Thirty is the New Fifty

I recently came across this fascinating article from Fast Company entitledThirty 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.

Emotionally Drained

“Emotionally Drained” is the title of this great article I just came across from the Harvard Business 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!

Experiencing the Pandemic and Acknowledging our Uniqueness – the BASAM Way

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!

Guide to Answering: “What are your strengths?”

In the Skagit Valley College BASAM program, we focus on building the banks of knowledge, skills and self awareness that it takes to flourish in a managerial career. Through this two-year course of learning, we discover new perspective on the things we do well and the things that are opportunity areas. It is interesting to me that many of us can recite a long list of the opportunity areas but we often struggle with communicating our strengths in a concise, compelling and evidence-based way. This article from Fast Company provides great perspective on ways to describe our strengths and why certain strengths are those that employers look for. It made my evening to see that all of these areas are covered and demonstrated in some way by the BASAM program. What great evidence to point to the real-life, practical learning experience that this program represents!

www.fastcompany.com/90234552/this-is-the-best-answer-to-what-are-your-strengths

Meeting People with Compassion.

This article is a wonderful embodiment of advice I was given in 2004, when I became a General Manager at Philip Morris International. The Region President, one of my best bosses told me “love your people and they will love you back and achieve miracles for the team” I’ve gone out of my way to love “my people” even sometimes it’s the last thing I think they deserve. Almost with exception, the results have been spectacular- for the people, the organization and for me,

Check out the full story www.facebook.com/790168635/posts/10159935146698636/

Five Things

We’re in the midst of crafting our personal narratives in the Year 4 BASAM program, and that has had me thinking about how my narrative needs a refresh. Then I came across this fabulous piece my good friend from college Perrin McCormick posted on her Limkedin page – 5 things people would tell you about her. So I’m borrowing shamelessly from Perrin to ask my program people what they would say about me – which was I’ll then use to update my pitch

Go …

Happy Diwali

Light, love and laughter to all

As my program members know, the land of my birth is India. I haven’t lived there since I was seven yet thanks to the upbringing, the ties to my cultural roots are strong.

Today, many of the 1.4 billion Indians who live around the world (almost 18% of the global population) celebrate Diwali. I’ll leave its origins and reasons for others to cover. Suffice to say, Diwali celebrates universal truths of the triumph of good over evil and light over dark. For many, many reasons and memories, it is my most favorite day in the year and so I want to wish all BASAM followers the sentiments of festival – may light, love and laughter grace all corners of your home and heart!

BASAM Guest Speaker Mount Vernon School District Superintendent

On October 25, the BASAM program was honored to have Dr Carl Bruner, Superintendent of the Mount Vernon school district as a speaker in SOC420, a course that examines the intersection of social capital, bias, power and equity and career development. Dr Bruner led the class, drawing from the life story of Dr Donna Beegle, who escaped the pernicious cycle of generational poverty, thanks to a combination of factors including her tenacity and her mentors.

I know I speak for all program members when I say the discussion was thought provoking and inspiring. It will leave a positive, enduring legacy on our hearts, minds and behaviors as workplace leaders and as community members. Thank you Dr Bruner from all of us.

We’re Enough

Once in a while, we experience a moment when a piece of music grips our very core. Over the summer, I came across Broken and it’s Beautiful by Kelly Clarkson that resulted in this core gripping moment for me. The line that sticks with me is the one that goes “I’m phenomenal and I’m enough”. As a society, it seems we are quick to find fault with each other, with our circumstances and with ourselves, leading us to a frenetic quest for perfection and the invariable disappointment when we don’t reach it every single time.

In the Skagit Valley College program, we devote time and energy exploring our auto-ethnographies- how the confluence of our life experiences and environments shape our outlooks on society, our approaches to our work, our careers, our families and how they impact how we see ourselves. This week, we started the conversation in the Foundation of Applied Management course that the folks in the third year of their bachelor degree are doing. The Year 4’s unraveled new dimensions to the conversation in the Social Capital course in which they are enrolled.

As I listened to the discussions in both classes, all that kept playing through my mind were Clarkson’s words. With my eyes and ears, I saw the tenacity, the resolve, the power, self-belief that every member of the program has, whether they’re aware of it yet or not. And I realized why I love the Clarkson song so much – it’s because it reminds me of the journeys that each of us in the program are on and the honor and empowerment I feel to be part of it. We listened to the song in the Year 4 class and I’ll share that talking about the song and what it and the people in the program represent was a tear filled moment for me.

The final share on this is that words of the song came alive to me again over the weekend when I was thinking of a recent reunion I had with a friend from decades ago. Our time together and the pride they showed in me and my work left me with the confidence that yes, I’m broken, it’s beautiful , it’s phenomenal, and I’m enough.

And so I say to all BASAM people – we’re enough.