Ray Diffley answers this audience question, "What career paths should I consider after a successful decade in admissions work?"
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When you’re tossing and turning, day after day, wondering how to do things the right way when it suddenly hits you. The answer's so clear. Just reach out to those who will lend you an ear. Ask AISAP.
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So today's Ask AISAP is so perfect in its timing, because here we are at a point where not only do we reflect on where we are and what we're all about, but also that idea of what's the next step, if there is one. So joining me today on this episode is Ray Diffley, who is the founder and principal of RD3 Education.
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And you have a lot of experience in not only mentoring and supporting students and families, but admission professionals. So, Ray, I'm going to ask you this question, and I'd love to hear what your thoughts are. Yeah. So this question comes from Robyn and it reads, “Hello there. I'm pondering a potential career move in the next 1 to 2 years after spending almost nine years as director of admission. For admission professionals who don't want to make a lateral move to a similar position at another school and who hold no aspirations of headship,
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what are some other career paths that I might potentially take that makes sense for a person after a successful decade in admission work?” Yeah. What do you think, Ray?
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Great question. I'm, you know, got to overseeing or collaborating, coordinating the AISAP career center for a few years with you. We've had some great conversations about this. And I know it's a, first of all, a very normal question, a good question, and one that I think you've already taken the first step, Robyn, which is taking some time to think about it.
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And I understand the life of an admission professional. One of the challenges is it's so 24/7 and ongoing, you don't necessarily have that time to think. And that's a mistake. That's a professional mistake. So you've got to make the time, first of all, to think about the pathway and all the variables that go into it with your family and your personal goals, etc..
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So gosh, where do I even begin? I mean, when you think about life's priorities, if you have your health, you have everything correct. So number two asset in the world and in life is time. So you're asking the question of how do you want to spend your time, whatever your age, whatever your stage?
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And that leads me to think about leading an intentional life and being thoughtful about that. I believe, to answer your question more specifically, that admission people should be and are experts in human development and child development, depending on the stage and the age. I think schools are going to come around big time to this concept, which is obvious and is obviously a part of what schools do now.
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But I don't think it's necessarily a priority that's high enough in terms of the let's say, and I hate to use the term, but the soft skills, what you need to know to be successful in today's world. So I think to me and it's my bias in terms of how I let my career unfold or how it has unfolded.
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And that is there's a huge opportunity in society to teach children, to grow children, to help children grow up. And that would require basically being a consultant or advisor what I'm doing. So that's number one. It comes to mind pretty, pretty easily. I think admission people obviously are incredible, I hate to say it, but I'm going to, salespeople, representatives of quality opportunities and experiences.
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So, I mean, as an outlier, certainly everyone knows you can make a lot of resources in the sales world doing something different. And I've seen people make that jump and live in the real world, so to speak, and find themselves having a lucrative, you know, transition, assuming that private schools don't necessarily compensate that much in terms of salary or money.
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But I would say that to do that, I think the more important advice I could give or the answer the question is how do you do that? And you do it by what you're doing and asking questions, networking big time and getting out. I have. I currently serve as the Director of Character Education for a group called Shang NancyFriends (SNF), a Global Education.
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The only way that came to me was because I was volunteering for the Character Collaborative, which I'm on the board, it's a volunteer position, giving a talk at EMA in Washington, DC. There someone heard me and said, You have to meet Nini Suet, who was the CEO of this company. And you know, long story short, three months later, I was appointed the Director of Character Education for her group and it never would have happened if I didn't have good intentions to get out.
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It never would have happened if I didn't have some expertise. So I'd say the piece admission people should really focus on and I appreciate a generalist, believe me, I do. But if you're ten years into a career in admission, you should absolutely have a notable area of expertise that could make its own business, if you will. If not, you'll be the most attractive candidate to a school who might fit your lifestyle, your stage of life, or a move that maybe its lateral in position and pay,
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but it's uptick in lifestyle or quality of life, if you will.
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And I think as well, what your advice also touches upon is a phrase that you've used recently or brought to my attention recently. And that is, “never decide not to know.” And so as we think about someone who's been in this profession for a decade and is thinking about that move, why are you itching to make a move?
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Is it because what you are doing at the present is not inspiring you? There is no change? Or for that matter is the change so evident that you need a little stability, right? But to kind of spend some time in and among your colleagues examining that and focusing in on that in you may very well find that the path is almost presented right in front of you, so.
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Well, thanks, Ray, for this week's episode of Ask AISAP, I appreciate your words of wisdom. And to Robyn and to so many others who are finding themselves in a similar position. I hope that these answers helped you, if not give you more food for thought.
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