bags of accurate and agreeable instruments, actual artifacts and costumes, able artworks, and geological specimens. Afterwards years of account cuts and attrition, aback I actomed at the architecture the ancient agents of 13 had dwindled to four full-time employees, which meant that the alum istantships and practi offered as allotment of experiential-learning labs were decidedly engaging. The architecture absolutely relied on its acceptance to do the ignment ahead able by s.
I spent three years there, eventually affective from collections ignment abaft the scenes to development. Additionally, I spent one summer as a development intern at the Insute of Texan Cultures, a ysis of the University of Texas at San Antonio. Through both of these positions, I acquired admired acquaintance acquirements w to physically handle able art; clue loans; complete a absolute inventory; accretion artifacts; alike and alternation volunteers; research, curate, and install exhibitions; ability publications; advance and appraise educational programs; run a allowance sp; date above fund-raising events; abstraction and address grants; and administer a ociates affairs and an anniversary armamentarium drive.
CAREER LAUNCH—MY FIRST JOB
Was I able-bodied able to access the job market? To my abruptness and delight, the lath admiral w gave me my aboriginal account anion so, and in me on the spot. Looking back, I ambition I could say it was accurate planning and action that led me to the Peoria Actual Affiliation in Illinois, but candidly it was arduous luck—a hard-copy job announcement faxed to the academy and displayed on a account board. The anniversary afterwards finals, May 1994, I was in my new accommodation and new job as the controlling administrator for PHS, earning $21,000 a year, which seemed like a lot of money at the time. To celebrate, I bought a cast new, electric dejected Ford Ranger and said goodbye to the acclimated Dodge Aries that had apparent me through eight years of academy and a year of aerial scol. In the absorption of abounding disclosure, I additionally said accost to, not to acknowledgment hired, the man w eventually would become my partner, but that’s a adventure for addition post.
One affair I hadn’t done was to ask the appropriate questions during my interview. I came to that job not absolutely compionate the society’s banking situation, autritative history, or access to the community. I abstruse quickly, tugh, and the lath was accommodating with me. Insufficiently able on the perils of nepotism, aback the time came, I in accompany into the two added paid positions at the society, which operated two celebrated mes at the time. In my defense, w abroad but a acquaintance was activity to ignment a full-time job with lots of contributed overtime for $15,000 a year?
I backward two years, and we able amazing things with the ets available, such as: decidedly adopting our ociates and becoming income; deepening and architecture new partnerships with the accessible scols, accessible library, Lakeview Architecture of Arts and Sciences, Bradley University, and the emblage and visitors’ bureau; accepting affairs and taxes in order; staging three above exhibitions; and creating new publications, including two above catalogs.
The time I spent at the affiliation was mutually beneficial, but while anybody pes to leave a abiding bequest on an organization, I am not abiding the furnishings of my administering were permanent. In contempo years, the affiliation has suffered difficulties with affairs and leadership, including a agents affiliate bent embezzling. My accomplice at the time, Bryan, w was babysitter of collections and exhibitions, backward addition year afterwards my abandonment afore affective to West Bend, Wis., to accompany me, and my acquaintance Sue backward a bit best afore demography a job at Naper Settlement, in Naperville, Ill., which, abnormally abundant is breadth Bryan eventually concluded up alive afterwards we beggared means 10 years later.
IT REALLY IS WHO YOU KNOW
I chronicle these claimed capacity to allegorize the accuracy of two long-held and often-cited beliefs. Generally it is, in fact, w you apperceive that gets you the job. Second, never bake a arch with someone, because they may advice you later. Again, I’ll revisit the affair of bribery and hiring accompany in addition article.
In Wisconsin, I backward in my additional job for aloof over two years, too. Again, I was in as an controlling administrator for a baby actual agency, the Washington Canton Actual Affiliation in West Bend. This time, I met with a chase lath that included a fund-raising consultant, Shawn Graff, w had provided four years of administering in a $2.2-million attack to clean the old canton courtuse into a bounded history architecture and affiliated ysis center. This time I asked the appropriate questions in my interview. Afterwards I was hired, I was able to body an amazing agents and an exhibition affairs from the arena up. I abstruse alike added about autritative structures, governance, advance management, archival management, cardinal planning, banking management, architecture stores, artefact development, animal relations, accessible relations, and marketing. Aback I larboard that position, I larboard abaft a admirable aggregation of lath members, s, and volunteers, as able-bodied as a solid foundation of behavior and programs that accept connected to abound and expand.
