Jay is the Managing Director at the Texas Tech University and the 2014-2015 President of SoACE. He has worked in career services for 13 years. Connect with Jay on Twitter @JayTTU.
Describe your career path up to this point.
My career path up to this point has been a wonderful journey. When I graduated from college, all I wanted to do was work in the music industry. After interning on Music Row in Nashville, I quickly realized the music business was not for me. After some soul searching, I landed back at Texas Tech University as an Admissions Counselor, where I could use my strengths daily and make a difference. Having good mentors has also been key in my career up to this point. Without them, I would not have taken the chances and made the good choices I have made to stay in Higher Ed specifically the Career Services.
Why did you choose this career?
To be honest, working in the University Career Center was a leap of faith. I loved my Admissions job, but an opening came about in the Career Center and I saw it as an opportunity to grow, so I applied and got the position as a Lead Counselor.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I would imagine like most people in this profession, I consider helping students and seeing them develop professionally is the most rewarding part of the job. Being allowed to serve students and employers on a daily basis, teach class, and present to large groups makes me wake up every morning and get to go to work, instead of “have” to go to work.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
The most challenging part of the job are those couple of weeks a year when the students are gone between semesters. Campus isn’t buzzing during this time and I miss it. I feed off the energy of the students, faculty and staff being on campus and being busy.
What would you like colleagues to know about your institution/organization?
After living in Lubbock for nearly 20 years, people’s first reaction is usually a quip or a joke about living here. What I’d like colleagues to know is that Lubbock and Texas Tech is a wonderful place to live and work because of the kind-hearted, West Texas people that live here. Plus, we have “rush minutes,” versus “rush hours.”
What is the best career advice you have ever received?
My father once told me, “Share your successes.” I’ll never forget that. It’s nice to be recognized for things, but it’s even better to give someone else credit for their hard work. Very little gets accomplished solo; but a great team can accomplish much. It takes a great team of people to accomplish great things. I also try and surround myself with others who are not like me to be a stronger team. One of my favorite quotes for my accountability when days get tough is “If everyone in this place was just like me; what kind of place would this be? I am my answer.” This helps me stay focused and positive.
When you were younger (let’s say ages 5-12), what did you want to be when you grew up? What about that career appealed to your younger self?
Between the ages and five and 12, I had no clue what I wanted to be. I loved playing outside, playing golf and basketball, and hanging out with friends. If you would have mentioned Career Counselor as a profession, I would have looked at you with a confused look, and asked, “What’s that?” All I knew between five and 12 is that I was very active and wore my parents out with the question, “What can I/we do next!?, let’s go, go, go!