Don't Stop 'BILL'ieving...


Nick Wockasen

The College at Brockport
Admissions Assistant

Just by the title alone you may be able to figure out I am a die-hard Buffalo Bills fan; I’ve also been a season ticket holder for the past three years. I’ll tell you in a few minutes how my Bills obsession ties into this article.

In a time where workloads are increasing and promotions are declining, how do young professionals stay positive and driven to continually grow on a professional level? Hopefully this article and my current situation will allow others to take a negative situation and turn it into a positive one. I do not want you to read this article and see myself as a bitter admissions professional stuck in an entry level position, because I really do love my job and if wanted to leave, I could. However, I enjoy sharing my personal experiences at Brockport with prospective students and helping students make an educated decision on where to go to college.

Before I can continue on I must explain the road I took to get where I currently am. I was a temporary hire for an Admissions Advisor who left on maternity leave. I completed a full fall travel schedule and was able to continue in a support staff position once the advisor had returned from maternity leave. Unfortunately, after covering two different support staff positions temporarily, there were no permanent positions available for me. After a short leave I was once again hired on a temporary line as an Admissions Advisor. A full time Admissions Assistant position became available and I have been in that current position for two and a half years. Needless to say, I have performed almost every position in the office, however the word “promotion” avoids me like the Super Bowl avoids the Bills.

I requested a promotion that was denied due to the hiring freeze, however, I was reassured that my job responsibilities would be monitored and adjusted to remain consistent with those of an SL2’s and that I would be recommended for a Discretionary Salary Increase (DSI). Please keep in mind that DSI’s are not guaranteed and should not be considered as a substitute for a promotion. So I took that promotion denial as the following: you are worthy of a promotion however one is not available, we will adjust your responsibilities to make them in line with an SL2’s, and we hope that you will be given a DSI to soften the lack of promotion.

Stay involved and positive (very hard to do sometimes) in the office. I believe that regardless of what my title says I can and cannot do, knowledge is power. What are the differences between an Admissions Advisor and an Admissions Assistant? I found out it depends on who you ask. Human Resources will say one thing, and your superiors will say another. Looking at the definition of the two job positions can be a huge part of the problem. How do you know if you are working out of title, if you are unsure of what your title can or cannot do? It is a gray area for me, however, one fault of mine that has maybe even played a role in my lack of promotion is my inability to say no when it comes to extra duties. At times it is so hard not to say “I can’t do that because it is out of my title,” but you need to stick up for yourself. If you continually say yes to extra duties, it will be hard to show that you are working out of title. The more I can get involved with in the office only adds to my professional growth, but you need to remember not to shoot yourself in the foot when it comes to fighting for a promotion.

I am thankful that I am in a profession that I absolutely love. I can honestly say I wake up every morning feeling good about going to work and that drives me to stay positive. I stay positive in the workplace. It does no good to be publicly upset over the lack of promotion. It sounds stupid, but I “kill them with kindness!” Do not allow them to be satisfied by knowing the lack of promotion is bothering you day in and day out. Continue to perform your responsibilities professionally. It is very easy to become negative towards work because of the lack of promotion, however by becoming a “cancer” in the office, it will only give your superiors more ammunition to deny you that promotion the next time one comes around.

One of the hardest hurdles to go over is finding advice in regards to your situation. Do not be afraid to ask for union advice, that’s what it is there for. You pay your union dues, so use them! At first I thought that my superiors would resent me for seeking advice from our union, however I have never felt any of that. Every office is different, however you should not feel that going to seek advice from the union will negatively affect your relationships in the office. Some people may tell you not to rock the boat during these “tough” economic times, and to be “thankful” that you have a job when so many people across America do not, however, it may sound selfish, but you need to look out for you. Speak to your union representative and know that the information you share with them will be confidential. Explain to them your situation and seek assistance. They will advise you the proper steps you may have to take to fight for a deserved promotion.

The union is currently in the act of putting together a board to look at my promotion request. After all of this I could still be told I do not perform the job responsibilities of a higher position, and even though that will be a hard pill to swallow, I can say that I voiced my opinion and fought for myself. Keep in mind, just because the economy is tight and promotions are lacking, does not mean you don’t deserve a promotion. Don’t stop BILLieving! .