I’m back from a very refreshing week of fun and sun in Florida with my wife, and am starting to get settled back in the office and get caught up. While I was out I tried my hardest to avoid work email/RSS/Twitter, but it’s just impossible. To my credit, I left 75 work emails unread and 700 posts in my Google Reader, and did pretty well at avoiding Twitter.
Vacation also allowed me to take a step back and look my profession as a whole. I read or re-read a lot of great books:
Right now is a ‘season of change’ for me both personally and professionally. Vacation couldn’t have come at a better time; in the week leading up to my trip our Director of Admission resigned, our Assistant Director had a baby and went on maternity leave, and our print coordinator (my counterpart) and main web designer who did the butler.edu redesign put in their 2 weeks. Needless to say, change is in the air. With new positions come new opportunities, both for those leaving and those arriving. Change can bring more change, good and bad. And while we are filling positions, there are a few things I can look forward to/lobby for.
For example, our current CMS only allows me to change content on sites within go.butler.edu. I can’t control anything on the homepage, navigation, etc. and only recently got access to the callouts in the margins. (A post on that and web usability has been sitting in my drafts for months. I’ll get it out in after I have a little more data.) With the new web designer vacancy, I am going to lobby for access to the ‘ArtApp’, aptly named after the guy leaving. It is the ‘CMS backdoor’ that allows access to these sorts of things. No better time than now to cut red tape. I was hoping Art would give me the keys before he left, he has very similar feelings as me about the CMS limitations.
Another opportunity will be revamping emails, etc. Currently, I design emails and the copy comes to me. We’ve really worked over the past year at refining the copy into an ‘email-compatible’ format. I kid you not, previous emails have been more than 1.5 pages long in Word… imagine that in a 550-600px box. *shudder* The person leaving the position has been great at recognizing this need and helping to cut text before passing it on, and she has also been a wonderful liason for me to the print department for getting photos for emails. With the absence of this position, I am going to try and get access (finally) to the campus photo library for emails, and start working more on text edits and getting our electronic materials to match the print versions better.
All of these positions will be hard to fill; our team works so well together and hopefully we can find some people to step in and hit the ground running, but still be able to bring us some fresh ideas and thoughts on what we’re doing here. I haven’t even been here a year, and at times I feel myself slipping towards the dreaded rut of moving along with business as usual year after year using previous materials and methods.
In all, it’s good to be back. Do yourself a favor and take some time off if you haven’t recently. It’s healthy for you. Winter is pretty much gone, so get out and enjoy the weather. You don’t even have to go anywhere far; just enjoy a day to yourself. Take a photo walk around your hometown, read some books, play with your kids, work in the yard, wash the cars, clean out the garage, go to a presidential rally, or just do absolutely nothing. But take a day off. There is so much more out in the world other than work and keeping up with the 9-5. The blogs will be here when you return. The emails really aren’t that urgent. The project can wait a few more days. And when you get back, you’ll be refreshed and ready to start back up again.