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By: Stan Capela, Vice President for Quality Management & Corporate Compliance Officer
Over the past 37 years of my career, I have been asked this over and over again. I invite you to read an article that will be published in The American Sociologist entitled: “The Learned Path of an Applied Sociologist.” In this article, I talk about my 37 year career as a program evaluator working for HeartShare Human Services of New York. I share what I learned over the years that include evaluating programs as well as my life as a peer reviewer for the Council on Accreditation.
As a reviewer I have reviewed 100 organizations in 34 states, District of Columbia, Canada as well as youth program in three military installations in Germany, Guam and Japan. During these site visits, I would not want to tell you how many times I hear of a worker who has a BA in Sociology. In most instances they are case workers, quality assurance analysts, trainers or doing some type of research.
So what is the secret?
First, go off somewhere and reflect on what you want to do with your life.
Second, take an inventory of what your skill sets are.
Third, come to the realization that you can make a difference just learn to talk in the language that people understand within the organization.
Fourth, walk around and carry on conversations to help identify what their needs are.
Fifth, develop a good set of computer skills. In my department, if you don’t know Excel don’t bother coming here.
Sixth, understand their needs and when reviewing things for senior management remember what they want to know is: Is there a problem? What caused the problem? How do I solve it? If you can answer these questions in less than one or two paragraphs you are worth your weight in gold. More importantly focus on what their needs are rather than your own.
Further, show a willingness to share and more importantly don’t get caught up in wanting to be thanked all the time. Specifically, let go of your ego.
In the end if you follow this advice when you get my age and begin looking back over the path you traveled you will realize you are the richest person on the face of the earth.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.