Hello everyone! Today, I figured I would share some tales from the two new jobs I started this past year.
In case you’re newer, I worked for an online university as an academic and finance advisor for about three months and then got a new job as an event housing coordinator for an event management company where I’ve been for three months. I have some fun stories from both so I thought I would share them here!
Thursday Tales are basically my “story time” posts. I can’t wait to share them with you this month for Blogmas!
Thursday Tale #1: Crazy Student Debt Numbers
So part of my job as an academic and finance advisor was to figure out how much student loans a student needed/qualified for. Honestly, that job was more of a general customer service like job instead of actually advising students. The way the student loans worked at the online university I worked at were set up, we requested funding per course hours instead of a semester or year. It was pure chaos honestly. A lot of students were getting the max yearly amount of loans so they could get “stipends” which was really just excess funding that they would still have to pay back. But we weren’t allowed to say no, and it was a headache! If students maxed out their funding and failed a class they would go crazy at being told they had to pay out of pocket for the class they failed, which was honestly so sad to see because they were trying to live off their loans instead of using them for their intended purpose of paying for school costs ONLY.
And when I was trying to figure out their loan amounts to request, it was honestly shocking how much some students had. The lifetime limit of how much a student can borrow is $138,500, and it was crazy how many students had already reached the max. Apparently, some of my coworkers had students who told them outright that they never intended to pay back the loans. How we weren’t allowed to shut that down is beyond me! Anyway, like I said, I wasn’t actually advising anyone. We had to forward all actual course advising inquiries to the dean’s office of whatever school we worked at, which was frustrating because I felt that should be the role of an advisor. Instead, I just was in charge of requesting funding, answering questions/telling students who to reach out to for what, and reminding them to attend their class. Why anyone would think it’s appropriate to have an “advisor” remind graduate students to attend their class is beyond me, but clear that wasn’t the right fit for me!
Thursday Tale #2: The Conspiracy Theorist Student
When I was an AFA, I had to spend time in a phone queue. I hate being in phone queues, so again, that job was not the right fit for me! But it was the job so I had to take the calls. For the most part, it was okay. A lot of the time it was students who were annoyed they couldn’t reach their advisor 24/7, trying to get more loan money, and trying to reschedule a class. Again, the rules were so crazy and it was so chaotic that many students had issues getting their funding on time. Either their advisor or one of the other advisors would mess something up eventually and a student wouldn’t get the proper reach outs before their new academic years. That happened to a crazy conspiracy theorist student that I ended up getting. He was convinced we were pocketing his loan money when in reality he had failed his classes too many times to get more until he passed the class. After I tried to explain that to him, he went on a crazy rant about a ton of conspiracy theories. I went on mute and then did other work while he raged, and that probably took about twenty minutes. Finally, I got off the phone and I forgot about him until another coworker got him a few days later and shared his experience. We both concluded that the student seriously needed more help than we could give and it was crazy that there was no where we could really report that sort of behavior to so he could get removed from the school to get the help he needed.
Thursday Tale #3: Working with other Millennials
Now, a lot of my previous bosses and coworkers were usually a lot older than me, so working with other millennials at the online university, including having a millennial boss, was super cool. To the point that we would regularly compare our zodiac signs, reference TikToks in meetings, and just had a great time. There was one time when our boss put in the team chat to join her zoom for a quick meeting, followed by her saying “it’s not bad news, no one is getting fired”. When I joined I made it a point to thank her for specifying that and she specifically referenced TikTok as a reason as to why she did that.
We did have GenX people on the team, who I think were mostly just really amused by us Millennials. Overall, we had a great time and it was a really fun environment in terms of the team, even if the work itself was weird.
Thursday Tale #4: Helping host virtual events
At my new job, there has been a huge increase in virtual events, to the point that our virtual team is often in need of help. I have been able to work a few virtual events. I typically try to stay for part of the session, but we are expected to leave after we see everything is going well. I did help with an anthropology event recently and it was super cool as there were museum curators and professors doing really cool presentations from all over the world. There were people in California, Germany, South Africa, and so many cool places. I enjoyed the experience even though it was stressful as we were told the client was going to be very particular on everything.
One of the museum curators was actually from the Field Museum in Chicago! Prior to the start of the session I reminded everyone to change their name from “host” and most would put their name and their place of work, along with credentials. One of them changed her name and then put Field Museum, which caught my eye. After confirming I was thinking of the right place, I told her I was a huge fan of the Field and loved visiting. She seemed to be really happy with that and loved that I was a fan of the museum! It is just another reminder of what a small world it can be!
Thursday Tale #5: Picking projects based on my strengths
At my new job, I’ve been busy learning my role and the new systems but I also managed to pick up a few projects too! I mentioned to my boss a few ideas I had and she loved it so I ran with it! I started at the same time as someone else, and we both joined one woman who had been in the role for about a year. When I mentioned it, the coworker who had already been there was so relieved. She said that she hated having to do that sort of work since she wasn’t good at it and she was so happy someone else was willing to take it on. I have been super busy trying to make sure that I’m making good headway with it, so it’s been exciting to have that sort of impact already. Granted, I have a lot of experience in this already, but still!
So those are some fun little tales from both jobs that I started this year. I am still so happy and grateful that I got two jobs this year after being unemployed most of last year. What a journey it’s been!
Thanks for reading!
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