Believe and Achieve: How Incremental Changes Can Have an Immense Impact on Career Success

How are you doing on your New Year’s resolution—assuming you are among the one-third of Americans who made one. New Year’s resolutions, like career goals, can lose their appeal quickly if you take an all or nothing approach (I will exercise for two hours every day, I will spend all day Friday writing, I will infuse every single one of my courses with new technology and active learning strategies). So how do you make significant progress when demands on your time have never been greater?

Author Oliver Burkeman suggests focusing on process rather than a particular outcome. "Rather than deciding to write the novel of the century, commit to 45 minutes of writing every morning." Instead of attempting to revise all your courses at one fell swoop, spend an hour or two each week experimenting with new technology, reading an article or book devoted to pedagogy, observing a colleague’s class, attending a workshop or revising one element of your course. Burkeman also tells us one need not feel "motivated" or enjoy the work and advises taking action regardless of your feelings or where you are today. Many things worth having are hard won—but taken in smaller steps are less overwhelming.

Read More

Zen Habits blogger and author Leo Babauta discussed the power of habit investments in a post last month. "It sounds really obvious when you say it, but if you do something small repeatedly, the benefits accrue greatly over time." Similar to small change adding up to big dollars, habit investments reap larger rewards with incremental expenditures of time. If you haven’t been able to create a writing habit, Babauta recommends writing just one sentence today and another each day for the remainder of the week; the following week up the ante to two sentences per day. Stick with it and in a year’s time you’ll be writing 1,000 words every day. The same process may be used for research, read one article the first week, two the next and so on. In a year’s time you’ll be on the conference circuit advising others while earning lavish consulting fees (okay, okay this is higher education after all).

Mike Maddock, writing about business resolutions in Forbes, observes that the most successful people create "not to do" lists in order to focus on the most important things. "Creating a list of things that you are not going to do allows you to invest more of your treasured time on the few things that matter the most."

While it may seem counterintuitive, thinking small and doing less may be your best resolutions for career survival and success. Remember to invest a day in FITL on May 22nd to unlearn more! Link to the last article here.

Babauta, Leo.  “The Power of Habit Investments.” @ Zen Habits. 28 Jan 2013. Web.

Burkeman, Oliver. “On Failed New Year’s Resolutions.” Newsweek  17 December 2012

Maddock, Mike. “Ten Resolutions That Most Success People Make and Then Keep.” Forbes December 2012.

  NSF ADVANCE Connect@RIT : Working Together to Succeed

The Connect@RIT project – Creating Opportunity Networks for Engagement and Collective Transformation – is a five-year, university-wide effort supported by a $3.2 million award from the National Science Foundation ADVANCE program. The goal of the project is to drive institutional transformation that will result in increased recruitment, retention, and advancement of female faculty in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), including the social and behavioral sciences. Thanks to additional support from RIT, programming opportunities will be available for all faculty, with an aim to influence the campus climate, cultivate an inclusive university environment, and increase transparency and equity.

The Wallace Center is collaborating with the Connect@RIT team to create tools, programs, and opportunities that support faculty success in teaching, service, and scholarship.

Read More

Offerings, currently in the development phase, will explore the following critical questions:

  • How Connected Are You?  Learn about the value of your social resources and how using them can further your career.
  • How Do I Succeed?  Determine a defined path for tenure and/or promotion.  The programs in Connect will help faculty figure out how to get it done.
  • What’s in It for Me?   Each offering will have clearly outlined takeaways so faculty know the benefits of participation.

To learn more, visit our web site or look for us at Imagine RIT in early May, and at FITL  in late May.  The first grant-related programs will launch in Fall 2013.

Connect@RIT Team

  A Funny for You

  Do You Know the Real Dean?

Which one of our Deans did A, B, or C below?

  1. Was a steelworker
  2. Flew the Goodyear Blimp
  3. Left the US at the age of 49 to work in Hong Kong

Click here to find out!

If you’re searching for the answer to "Do You Know the Real Dean?" in our second edition of Upstarts @RIT, it is Lorraine Justice, Dean, CIAS, who did all three! Working her way through art school in the late 70s, she took a summer job in a Pittsburgh steel mill and learned how to weld.  At age 25, she wanted to do something different on her birthday and got a ride on the Goodyear Blimp and was allowed to fly it over Akron for 10 minutes. In the late 90s, Lorraine put the “American Dream” in storage in Atlanta and headed for Hong Kong, taking her family with her for adventures in Asia. Lorraine added, "Being creative often goes hand in hand with exploration of many experiences in order to express and communicate through art and design."

  Resources to Suit Every Need

The Department Chair: The Wallace Center Library recently added this award-winning periodical to its online collection, just for you. It features in-depth articles that deliver sound insight and proven strategies essential for successfully leading an academic department to its collection. View here

Creating Sustainable Performance: What makes for sustainable individual and organizational performance? Employees who are thriving--not just satisfied and productive but also engaged in creating the future. View here

You, By the Numbers (Managing Your Professional Growth): The process of becoming self-aware has traditionally been based on intuition and anecdotal feedback. But that reality is changing, thanks to the growing discipline of auto-analytics- the practice of voluntarily collecting and analyzing data about oneself in order to improve. View here

Organizational Unlearning: This article defines and clarifies the meaning of organizational unlearning, distinguishes it from organizational learning, articulates its dimensions and discusses ways organizations can unlearn. View here

  Events You Won't Want to Miss

A FITL to End All FITLs!!!

Save the Date: Wednesday, May 22, 2013!
Read more about our FINAL FITL
Registration starts April 15th.

  Are you finding Upstarts useful, interesting? Was anything a standout that you’d like to share with other "upstarts"?  We’d enjoy hearing from you.  Forward your comments and insights to the
FCDS team at
Faculty Career Development Services
Copyright © 2013 Rochester Institute of Technology
The Wallace Center at RIT