9.17.2015

Wearing Lots of Hats

http://imgs.inkfrog.com/pix/ndegler1/GFHATDSP_800_001.jpgEven with increasing specialization, it seems to me that so many jobs involve wearing lots of hats.  I've written before about all of the different roles a pastor plays, which you can read here.  But consider three other examples:

(1) I am just an adjunct faculty member at Penn but I know a lot of full-time professors at schools all over the country.  Of course professors teach, and most people understand that the way universities work is that professors are also expected to do research.  That by itself is a hard juggling act, although obviously there is synergy between teaching and research.  But it doesn't stop there.  In order to do research, you need funding, and most professors spend a lot of time doing what professional development officers do, which is the day-to-day slog of fundraising: write grant applications and network and fill out paperwork.  Furthermore, somewhere between teaching and research is the mentoring of graduate students who work under you to do your research.  This too is a major responsibility, to guide and delegate and  manage and instruct.  Finally, many professors have administrative responsibilities within their department, to interview candidates or preside over reorganizations or oversee expansion plans.

(2) Having once been a non-profit executive, and still knowing many good ones, I can speak firsthand to the juggling involved in such a gig.  Of course you are constantly doing fundraising and public relations.  If you have any physical space, you have to worry about facilities issues.  If you have any employees, you have to worry about human resources.  And you also have to worry about back-office functions like accounting, bookeeping, legal, and IT.  Oh yeah, you are also managing a program, or more often than not, multiple programs. 

(3) Of course I think about my own juggling, having gone from being an economic consultant to being a part-owner of said economic consulting firm.  The consulting part itself entails a lot of hats, from the work itself to managing team members, providing customer service, and staying up on industry knowledge.  Tack onto that the responsibility of running the business itself and of getting new business, and it ends up being a lot of hats. 

Some days it's fun to have so many different responsibilities, and some days you wish you could just have only one thing to worry about.  But there's no mistaking that there's a lot of hats involved.
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