|ISSUE 2 | VOLUME 1 | 2007|
April 17, 2007
In this Issue:
Tell us how you secured your first job in arts and culture after your
We’re very excited that so many of you have responded positively to Art Career News and consider it such a valuable resource. Our goal is to make sure each issue of the newsletter contains relevant, timely, and specific content to make a difference in your career.
Many professionals remember the excitement, challenge, and frustration they experienced finding jobs early in their careers. While everyone has their own story about how they navigated their initial job search, there are specific methods you can use to help achieve your desired results.
In this issue we provide effective job search strategies and techniques
with future arts and culture graduates especially in mind. These tactics
can apply to professionals at every career level and to those considering
a career change.
|A DAY IN THE LIFE: Choreographing a Career in the Performing Arts|
|A snapshot of how different arts and culture professionals are shaping their careers.||
Kendra started dancing before she turned three, and knew she wanted to be a professional ballet dancer by the age of ten. Throughout high school she did very well academically and her professional sights remained focused in one direction: employment with a professional ballet company. Kendra obtained her B.F.A. in dance performance, graduating summa cum laude, and danced with a professional ballet company for several years. While she felt she was doing everything necessary to pursue a career in dance, Kendra realized it would not give her the job and financial security she needed. Knowing this, Kendra was at a crossroads, unsure how her dance skills would translate into another profession and career.
Kendra decided to return to school and earn her Masters in Arts Administration, expanding her exposure to other aspects of working in the arts. While in school, she embraced opportunities to challenge herself and grow. However, when graduation arrived and it was time to enter the job market, Kendra was still unclear how to define her skill set to a potential employer. At the urging of a friend, Kendra worked with Jenifer, a career coach, for advice and feedback. Through coaching, Jenifer helped Kendra realize that the skills she honed for her dance career – discipline, professionalism, the ability to take direction and work well with others --- were translatable and would serve her well in any career she pursued.
Over several months, Kendra began to see the value she could bring to
an organization and viewed her various experiences in different arenas
– dance, research, stage production, and administration - as an
asset to an employer rather than a drawback. Kendra now sees her background
and skills as strong because they are diverse. She currently works in
arts and education research, writes dance criticism, and continues to
|ADD TO MY VOCAB|
|Increase your understanding of common terms used in career development.||
What is the difference between training and professional development?
Training is a short-term solution that provides individuals with specific skills to perform specific tasks on the job. Training begins with a learning objective and ends when the learning objective has been met. For example, an individual learns how to conduct employee evaluations or how to edit photographs using a new software program.
Professional Development is a continuous process of growth and long-term solutions that help individuals improve their work performance throughout their career. For example, an individual continues to learn new ways to give feedback to a team of diverse personalities and skill sets. Training is one way to pursue professional development.
|THE CORNER BOOKSHELF: Walking the Line between Conformity and Rebellion|
A column devoted to raising and revisiting management issues from the field’s leading experts.
Tempered Radicals: How People Use Difference to Inspire Change at Work by Debra E. Meyerson (2001)
In her book Meyerson uses the term “tempered radicals” to describe people who balance their individual beliefs and values with their ability to contribute and succeed in their jobs.
Everyone has different personal views regarding issues such as social justice, human creativity, and environmental sustainability. The pressure to conform at work often challenges personal values and can affect job performance, especially if the work environment or culture is contrary to one’s own beliefs.
According to Meyerson, tempered radicals manage this challenge and stay
true to themselves by resisting quietly to aspects of their work culture
that may be different than their personal beliefs or values, without jeopardizing
their jobs or reputation.
• Express and sustain your own values and identity at work through small, doable actions or “wins” that are visible. For example, if you are concerned with the environment, start a recycling program at work or ask if fair trade coffee can be provided in the employee lounge.
• When you find yourself in an interaction where you feel an impropriety or oversight has occurred, politely interrupt the proceedings by identifying the impropriety and making a suggestion or clarification. For instance: “I’m noticing in this anti-harassment training that we are not talking about how racial discrimination as it relates to sexual harassment. I feel this is an oversight and we should address all types of harassment that can occur in the workplace.”
By using these techniques Meyerson points out that tempered radicals preserve their values and beliefs by working to advance an agenda for change from within their organizations, without sacrificing their job or performance. Tempered radicals are not rebels without a cause; they are mediators with a cause.
|THE BURNING QUESTION|
|Deciphering the true motives behind interview questions.||
Question: Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone to see things your way.
Motive: With this question, the interviewer is trying to see if you can influence others by using negotiating skills effectively. Many employers are interested to know how you persuade others – peers, leaders, clients, visitors – when you encounter resistance, especially when you do not have a position of authority. Employers also want to know how you demonstrate your emotional intelligence and collaborating skills in these situations.
The interviewer is trying to assess if you are able to identify commonalities from varying perspectives instead of always seeing things in absolute terms. If you see an effective way of doing something and others disagree, are you receptive or do you try alternative ways to get your point across? Do you continually build relationships or do you find yourself in conflict with others because you don’t like or respect their opinions?
Prepare your answers to these questions in advance so you can tell a specific story that illustrates how your influencing and negotiating skills are able to bring people together, maintain relationships, and achieve organizational objectives.
|Your career questions and issues.||
I have been at my current position for 11+ years. The organization is understaffed and underfunded, and lacks strong leadership from the top. The flip side of the situation is that the staff is made up of talented and dedicated people and the culture is very humane, except that everyone is overworked and underpaid. At this point I am tired of fighting the good fight with no real support (other than cheerleading and pep talks) from the administration. I am really not sure what to do... stay in this position, stay in this field, or move on? --Permanent Collections Registrar, NY
This is an excellent opportunity to take stock of your core values and career goals at this point in your life. Your core values are those ideas and goals that are most important and meaningful to you. Given your situation, you want to determine if your current job is compatible with your core values or if other positions/fields may be in greater alignment to better bring you happiness and satisfaction. Each of us has our own set of core values that we consider important. People place different degrees of value on creativity, compensation, work/life balance, job growth opportunities, and quality of work environment.
Try this exercise to generate and assess your core values: List all of the characteristics about your job that you like and that you don’t like. Next, rate each aspect in order of importance to you from 1-10, with 10 being very important. For example, perhaps you like the fact that you are paid well (rated 9) and work/life balance is not that important to you (rated 2). Once the entire list is completed, you have created a mirror of your core values and what gives you job satisfaction. Next, research jobs/fields that have the qualities that are most important to you and make informed decisions about which direction you would like to explore. You should be at this point prepared to make a decision as to whether your current job is still more rewarding to you than these other possibilities.
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