There’s nothing more encouraging than recruiting new staff members and then having a chance to meet and learn with them. Having experienced budget and staff reductions, we may easily become pessimistic about the future of our organization. We hope we’ve reached some stability in our funding, at least for the near future, and with normal retirements and career moves by our colleagues, we’ve found ourselves able to hire some new academic and support staff within Michigan State University Extension.
The hiring has been such that we found a need to provide new staff orientation this week (our last offering was in May 2012). We actually had more demand than we could handle, so we’ve scheduled another session in April.
I had a chance to visit with many of the new colleagues yesterday, and I came away overwhelmed by the enthusiasm, positive outlook and readiness to make a difference in Michigan. These folks are tech-savvy, experienced and resilient to the challenges Michigan’s economy has faced over the past 10 years. What a breath of fresh air it was for me to visit with them! I couldn’t help but be infected with their optimism and commitment.
MSUE human resources manager Nancy Axtell shared that research on the “millennial generation” (those born between the early 1980s and the mid-2000s) shows that as a group the members of this generation have a measurable sense of dedication and commitment to help improve the world around them. That makes for a great match to an organization like MSUE, whose mission is to “help people improve their lives.” And I witnessed that in my conversations with our new colleagues. That’s also a strong characteristic of the “baby boom” generation, those born between the mid-1940s and the late 1960s. And we had a few boomers in the new staff orientation as well.
I’m generally optimistic about MSUE’s future anyway, and after my encounter with our new colleagues yesterday, I’m even more optimistic. I hope you have a chance to work with these new colleagues soon and can benefit from their enthusiasm. I know they’ll benefit from the skills, insights and experiences of their more seasoned colleagues as well.