Student opportunity positions need help Some of the most expensive services on campus need updates and support

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There are a number of full-time positions open to graduating students that the McMaster Students Union employs each year. Each one for the 2018-2019 academic year are currently up on the MSU website or will be in the coming days and weeks. These range pretty drastically in the responsibilities outlined and the skillsets needed for each considering the services they are attached to, e.g., the Silhouette, CFMU, Campus Events and the Underground.

While I would encourage anyone reading this to apply if interested, I would reapply to be Editor-in-Chief myself if returning staff were allowed to during the first hiring efforts, there are a few things you need to know.

The first is that the mandated 35 hours of training before the commencement of your employment will likely be untracked and not actually reach 35 hours. While it is convenient that there is no punch card system or anything similar over the course of the regular year, it will mostly be up to you to make sure the union and its hierarchy are held responsible for training you in the job they hired you for.

This may get a bit messy on paper. Despite it not being included in the job description that training a successor will be necessary, each Editor-in-Chief has been trained by the previous one.

This will likely not be too much of a worry given the presence of supervisory and management staff for most places also running a Student Opportunity Position. It is still worth asking about in the initial interview to make sure they have a solid training process in place.

The second is that your job description is likely outdated. Mine mentions supervising 14 staff members while we have 19. It also lists the need for knowledge in PageMaker and WordPerfect despite the fact the former’s last release was in 2004 and the latter was overtaken by Microsoft Word in the late 1990s. It also references “Assistant Editors”, which is a classification that no longer exists.

While everything is roughly correct in terms of general themes, you should talk to whoever is currently in the role to get the best idea of what their job actually entails.

The third involves some oddities with the full-time employment policy. Out of those in Student Opportunity Positions that I have talked to, no one has received a formal performance review as stated in the document. The mid-year review was supposed to take place in November.

This also overlaps with the fact that all employees start off on a six-month probationary period for the supervisor to assess their suitability to the position. If successful, they become a regular employee of the MSU. I have yet to be formerly told if I am a regular employee or if I am still on that initial probation.

There are a lot of things the MSU meticulously follows when it comes to the policy, especially when it comes to anything leave or financials related, but performance feedback is not one of them for Student Opportunity Positions.

Though there are only a few positions like this available, the union’s number of full-time employees is small enough that helping a few out would go a long way in effectively using student levies. Better training, clearer job descriptions and performance feedback are all things that need improvement or more formalized systems.

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Author: Haley Greene

Haley is a fourth year communications and multimedia student working as the Online Editor of the Silhouette. If you can't find her in the office, she is probably searching for the best nap spot on campus or thrifting a new pair of funky pants. Her fun facts include being only three degrees of separation from Queen Elizabeth II and not knowing how to stand up while riding her bike.