Job of the Week: Professional Aide

This week’s job of the week posting is for a Professional Aide (Posting 699373)  performing phlebotomist or medical assistant duties for a research team doing home visits near Kalamazoo, Michigan. This is a temporary position paid per hour. 

You will be responsible for measuring study participants’ blood pressure, height and weight, drawing blood following venipuncture protocols, collecting other personal samples from participants, labeling samples and submitting accurate payroll time sheets. Other responsibilities include adhering to COVID safety protocols and maintaining professionalism by being punctual and polite. 

The ideal candidate is required to be an experienced phlebotomist and/or medical assistant, trained and experienced conducting veinous blood draws, has a high school diploma or equivalent and must be able to pass a criminal background check. Desired qualifications include completion of over 50 successful blood draws and experience with pediatric phlebotomy.

For more details on the responsibilities of this position, and to view all our current postings, visits careers.msu.edu

Job of the Week: Camp/Conference Aide

This week’s job of the week posting is for a Camp/Conference Aide (Posting 695385) for MSU Extension in Oakland County. MSU’s Tollgate Farm and Education Center is seeking staff with a background in one or more of the following areas: education, agricultural science, cooperative games, music, food science, entomology, forestry, gardening, fisheries and wildlife. 

As camp/conference aide, you will be responsible for performing various duties in support of summer camp and conferences such as responding to participant concerns, questions and emergencies, maintaining/monitoring campus rules, checking in and out of participants, and attending meetings. This position may involve overnight supervision of participants. This is a 12-week temporary or on-call position ranging from June 7 to August 27. 

The ideal candidate has experience working with children in formal and informal settings (school, summer camp, scouts and others) and works effectively with individuals from diverse communities and cultures. Desired qualifications include having a current CPR/First Aid certification OR willingness to participate in training before the first day of camp. Candidates should also possess knowledge of the natural world and work closely with wildlife and farm animals. Ideal candidates must be physically active for an eight-hour shift and be able to life 50 pounds. They should also demonstrate commitment, reliability, punctuality and responsible behavior at previous jobs.

For more details on the responsibilities of this position, and to view all our current postings, visits careers.msu.edu. Applications close May 9, 2021.

Cultivating and Maintaining Good Habits

Written by Andrea Williams, HR Organization and Professional Development

You’ve likely heard more and more talk about the next phase of our personal and professional lives — be it resuming our pre-COVID routines or creating new ones going forward. Although none of us know exactly what the future looks like, now is an excellent time to consider the changes we may have made over the past year that we’d like to carry forward — perhaps prioritizing our health, creating new family traditions, or learning new skills.

As we navigate the next phase of our lives, University of Southern California research psychologist, Wendy Wood, points out, “We’re going to be faced with two sets of habits: pre-pandemic and during the pandemic. And we’ll have to choose which to repeat.”

Don’t leave your habits to chance. Take this opportunity to make deliberate choices about which habits you want to maintain going forward and any new habits you want to form. Here are some tips to help you cultivate and continue the habits that best serve you and others.

Take it one at a time

Focus on one habit or goal at a time to reap the most reward. When you have the foundations for the first goal in place, you can then move to the next one. When you have integrated the second goal into your schedule, you can then work on the third goal and so on. Set yourself up for success and remember that slow progress is better than no progress.

Understand your habit’s function

Our habits typically meet an underlying need, such as the need for comfort, to feel safe, or to feel cared for. Understanding the significance behind our habits can help us better evaluate whether these habits still serve a real need. We can then opt to further cultivate a habit or design a new, healthier one.

Compare likely outcomes

When you’re faced with a moment of choice, ask yourself, “If I perform this habit, how will I feel? Where will it put me?” Pause, envision yourself and the outcomes, and notice how you feel. Then ask yourself, “If I instead choose to perform this other habit, how will I feel? What will it get me?” Pause, envision, and notice. Set an intention for what you’ll do and then follow through.  

Be consistent and kind

Strive for consistency in your habits rather than perfection. Many habits take time to integrate to the point that you no longer need to think about them. Until then, when you deviate from your plan, kindly redirect yourself toward the results you want without punishment or judgment. There is debate over whether there is an actual causation or rather a correlation between repetition and the formation and enforcement of habits, but research shows positivity combined with consistency is key. Reinforce the positive and focus on your progress and victories, no matter how small.

