How Megyn Kelly Can Relate to Changing Jobs in Higher Education
Trill or Not Trill?
The cable news world was turned on its heels this week with the news that long time conservative talk show host Megyn Kelly traded in her digs at Fox News for a brand new opportunity in a very different environment at NBC- which is arguably one of the most liberal news outposts today.
As higher ed professionals, we can learn something from Megyn’s job change, which was undoubtedly not decided on the flip of a coin. As we advance in our career, sometimes we are faced with a choice that involves moving from a position or institution that we are comfortable in to a new challenge that may very much be outside of our comfort zone.
In my nearly 10 years of higher education, I’ve had a chance to take advantage of opportunities that have consistently challenged me. After graduating in 2008 from a small, private liberal arts institution in New York City, I began my professional career in admissions and enrollment management at a moderately sized non-religiously affiliated university in NYC that had historically served at-risk and minority populations. In 2013, I made the move into student affairs by joining a medium sized public state school in New Jersey that focused on a similar population as the prior. In June of 2016 I made the big decision to accept a position in graduate student affairs at a large, ivy league institution in New York City.
My most recent shift has been a challenge- working with graduate students and in an environment that I have never previously been a part of has been eye-opening, but something that I know I am benefitting from, and was the right choice for both professional and personal reasons.
By reflecting on my own experience, and by looking at what Megyn Kelly has done, here are several tips for changing jobs that we all can take to heart when considering the next move:
Never change you- This is the golden rule. There are people who are wondering how Megyn is going to adjust or change herself from being on what is considered a conservative network to now being on a liberal one. In reality, what should be accounted for is the fact that Megyn is a great journalist and has the skillset to apply in any environment. Our values, ethics or beliefs should never change regardless of where we are. You were clearly picked for your new position for a reason, and shouldn’t require a personality change.
Be open to a different environment and what comes with it- While you shouldn’t change your core, you will have to be open to an environment that is drastically different than where you have come from. Your skill set will also appropriately have to adjust. My move from undergraduate student affairs to graduate student affairs have caused me to re-evaluate how I’ve approached situations in the past, and how to tweak my skill set to be successful. Megyn will have to do the same- realize that she will now be broadcasting to a new audience, and how she can use her knowledge to apply.
Accept feedback and constructive criticism- In higher ed, feedback can happen on opposite sides of the spectrum- sometimes never, sometimes too much. In a new environment, you will have to be ready to accept both. I quickly learned with graduate students that directives I had given prior that were taken without question were quickly pulled into the limelight and constantly questioned- it happens. Ultimately, it is great for growth and should almost always be welcomed if done in a positive light.
Don’t second guess your decision at first challenge- It is only a matter of time before you have your first negative interaction with a student or colleague at your new institution. Don’t let that interaction send you on a road of doubt. Megyn will eventually have a comment said over social media, or otherwise that may or may not make her re-think her decision to join NBC. Always remember that you are the expert, and in your new position because someone saw value in you- and that everything is a teachable moment!
Consider yourself- In any life change, always remember it is OK to keep yourself at the center of any decision. You have many things to consider in changing jobs- family, location, salary, etc. In the end, if the position does not satisfy every question you have, nor fits your needs and wants- it might not be your best fit.