Sunday, April 03, 2011

I'm Finally Truly Using My Master's Degree

(Partly borrowed & edited from my Facebook Notes where I updated friends)

I’ve been thinking about work a lot lately and how life works out. Ten years ago I graduated from UH with a Master’s in Communication. I chose the thesis option and I wrote about gender differences among new employees and mentees in an organization. I wrote about their information seeking strategies, supportive communication, and information content. The exact title of my thesis is Gender Differences in Information Seeking Strategies, Supportive Communication and Information Content in Interns' Mentoring Relationships. (yeah, a long title!)

(Image borrowed from

In other words, when you enter a new organization you seek information from your co-workers and also from your manager. If you’re assigned a mentor you look to your mentor for information about the organization’s culture and acceptable behavior. I wrote about this process and I also took some classes regarding training.

I started back at the Chronicle 12 years ago, (after being gone 4 years) while I was still in graduate school, and I graduated in 2001. But instead of moving into a communication position within the Chronicle, or at another company, I stayed on in sales. I was in an exciting position at the time that I enjoyed and I just went from there.

What's interesting is that after all this time of being back in sales, and 10 years after getting my Master's, I finally get to work specifically in my area of interest. The reason I say truly using my degree and specifically is because I believe that I've been using my communication skills in my career all along, especially working in sales. Now my job is more specifically targeted at a new employee's entrance into the organization.

Six weeks ago I moved over to the training area. I'm working with all the new advertising employees as they come in and I set them up for their training classes. I'm teaching three of the classes for now, but I will probably be teaching four eventually. I'm writing the fourth one on our Hispanic products.

We also have some Hearst Fellows through the sales program at UH and I'll be working with them, going out on sales calls and coaching them. So far I love all six of the girls who are in the program. They are so young and optimistic and they have their whole future ahead of them.

This is such a great combination of my old job as UH ad manager, my ad sales experience at the Chronicle and my education. Working with the students and nurturing them was my favorite part about my job at UH and now I get to do the same thing here for way better pay.

Also, in addition to the training I get to keep one foot in sales by keeping some of the old ethnic ad agencies I’ve worked with for the past six years and some key accounts, so I don’t lose touch with my sales experience. I think it's important to stay in sales too to keep my own sales skills sharp.

So there you go. I’m really excited about my new position and I’m looking forward to working with the sales fellows and new advertising employees. I really feel like it was worth the wait and that this happened at the right time when it was supposed to.

1 comment:

Stephania Eckstrom said...

From the overview you mentioned, I believe your thesis is a significant contribution to the fields communication and business management. Truly, a tyro in an organization tends to seek information from those who have been there for a long time. This communication pattern will definitely make one adapt to the new work environment and culture. I'm glad that your current job elevates your sales expertise and enables you to employ your learning and undertakings from your Master's degree.

-Stephania Eckstrom