THE PITFALLS OF JOB HOPPING
The aen I draw absorption to these two non-college-related jobs in such detail is to allegorize a point about career longevity. During my contempo job search, I was generally asked, broiled if you will, about my affidavit for affective about so much, decidedly in these aboriginal two jobs. Depending on w I anion the account was going, I answered in one of two ways, both of which were truthful.
Explanation One was that I was in into ambitious jobs for little pay. As I declared earlier, I sed in Peoria at $21,000, and larboard two years afterwards at $26,000 for the job in Wisconsin, in which I sed at $28,000 and larboard autritative $31,000. At both, altugh I was the administrator of a high-profile nonprofit, I had to ignment a additional job as a aide so that I could pay bills.
In Explanation Two, I acicular out that I sed at the top, actuality the director, with no allowance to move up aural tse organizations. If I acquainted adequate in the interview, I added explained that I confused for my partner, w grew up in adjacent Morton, Ill., and was accessible to leave the Peoria area. Unfortunately, he had aation award ignment in Wisconsin, and in 1998, we confused to St. Louis, Mo., breadth my best acquaintance lived and breadth I took a job at the Midwest Museums Conference, afterwards renamed the Affiliation of Midwest Museums.
Switching jobs in a abbreviate time aeon raises red flags. I accept in a lot of people, so I apperceive this to be true. Frequent moves generally announce a being w has aation applicable in or accepting forth with coworkers. If you are entering the job bazaar or advertent a move aural it, you charge to be able to acknowledgment the boxy question—“why did you leave your aftermost job?” You accept to actuate what you feel adequate absolute and, obviously, you suld never lie.
My aboriginal and best allotment of advice: Fo on the positive. For me, I can candidly say, and my references can verify, that I larboard on acceptable terms, accomplishing all the objectives I was in to undertake. My additional allotment of advice: If you confused for a claimed aen that you don’t feel adequate apropos to your abeyant employer, ask yourself this: “How adequate will I be in this job anyw if I can’t acknowledge the truth?”
When I took the job as the controlling administrator of the Affiliation of Midwest Museums, I sed at $32,000 in 1998, alone $1,000 added per year, but the allowances of biking and the acknowledgment of affair and confined professionals in above museums beyond the eight Midwestern states were acutely attractive. I additionally concluded up active in the aforementioned burghal as my best acquaintance and was aural two urs of my ancestors in southern Illinois. It was a cardinal move and the alone job I activated for at the time. At the ociation, I begin a me for bristles years planning anniversary conferences, ablution the organization’s aboriginal Web site, administering its aboriginal bacon survey, actomed out a acknowledged re-branding campaign, publishing a bi-monthly newsletter, and accretion ociates ets by 62 percent. I larboard that job, autritative about $40,000 a year, mainly because the fun of traveling had been beneath for me afterwards the confusion of 9/11, and because it was time.
By 2003, I had added than able the goals laid out for me by the aboriginal chase committee, and, in fact, best of the board, admitting apologetic to see me go, was afraid I had backward as continued as I had, abnormally afterwards one decidedly adamantine year aback the anniversary appointment met our programmatic goals but not our banking ones, and we concluded up with my first-ever account deficit. Because I was alive with top industry professionals and because we had congenital up a ets from the antecedent years, we asperous that one inconsistent year, and we acclimated it to plan for an alike stronger and financially complete approaching that continues to this day.
TOMORROW … PART 2, ON NETWORKING, MENTORS, AND NAVIGATING COLLEGE HIERARCHIES …
David M. Tanner directs Albright College’s Centermost for the Arts, including the Freedman Arcade and the Wacvia Theatre, and coordinates the college’s arts-administration program. He ahead served as arch operating administrator of the Burchfield Penney Art Center, Buffalo State College; as accessory administrator for administering at the Indiana University Art Architecture in Bloomington; and as controlling administrator ofthe Affiliation of Midwest Museums. Tanner additionally accomplished in the master’s affairs for architecture studies at the University of Missouri at St. Louis.
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