Thursday, March 15, 2012

Why You Should Be The New Me

Cat's out of the bag! My position is up for grabs at Hillel. It's been an incredible two years here but alas, it's time to move on. As bittersweet as it may be to leave, I am also unbelievably excited for the next person to have the wonderful privilege of working for UF Hillel. For everyone who is having a meltdown about graduating and job searching, I have one piece of advice (well, two pieces if you count "BREATHE!): Be the new me.

When I graduated Muhlenberg in 2010, I was qualified to do basically nothing. I was a Political Science major and Jewish Studies Minor. My liberal arts education was everything I wanted from College--but it gave me next to zero skills in terms of a phasing into a job, much unlike my Accounting friends. In a quick twist of fate, I found myself deviating away from my 'dream' job of non-profit event planning and closer to working for Hillel. One month and two days after I graduated, I moved my entire life to Gainesville and began my job as a Jewish Student Life Coordinator.

So why should you want to be the new me? I'm about to tell you.

1. You have the best Boss. No, this is not a paid endorsement and no, he did not make me write this. Working for Keith has been the best part of working for Hillel. As a 21 year old in my first job, I knew one of the most important things would be to have a strong mentor. He has taken the time to foster my strengths, help me fix my professional weaknesses and has truly invested in me as a part of his team. We watch TV in our staff meetings. He feeds us chocolate. He let's us come to work in shorts and flip flops. Need I say more?

2. It's not just a student's home away from home. Moving to a new city is challenging but the transition is a little bit easier when you have a support system. They see you at your worst, your most exhausted and at your best. They show up in solidarity when you have a personal tragedy. Your Hillel staff becomes your work family and Hillel your home away from home. There is great comfort in knowing you always have a place to go for the High Holidays or Passover. What we tell our students, that you always have a place to go at Hillel, truthfully applies to us as well.

3. You find your fit. When I first came into this job, I dabbled in Programming. I realized that Programming was a much better fit for JeffDude--let's be honest, he's fearless and so creative--and I much preferred Engagement. My point is, this job gives you so much room to grow. "Don't be afraid to fail," Keith would tell us. This position encourages you to push your comfort zones, think out of the box and always try something new. It allows you to hone in on your strengths and go as far as you can with them. Working for Hillel is the best Professional Development you can get because it teaches ownership and accountability, while also encouraging you to explore and expand your interests.

4. You get to relive college! Ok, ok. It's certainly not the most important but it's also a huge job perk. Saturday football games? College basketball? Tailgating? If you don't love this then....learn to. Living in Gainesville gives you the chance to relive all the best parts of College, or if you were me, experience when your undergraduate institution didn't have. Trust me when I tell you there is nothing like a beautiful Fall day and 95,000 people bleeding Orange and Blue.

This is not a 9 to 5 job. In fact, sometimes it's not a Monday to Friday job. But in my opinion, it's one of the best jobs. And it's why you should want to be the new me.

This blog post was written by Jessica, the Jewish Student Life Coordinator and biggest fan of UF Hillel. Follow her @Jess_Davis78 or email her at 

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