I recently came across this fascinating article from Fast Company entitled “Thirty is the New Fifty”. The articlethat talks about an increasingly common rite of passage, the day you find yourself working for someone younger than you. Given the country’s demographic profile and social-economic and technological trends, this upending of historic age-based hierarchies is the new reality.
It happened to me for the first time just two years ago and while there was the initial shock of realizing I was old enough to be older than someone (if you follow my drift), this evaporated almost instantly. Instead, I feel blessed that I’m working for my favorite type of boss – the one that gives you all the rope to hang yourself but is right by your side to cut it down just before it’s too late. As I read this piece, I realized that not only was I fortunate to be working with Darren Greeno, Executive Dean of Workforce at Skagit Valley College but I was also blessed to see many of the best practices of inter-generational cooperation, friendship and community cited in the article truly alive in the BAS-AM program.
The age range in the program goes from “just turned 21 and celebrated in Las Vegas” to folks with more life experience. Daily, I watch how the program participants embrace the points raised in this article – those with “digital dexterity” support those who are relative novices. And folks with more life experience coach newer workforce entrants on things such as interview techniques, navigating the art of balance and coping with imbalance. I’ve had my program participants coach me on the finer points of bands whose names I can’t pronounce, smile indulgently when I refer to flash drives as floppy discs and listen intently when we enter into lessons learned from actual workplace experiences. It is a wonderful thing when the sum of the parts become greater than the whole. It’s wonderful thing when you experience yet another way the BAS-AM program is enabling all of us to be effective participants in the workforce and life long learners who seize every opportunity for growth.
It has taken me a while to write with regards to the national public uprising and dialog around systemic racism that has been going on. The silence is mainly because I have been processing my own thoughts around these complex and multi-faceted issues. In all candor, I haven’t known what to say or how to express the many emotions I have been feeling.
I am now at a point where I feel ready to talk with others on this topic. But, I have no answers, only questions, with two main thoughts have been bubbling through my mind
The first is that it is my opinion that we have to put the conversation around racial equity and justice into historical perspective. As the image below shows, the period in which Black Americans lived in servitude and experienced legal segregation dwarfs the time that they have not.
Given this, don’t we have a social justice obligation to support our fellow citizens with equity-related initiatives so that the opportunity for equality can become a reality?
The second is that if we believe that equity means meeting and supporting people where they are at, shouldn’t we be respecting people’s decisions to participate in this movement in whatever way they each see fit? The image below shows the different ways that people are acting on the imperative for social justice and it spoke to me.
It is my hope that however you choose to participate, you do so from a way that feels right for you and that recognizes the critical need for every person in society to have the support they need and deserve for success. This tenet is the foundational platform for the Skagit Valley College Bachelor in Management program whose participants give me cause for hope.
“Emotionally Drained” is the title of this great article I just came across from the HarvardBusiness Review. The article shares some common sense and practical solutions on how to recharge and to persevere in the face of the turbulent times the world and each of us are facing.
When I find myself getting close to empty, I turn to my program participants for motivation. One encounter via Zoom, Slack, text or Facebook is all it takes to rejuvenate and keep going. Thank you Skagit Valley BASAM – because of you, I’ve got this!
Here’s an insightful blog from Medium, which discusses how each of us are experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic in our own ways. I appreciated how the author acknowledges that many of us just don’t have the bandwidth, the interest, the capability, the resources, the whatever to learn a new skill, bake daily, train for a marathon etc.
I also appreciated that the author acknowledges that for so many, survival is the main accomplishment.
Whichever way they are experiencing the pandemic, I am filled with immense pride when I think of every BASAM program member. 23 of them are weeks away from graduating with their bachelor degree, 20 of them are weeks away from finishing the third year of the degree. Another 27 are months away from starting this journey! To all, the heartiest of bravos – you’ve got this!
Check out this article from the New York Times that shares some great perspective on how to keep motivated and get unstuck when world events make you feel like crawling under a rock. I found it helpful in finding my mojo again – what about you? What is helping you get unstuck?
Independent learning is a cornerstone of Skagit Valley College’s Bachelor in Management program. Our classes meet just once a week on Fridays so the bulk of our learning is outside the classroom, in our own environments and with ourselves to hold ourselves accountable. The program prepares our participants for the workplace of the unexpected and the unanticipated; no way is this more true than in the current world health pandemic.
The tips in this great article from Fast Company shares hacks on maintaining workplace productivity when working remotely or independently and are equally useful whether you’re a student or and employee who is staying at home to limit the spread of the coronavirus
Check out this article by neuro scientist Amwesha Bannerjee. Bannerjee talks about how her fear of public speaking kept her from sharing her research publicly. She describes how she overcame that fear – by acknowledging and accepting that the fear was a normal function of the brain and over time, embracing that fear.
Fear has kept me from any number of things. A fear of math kept me from pursuing a degree in Economics and a career in finance or banking. A fear of not being a Renoir or a knitting ninja kept me from painting and knitting. And a fear of change kept me stuck in a career that was becoming less and less fulfilling as each day went by. As I look back, I realized that I embraced the fears by accepting that fear is completely normal when I doing something I don’t know how to do – by embracing my inner learner. As a result, I’ve moved from a stifling corporate role to my passion of learning, teaching and coaching, I knit, I paint and I teach Accounting. One thing I’m pledging to put more attention to is my fear of being a duff on the golf course – I’m going to work on embracing that fear this summer.
Curious about you : what fear are you ready to embrace or have you already conquered? How?
I just read this blog post from the Harvard Business Review, which discusses the perils of being so focused on one thing that it defines who you are. The post discusses it in the context of a career but it could so easily apply to any element.
For me, it’s definitely been my career that’s been that one thing. In my corporate days, I lived and breathed my job, even though countless people warned me about the related danger and risk of burn out. I started to see the same patterns repeat in my second career as faculty. It’s what happens when you love what you do.
This time though, thanks to a superb circle of people who care- my family, my friends at Skagit Valley College and beyond and a number of my program participants, I’ve caught myself. Realizing that I was falling into that swirling sink hole of working almost non stop and seeing the impact it was starting to have on my effectiveness as an instructor and on my relationships, I caught myself. I’ve pulled back the hours, redeployed some of that time for me and my interests : knitting, art, walking, reading, time with my loved ones including my Bandit. And guess what: by working less, because I’m rested and relaxed, I’m achieving more – funny that!
So what about you? How have you dealt with the risk of burn out? When do you see the signs of the slippery slope? How do bring yourself back?