Share the experience

Cultivating and maintaining habits happens faster and easier when they’re shared. Friends, family, and colleagues can provide support in the form of accountability, reinforcement, and celebration. If you don’t have a circle you can count on, reach out to a therapist or an organization that fosters community in a particular area. MSU faculty, staff, and their families have access to resources including the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), Health4U, and the MSU WorkLife Office that can help.

Don’t get discouraged if your first (or fourth) attempt doesn’t stick. Nobody is perfect in forming and sticking with good habits. Focus not on perfection, but rather on the process of trying things, redesigning your approach as necessary, and trying again.

Sources

Chua, Celestine. 21 Days to Cultivate Life Transforming Habits Retrieved April 2, 2021 from https://personalexcellence.co/blog/21-day-trial/

Fitzgerald, Sunny (2021, April 5). Pandemic habits: How to hang on to the good ones and get rid of the bad. Retrieved April 5, 2021 from https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/habits-covid-good-bad-how/2021/04/03/5a229796-93c0-11eb-a74e-1f4cf89fd948_story.html Forbes Coaches Council (2020, July 1). 16 Unique Ways to Cultivate Good Habits and Cut the Bad Ones. Retrieved April 2, 2021 from https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2020/07/01/16-unique-ways-to-cultivate-good-habits-and-cut-the-bad-ones/?sh=3860e7155606

MSU Spring Events, Activities and Courses Round-Up

We hope you and your family enjoy this round-up of events, activities and courses around campus.

Outside Activities

  • Get outside and hike the beautiful trails at the Kellogg Biological Station Bird Sanctuary Wednesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. till 5 p.m. Additionally, check out their calendar of virtual events
  • The W. J. Beal Botanical Garden on campus is an outdoor laboratory for the study and appreciation of plants. If you follow the W. J. Beal Botanical Garden Facebook page, you’ll know that spring flowers have started to blossom. The garden is open for you to walk around and enjoy the plants in a beautiful setting, but please follow COVID-19 social distancing guidelines and stay safe. 

Art/Performance

  • The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum has a variety of current exhibitions that are free and open to the public with social distancing and enhanced safety measures in place, including daily limited spots available. Please reserve your free tickets here. Additionally, they are offering many interesting, free online events.
  • The Wharton Center is dedicated to sharing the power of the performing arts with the community by offering Wharton at Home activities for both adults and children.

Learning Opportunities

We hope you all will remain safe and healthy and continue to practice social distancing until we are able to see each other on campus again. In the meantime, wear a mask, wash your hands often, and enjoy these campus activities.

Job of the Week: Professional Aide for the College of Veterinary Medicine

This week’s job of the week posting is for a Professional Aide (Posting 697985) performing writing and project management duties for the College of Veterinary Medicine. This is a three-month temporary position with the possibility for extension. The college includes four biomedical science departments, two clinical departments, two service units and various research units. In 2020, the College of Veterinary Medicine at MSU was ranked third in the U.S. and top 10 in the world

As the Professional Aide, you will be responsible for writing for the Office of Marketing and Communications in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Additionally, you will be expected to provide administrative, organizational, editing and research support for a special historical project for the college.

The ideal candidate will have a bachelor’s degree in English, Communications, Journalism, History or Professional Writing and at least two years of professional writing/project management experience. You will be a proficient, deadline-oriented writer with the ability to adapt your writing style to suit the genre and audience. You must have research skills and be able to understand complex subjects such as medicine, research and science. Candidates must be able to interview subjects and develop creative and frequent stories. Lastly, the ideal candidate should have experience and/or knowledge of generating web and social media content, project management skills and conduct historical research.

For more details on the responsibilities of this position, and to view all our current postings, visits careers.msu.edu. Applications for this position close on April 14, 2021. 

Job of the Week: Laborer I

This week’s job of the week posting is for a Laborer I (Posting #694061) for Infrastructure Planning and Facilities (IPF). IPF provides services like assisting in event coordination, landscaping, planning, design and construction, recycling, and more.

