The times, they are changing…

Charlie Plain | July 1, 2014
Barb Laporte
Barb Laporte, Director of Career & Professional Development Services at the School of Public Health

Around 500 B.C.E., Greek philosopher Heraclitus is credited with saying “The only thing that is constant is change” and centuries later, this is still true. People, things, the weather (especially in Minnesota!), circumstances – all are constantly changing. Naturally, we hope that most change is for the better, and often it is. Yet, many people resist change, becoming comfortable with the way things have been and perhaps feeling a little fearful of the new.

Making the decision to attend graduate school involves many changes: residence, social groups, study habits, finances, to name a few possible changes. The ability to adapt, be flexible, and grow with all the changes will facilitate a student’s chances to be successful. As he or she graduates and begins work in the “real world,” that adaptability will be an important skill to bring to an employer. In fact, according to an article by Randall S. Hansen and Katharine Hansen on Quintessential Careers, a website that focuses on career development and job search, adaptability is one of the skills most highly sought after by employers. They describe it as “…[the] ability to manage multiple assignments and tasks, set priorities, and adapt to changing conditions and work assignments.”

One change that is ever present in the workplace is what human resource professionals call “turnover.” New employees are hired, current employees may be promoted to different positions or departments, or they may leave the organization – sometimes of their own volition, and sometimes not. In any case, turnover is a time of transition, and one of the most significant of these workplace transitions (particularly for the employee involved) is retirement.

And the time for that transition has arrived for me as I retire as Director of Career Services of the School of Public Health. Having started with the School in 2003, and serving as Director of Career Services since 2008, I feel truly privileged to have worked with hundreds of amazing students and alumni. In some tiny way, I hope I have contributed to public health over the years, simply by encouraging and supporting the many public health professionals “in-training” I’ve been fortunate enough to work with along the way.

One thing that won’t change is the commitment of the School of Public Health Career Services office to offer top-notch resources and services to nurture the career development of students and alumni so they are equipped with the tools and guidance they need to manage their public health careers. Take advantage of this resource by emailing sphjobs@umn.edu to schedule an appointment with a career counselor.

So, thank you for being committed to creating a healthier and better world, and for allowing me to play a bit part in your journey towards accomplishing that goal. No one knows what changes are in store for any of us – only that there will change will be constant as long as we live – but I encourage you to be adaptable and flexible and embrace the changes life presents to you. Doing so will help you be healthier, happier, and more successful!

Be well,

Barb Laporte

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