*** NE4H.com is excited to post this special guest blogger entry from Shaina Spann, Baker County 4-H Agent***
The Top Ten Things an Extension Agent Needs:
1. A Planner (or three)
a. Happy Planner from Michael’s. Fun to decorate and accessorize.
b. Google Calendar so it is always at your fingertips!
c. Trello (https://trello.com/) for working collaboratively on events with others.
2. Notebook for Acronyms
a. Because we all know that to enter data into 4HOnline we must use BMPs to keep our ES-237 data in order.
3. Partner that Understands the Job
a. Extension is more than 8-5. In addition to conferences, there are many late nights and weekend events. Having a significant other that understands the demands of your job can alleviate additional stressors.
a. Having a mentor is SUPER important. You want to have a connection with someone that can help when you are overwhelmed (it will happen) and understands what you are going through being a newbie (or not so newbie).
b. They can help give ideas for projects that you are working on or just be a sounding board when you need to vent.
a. Monster, Coffee, Coca Cola, or Tea. I feel this is self-explanatory.
6. Portable Phone Charger
a. For when you’re out in the field and your phone is dying!
7. Red Pen to Mark Time OFF
a. This is another BIGGIE. If you write it in in red pen you can’t erase it and it looks important to clientele glancing at your planner so they think you are important. FYI, you are! And we accumulate time off for a reason.
a. BEST resource for helping clientele. The EDIS (Electronic Data Information Source) website is your Every Day Information Source. It is a comprehensive, single-source repository of all current UF/IFAS numbered peer-reviewed publications. (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu)
9. Long-term Hobby
a. You need a hobby to help get your mind off the daily, let’s say occasional stressors. Having an outlet can help with prolonging your satisfaction with the job and lessen burn out. Even it is binge watching all the Friends episodes on Netflix, or collecting your cat’s hair to knit sweaters (you know who you are) get your mind off work and take a break!
a. Maintaining barriers is difficult when you care about what you do. BUT you are not a doctor or any kind of automated robotic machine. You need to let go. DON’T check your email on Saturday evening. We have to prioritize work and life balance to maintain sanity, keep momentum, and enjoy our jobs.
***Remember- all 4-H faculty and staff from the Northeast District are invited to share their professional development tips, tricks, and scholarly articles through this blog! Send submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org***