Masters of Archives and Records Administration program at San Jose State University will be a challenge, but one I am ready to face. While I have not worked in an archive or held a position as a records manager, and most of the concepts to which I have been introduced thus far are new, I have worked as a legal assistant and I believe this experience will serve as a good basis on which to build. I also think my background, as varied as it is, will serve me well. After taking the Online Learning Readiness Assessment on the San Diego Community College website, I was quite pleased to learn that my current job has allowed me to develop many skills that are necessary for online learning. As a legal assistant, attention to details, organization of information and time management skills are essential. Time management and organization go hand-in-hand – organization of course materials and notes help save time, and setting a specific time aside each day to study helps me stay organized an undistracted. In turn, these skills help me stay ahead of the game and give me more time to focus on the specific details within the larger concepts. Working in a law firm has also allowed me to hone my computer skills, especially when it comes to Microsoft Word, Excel and Outlook, as well as how to prioritize tasks in order to meet deadlines. As stated in the Tips for Success, effective communication is also necessary in order to avoid online conflicts and misinterpretation of intent in a program that allows for extremely little fact-to-face interactions. This is something I have very careful about as more and more office communications take place over e-mail and I have always tried to be very careful with how I word an e-mail or memo so as to minimize the chance that my words could be misinterpreted.
I have to admit that I am not looking forward to the inevitable group projects. The truth is that I like working on my own. I know the quality of work that I can produce and I worry that others will not put forth the effort to create a quality product. However, if I am honest with myself I have to admit that these fears are largely unfounded. Group project that I have worked on in school usually turn out fine and while I may have encountered one or two slackers, most people with whom I have worked have put in the work and we have turned in great projects. I also have to be honest and admit that on at least one occasion, I was the slacker. Dr. Haycock set forth how a team falls apart from lack of trust, fear of conflict, avoidance of accountability, lack of commitment, and inattention to results, and this is something I have seen first-hand. A team can become toxic in a hurry if just one member of the team exhibits any one of these characteristics; but when these traits run rampant throughout the team the effect is disastrous. Dr. Haycock also provide a great framework upon which to build a team, and strong leadership is the first step. It is essential, of course, that all members of the team know where they excel and where they lack, and that each person is a valuable component to the success of the group. I believe that mutual respect for each other as a vital component of a group and necessary to open communication within the group; and that respect and communication will allow each team will lead to “courageous conversations” and allow to move through the stages of storming (who knew griping was vital to success?), resolution and on to the production of a quality project. I won’t go as far as to say I am looking forward to working with a group, but I think the information presented in Dr. Haycock’s presentation has changed my outlook a bit and provided me with a new way of approaching this in the future.