What roles have you had throughout your time at Berkeley?
It’s been a long journey so far! I started as a student employee here at UC Berkeley, preparing books for the bindery, in the Library’s Bindery Preparation Division. After graduation, I got a staff position in the Library’s Human Resources Department (LHRD) as Student Employment Coordinator. I went from being a student employee to helping *other* students find jobs. After a little over a year, I was promoted within LHRD to an academic personnel assistant and later to an academic HR analyst. After about 13 years with the Library, I now work as a business systems analyst with Central Human Resources.
What challenges did you face when seeking your next opportunity and how did you overcome them?
I faced one overarching challenge of how to build a career path in spite of uncertainty and doubt. I didn’t have it all planned out but I had curiosity, creativity, and an inner compass. It took (it takes) a lot of self-awareness, vulnerability, and grit in order to navigate my way. I just had to accept my own organic process and stay true to my interests and values.
What factors do you think helped you switch positions successfully within Berkeley?
I can attribute it to three things:
1) Proposing and taking on new projects at work by asking myself, "How can we do our work better, and how could I help to fulfill that vision?" This led to building new systems for my department that streamlined and automated our work. Through these projects I learned web design, database design, business systems analysis, and project management.
2) Continuously learning and pushing myself to grow over the years. I took advantage of professional development opportunities in my department and on campus to enhance skills for my immediate job; took classes outside of work to build new skills; and went to grad school for a masters in social work because I was passionate about community mental health. Eventually my skills and experiences converged to get me where I am now.
3) Networking. This was toughest for me because I'm an introvert and a naturally shy person. However, I understood the value of networking, and so, many times, I just had to jump in, even if it meant being outside of my comfort zone. In a sense, I just had to find ways to find my people. I started by talking to folks I already knew, and then they would introduce me to their colleagues and friends, and so on. I would also volunteer - a great way to serve my community and meet like-minded people.
You made the jump from one field to another. What would you recommend people do if they want to do something similar?
Be open to opportunities and challenges. It can be hard to make a blind jump from one field to the next, and so you can find a way to take it one small opportunity and/or one small challenge at a time. Find people who are in the field you want and ask them how they got there. Take classes that you find interesting or inspiring; then take what you learned and apply it in your work to practice and hone those new skills. At times I felt adrift or thought I had failed, but I just had to remind myself that nothing is ever wasted.
Any final words of wisdom to staff looking to grow their careers at UC Berkeley?
You are your strongest advocate. Don't be afraid to ask questions and push for what you know is best for your career growth.
If you’d like to advance your career with today’s methods read about the corporate lattice model- here.
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