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Dithering and Dickering

On Thursday I got a phone call I’d kind of been expecting, but which still caught me by surprise. It was the VP of IT at the University, asking if I wanted to be the webmaster.

See, I’d figured they’d offer me the job when PJ decided he wasn’t coming back. It’s a small campus, and with PJ gone I’m the staffer with the most web development experience.

I interviewed with the VP on Friday morning, and I’ve spent the weekend mulling it over. The job is mine if I want it — but do I?

I have been looking over PJ’s shoulder for three years. Heck, I was on his hiring committee. I’ve advised him since day one and often wondered how I’d do if I had his job.

I’ve also thought, many a time, that I was glad I didn’t have his job. He has had many successes but also many frustrations along the way. The University is somewhat “old school,” not quite embracing the value of the web. Webmaster is a highly politicized position, a lightning rod for controversy and criticism.

I’ve really enjoyed my own job as a multimedia artist. I work with faculty, mostly one-on-one, and I’ve gotten to pursue a lot of fun, creative projects. I have had a great relationship with my boss and co-workers, and I have a pretty nice office.

Then again, I’ve worked that job for six years. Lately I was starting to wonder what’s next. I’ve felt the need for a new challenge.

The prospect of the new job would offer a fresh challenge, more money, arguably more prestige, and certainly more headaches.

It would also offer more security. The University will need a webmaster for the foreseeable future, but “multimedia artist” seems like it could end up on the chopping block. Most of the staff in my unit has already been laid off because of Katrina.

The whole affair seems to have an air of inevitability about it. If I don’t give the webmaster job a try, I’d always wonder how I’d have done. When faced with choices like this, my response is fairly predictable.

So, after much dithering, I’m dickering. I’ve asked for two things: I’d like to report directly to the VP of IT, and I’d like a nicer office than the windowless cubbyhole to which PJ was consigned.

I just sent an e-mail to this effect. And now, I wait for a reply…

Published inGeekyThe Ed Biz


  1. good choices. best of luck. be sure to include time where you can interact with other folks doing similar gigs away from NOLA in your compensation and education budget for the position.

  2. I was the Web Administrator for the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University. It was a cush job on one hand, but a barrel of frustrations on another. The main problem with that job was that there was no upward mobility. The ceiling was the job and being a university with strict and slow raises and fixed vacation, you either have to love it from the start or be prepared for no change. The only change that could happen, would be to jump ship from that department into somewhere else on campus. Brown U in general is “old school” with it’s web approach, but Watson was more cutting-edge.

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