As a Laborer I, you will be responsible for performing, leading, and assisting seasonal staff in a variety of manual labor tasks related to general landscape, plant and tree care, preservation, and golf course maintenance and tournament/event setup operations as part of Forest Akers Golf Course. Other responsibilities include operating snow-removal vehicles and equipment, assisting in monitoring work areas to assure compliance with safety precautions, among others. The position is expected to work 40 hours per week from approximately April to November at $17.76–$18.69 per hour. This position is also expected to work at least every other weekend. Additional benefits are included as well as the possibility of working November through April 2022.

The Laborer I must drive a University vehicle to perform job duties of this classification. Ideal candidates must have a valid Michigan vehicle operator’s license and possess or attain MSU Forklift operator’s permit prior to completion of applicable probation or trial period. The candidate must also possess of attain a valid Michigan Commercial Pesticide Applicator Certification in categories Turf (3A), Ornamental (3B), and Right of Way (6) within 6 months of hire date.

The ideal candidate also has a background (at least 1 year experience) in golf course maintenance, sports field turf maintenance or strong equivalent background in similar agricultural or construction equipment work.

For more details on the responsibilities of this position, and to view all our current postings, visit careers.msu.edu.

Leadership Blog Series: Preparing for the Next Normal

Written by Sharri Margraves, HR Associate Director for Organization and Professional Development

In March 2020, we embarked on an incredible journey. Do you remember the shock when, seemingly overnight, everything changed at work and in our community? Thinking it would only be a couple of weeks, then two months, then six, and so on as reality set in? I imagine that few, if any, of us would have ever expected a collective and comprehensive change in our lives quite like this.

As we turn our thoughts to creating the “next normal,” many will experience a new set of emotions and challenges. We might keep wishing for things to go “back to normal,” even when we intellectually know it’s not possible. MSU will remain a residential university and being present is essential for the experience.

So, how do we prepare for an uncertain future as we begin to bring the campus back to a fuller vibrancy? Consider the following:

Start with being self-reflective

  • Honor that this experience has been hard for everyone, although not always in the same ways. Remember that we have our shared experience, but we did not share the same experience.
  • Appreciate those who continued to report in-person throughout the past year and those who continued to work remotely. It took everyone to get us through.
  • Make a list of your and your team’s accomplishments. It’s beneficial to reflect on the positive. Did you learn new skills? Create new processes?
  • Start thinking about how you might approach work differently.
  • Be grateful.

Be intentional

Approach the next set of changes with thoughtfulness and intentionality, considering how they will impact individuals and teams. Luckily, upcoming transitions will likely be gradual as opposed to the abruptness of going to “pandemic rules” last year. In all cases, consider how change will affect both employees and operations.

  • Prepare for change by engaging in discussions around work expectations, challenges, and changes in teams (e.g., what to expect regarding breaks, lunch, and dress code).
  • Allow ample time for employees to adjust to returning to campus as this is another major change. Those who have been on-site will also experience this change. Many employees will have new arrangements to make, and a lack of consideration for their needs will lead to disengagement.
  • Be prepared to utilize resources such as the MSU Employee Assistance Program, Guide to Remote Access, and others. Anticipate and address conflict. This adjustment will include following the MSU Community Compact, differences of opinion regarding vaccinations, and how employees will feel if co-workers choose not to disclose or get a COVID-19 vaccination, to name only a few.
  • Continue to be inclusive. Announcements, meetings, and other common workplace activities can impact teams, particularly with a mix of on-premise and remote employees. No one wants to feel excluded or that they missed something.

Be mindful of transitions

As we move forward, it’s critical to not just consider changes but also transitions. Consider the following quote from William Bridges:

“It isn’t the changes that do you in, it’s the transitions. Change is not the same as transition. Change is situational: the new site, the new boss, the new team roles, the new policy. Transition is the psychological process people go through to come to terms with the new situation. Change is external, transition is internal.”

Anticipate that your team may need support engaging with the transitions of our “next normal.” Take advantage of the resources provided by MSU and understand that this is an expected part of the process. Prepare yourself and your team for the changes and transitions ahead, and you can use 2020 as a springboard to the next, better normal.

Source:

Bridges, W. (2017). Managing transitions: making the most of change. Da Capo.

