Dietetic Career Spotlight on Jen Haugen, RDN, LD, School Food Service
By SARAH KOSZYK, MA RDN on SEPTEMBER 5, 2014
It is never too late to change jobs or revamp your career. Jen Haugen did just that as she went from supermarket dietitian to school food service dietitian and she is loving every step of the way. Read on to learn more how you can find passion in every new career opportunity. – Sarah
What attracted you to the field of nutrition and dietetics?
What attracted me to dietetics was a push from my parents to job shadow my aunt who was an outpatient dietitian. Growing up on a farm and knowing where everything on my plate came from was natural to me. I wanted to help others know more about their food too.
Your Job Title:
Two titles: Nutrition Communications Dietitian and School Food Service Dietitian
Company you are with now:
My own (www.jenhaugen.com) and Austin Public Schools
Other Social Media links you would like to include:
– Twitter: @jenhaugen
– Instagram: Jen Haugen RD
– LinkedIn: Jen Haugen
A typical (or not so typical) day-in-the-work-life for you:
Things are in transition for me right now as I am starting a new chapter in my career! I’m excited to be working part-time for Austin Public Schools as their Registered Dietitian in the Food and Nutrition Services Department and I’m excited to be able to focus a little more time on growing my presence as a nutrition communications dietitian as well. This is a change from my previous role as a supermarket dietitian for Hy-Vee for the past 6 years. So, my new routine includes working at the school part of the day using my nutrition expertise to optimize the nutritional offerings for both breakfast and lunch, educating students in the cafeteria and marketing changes in a positive way. After that, my schedule allows me to develop blog posts, recipes and work on my photography skills before I pick up my kids. Of course, being a mom is my number one job!
How did you get your current job in dietetics?
One of my strengths, according to Strength Finder 2.0 is being a learner. I love to learn. So, after 6 years in the supermarket, I found myself looking for a new challenge and a little more balance in my life as a mom of two kids. The school position was a brand new path for the school district and I was excited to join the team.
What skills were you born with and what skills have you learned along the way?
Skills that I was born with: a natural hunger for learning and curiosity, a strong sense of responsibility to communicate the truth, and I’m an achiever. I get a thrill out of creating, developing and executing a new idea. A skill I’ve learned along the way, is the ability to say “no”. It’s taken me many years of saying “yes” and feeling overwhelmed to finally sink in that it is okay to say “no” to some opportunities so I can say “yes” to other priorities.
What advice do you have for others wanting to be just as successful and fulfilled as you?
My advice is to do some self-reflection and really key in on what it is you value. My friend and fellow RD, Chere Bork, helped me figure out my values and to this day, it helps me make all of my decisions. My life is more fulfilled when the way I am living matches up to my values.
If you could be paid for your job with something other than a paycheck, what would it be?
An RV – and the time to drive it across the country!