Saturday, December 6, 2008

Follow-up and Initiative

Within the last couple of weeks, I've had what seem to me to be a few odd experiences with students and follow-up, or lack thereof.  I've had students ask for my assistance in reviewing resumes, helping them find a job, wanting to talk to me about going to grad school at Ohio University, and "interviewing" me as part of a portfolio to turn in for an assignment.  After initial contact, none of them have followed-up.  I have absolutely no problem helping students with all of those things.  As a matter of fact, it's what I enjoy and one of the biggest reasons I got into teaching.  Most people I know in sports are the same.  They have absolutely no problem talking with students and helping them.  One of the main things, though, that we won't do is babysit or handhold.  There has to be some desire for the students to help themselves, so to speak.   Some semblance of initiative needs to be taken.  

In my situation, one student made an initial appointment, we reviewed her resume, and I directed her to some websites to look at job descriptions/postings based on what she said she wanted to do.  We agreed that she would make some edits to her resume and then come back to see me the following week.  Nothing.  One made an appointment to see me and discuss the OU Sports Ad program because she "wants to go to OU for grad school more than anything!"  She made an appointment, but never showed up and hasn't sent any type of communication to explain why she didn't keep the appointment, not even communication to reschedule.  Another wanted to talk to me about going to OU for grad school.  I told him that the director of the program was coming to speak in my sponsorship class.  The student asked if he could sit in on the class.  I told him that he absolutely could and that, in fact, I encouraged it.  Nothing.  He didn't come to the class and I haven't heard from him since.  The student requesting an interview told me she would be back later during my office hours that same day.  Didn't show and hasn't followed-up with me, yet.

On the opposite side of the fence, I've met with three phenomenal students.  Two of them want to go to grad school and one is trying to find out more about different areas to help him figure out if we wants to work in sales/marketing or event management.  They've each been in my office multiple times, with and without appointments.  They ask questions, they want to know what websites, books, etc. they should read that might help them, etc.  

Basically, the second group is taking initiative.  They're asking for help, not asking for me or others to do the work for them.  These are the types of behaviors that employers look for in employees.  Sports is a competitive industry.  If you can't take initiative about your own future and career, what kind of initiative will you have on the job?  If you won't help yourself, why would anyone else want to go out of his/her way to help you?  I will gladly still talk to the first group and help them out, but I now wonder how serious their pursuits are.  Show some initiative and follow-up with people whose assistance you seek.

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