Job of the Week: Health Care Representative

This week’s job of the week posting is for a Health Care Representative (Posting #694623) for Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS). CAPS is an on-campus facility that provides students with services on mental health concerns, including individual and group therapy, psychiatric services, screening/triage appointments, multicultural engagement, intensive integrated clinical services, clinical care coordination, hospitalization coordination and support, as well as other related services.

As a health care representative, you will be responsible for performing front desk functions in person and over the phone in a mental health setting. Other responsibilities include greeting visitors, scheduling appointments, checking in and checking out patients to the clinic, data entry and medical insurance verification, among other tasks. The positions requires you to greet visitors in a friendly manner and provide assistance and direction within the office, register and schedule patients for all necessary appointments, maintain patients’ medical records, participate in cross coverage, participate in meetings and training as necessary, maintain confidentiality of protected health information, collaborate with providers to develop the master schedule, as well as enter and update the schedule in the electronic medical record as needed. 

The ideal candidate will have the knowledge acquired in a high school education, a minimum of one year of related or expansive work experience in a mental health office, or an equivalent combination of education and experience. Desired qualifications include completion of a healthcare assistant certificate or college course work in a health care related field or business or certification as a medical assistant. Knowledge of computer software including Microsoft Office Suite, patient scheduling software and Athena EHR are also preferred. Excellent interpersonal skills are needed to interact with students, visitors and clinicians.

For more details on the responsibilities of this position, and to view all our current postings, visits careers.msu.edu. Internal applicants should access postings through the Careers @ MSU tile in the EBS portal.

Burnout: How to Avoid It and What to do if You’re Experiencing It

Burnout is described as a state of emotional, mental, and often physical exhaustion brought on by prolonged or repeated stress. According to the American Psychological Association 2021 trends report, “two-thirds of employees report that poor mental health has undercut their job performance during the COVID-19 pandemic, and 40% of employees are battling burnout.” While these numbers are disheartening, after a year of balancing the evolving demands of remote work, childcare, social distancing, financial uncertainty, grief and more, they’re certainly not surprising. If you are experiencing symptoms of burnout, we want to ensure you’re aware of the resources available to MSU employees that may help. If you’re a supervisor, follow these tips to lead by example and make sure your team is aware of them too.

While symptoms of burnout can vary depending on the severity, some include persistent fatigue, chronic stress, inability to focus, change in eating habits, reduced sleep quality, depression and anxiety. If these symptoms sound familiar or you want to learn more about the signs of burnout, we recommend you watch this 24-minute webinar called How to Recognize and Minimize Burnout presented by Jaimie Hutchison, Deputy Director for the MSU WorkLife Office.

Resources and Tips

As Jaimie states in the webinar mentioned above, “Even if you are not experiencing stress or burnout now, a positive course of action is to proactively take up self-care and build your mental resilience.” Whether you feel like burnout is on the horizon or not, there are actions you can take to improve or avoid symptoms. Take stock of your current habits to see where you could make improvements and don’t forget to use the resources available to you:

  • Utilize employee mental health resources. As an MSU employee, you and your family have access to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which offers a confidential virtual counseling service at no cost. MSU Health4U offers a weekly virtual MSU Grief and Loss Support group. You also have access to Teladoc, which allows eligible employees and dependents who are 18+ to schedule a virtual visit with a therapist or psychiatrist. Your Best Doctors/Teladoc Medical Experts Behavioral Health Navigator benefit allows you to have a current mental health diagnosis reviewed by experts who will provide a second opinion, answer questions and help you find a specialist (if needed).
  • Set boundaries. Keeping an up-to-date work calendar is a great way to let your colleagues know when you’re working and when you’re not. When your home office is also the family dinner table, it can be too easy to answer email and phone calls after hours. However, as shared in this LinkedIn News article, “When there’s never a break, productivity ultimately suffers, and burnout becomes a greater risk.” It’s in your best interest to save after hours work for urgent issues only.
  • Take note of caregiver resources. We appreciate the struggles and challenges caregivers are experiencing right now. The MSU WorkLife Office has compiled an extensive list of resources available, including: options for care providers, support for managing boundaries with kids and work at home, and supervisor support on flexibility and making equitable decisions.
  • Make time to do things you enjoy. Whether that’s painting, planting a garden or walking the dog, make time to do activities you’re interested in – even if they’re challenging at first. This recent MSU Health4U article called I am a Runner! by Beth Morris LMSW, MPA chronicles Beth’s “last-ditch effort in the middle of a pandemic to try and manage stress” through a new running program. Beth’s story is inspiring and demonstrates how making time to do an activity you’re curious about – even if it’s hard – can help you cope with stress. Check out the MSU events calendar to see if there are any interesting virtual or socially distance activities you can join.
  • Practice mindfulness. There are many definitions out there of mindfulness, but most include the practice of being aware of what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment, without judgement. Developing a mindfulness practice can help you focus, ease anxiety, and manage stress. MSU employees have access to discounts for the Headspace and Calm meditation apps (find here under the Reduce Stress heading). If you want to get the whole family involved, MSU Extension recently published this Starting a Mindfulness Practice with your Child article.
  • Move more. A regular exercise program can have huge benefits on our overall health and well-being. Recreational Sports and Fitness Services offers virtual group classes over Zoom and Fitness On Demand, which gives you over 1,000 classes to choose from. Additionally, benefit-eligible employees have access to MSU Benefits Plus, which allows you to explore Global Fit’s growing library of free virtual classes and resources. Login to MSU Benefits Plus, click on Discount Shopping in the top navigation then type “Global Fit” in the search box to find a link to the digital resource library.
  • If you can, take time off. If you have vacation and/or personal days you can use, talk with your supervisor about taking some days off. That time away from work could be just what you need to reset and recharge.

We hope these tips and resources will help you avoid burnout or start to recover if you’re currently experiencing it. While the past year has been challenging, know that you’re not in this alone and there are resources available to help.

Sources:

Anders, G. (2020, October 8). Burnout signs have risen 33% in 2020; here are seven ways to reduce risks. Https://Www.Linkedin.Com/Pulse/Burnout-Signs-Have-Risen-33-2020-Here-Seven-Ways-Reduce-George-Anders/. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/burnout-signs-have-risen-33-2020-here-seven-ways-reduce-george-anders/

Huff, C. (2021). Employers are increasing support for mental health. American Psychological Association 2021 Trends Report, 51(1), 84. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2021/01/trends-employers-support

Enacting Change, Creating Impact: Women’s Advisory Committee for Support Staff Seeking New Members

Published on behalf of the Women’s Advisory Committee for Support Staff

The Women’s Advisory Committee for Support Staff (WACSS) supports a culture of equality, equity, engagement, and inclusion by providing a voice for women support staff at Michigan State University. The seventeen representatives of WACSS directly advise MSU’s Chief Diversity Officer, WorkLife Office Executive Director, and Associate Vice President for Human Resources, and are committed to five core purposes:

  • identifying areas of concern for women support staff and other employees and proposing creative solutions to address them;
  • recommending policies, programs, or procedures that impact support staff members, and particularly women;
  • ensuring a productive, safe, and educational work environment;
  • supporting an inclusive community; and
  • serving as a liaison between support staff and the MSU administration.

Since its establishment in 1976, WACSS has been a part of countless initiatives across campus aimed at improving the lives of all support staff, but with particular focus on women’s issues. WACSS was involved in the establishment of the Jack Breslin distinguished staff awards and creation of dedicated private nursing space for mothers, and championed the development of a resource guide on MSU’s Educational Assistance Program.

“WACSS is action-oriented and accomplishes a lot in a short amount of time,” says Ashley Lathrop, the Committee’s 2020-2021 chairperson. “Individuals that want to enact change, be a leader, and have real impact on MSU support staff should apply. You’ll have the incredible support of those sitting around the table with you—virtual or in person. There’s no better way to make change happen than to get involved!”

The Committee is currently seeking applications to fill 5 open positions (terms begin July 1, 2021): 1 Clerical-Technical (CTU), 1 Administrative-Professional (APA), 2 Labor (1585, SSTU, 274, and 324), and 1 At-Large (any category). Interested support staff from all categories are encouraged to apply to WACSS at tinyurl.com/WACSSapp by March 26, 2021. Membership interviews will be scheduled in April for highest-ranked candidates. Questions? Contact Emily Khan, the 20-21 vice chairperson, at wacss@msu.edu.