Monday, June 23, 2014
Thursday, June 19, 2014
I have been asked by an innovative internet company called Webucator (www.webucator.com ) to participate in their current project by responding to this question: what in my opinion is the most marketable skill for a college graduate or young professional entering the workforce? I have thought about it (having raised three young men helps!) and my answer is below:
I believe that your most marketable skill is really a characteristic, but it will take you far and serve you well: adaptability. Adaptability will make you a happier employee or entrepreneur, will certainly make your employer happy, and will keep you open to exciting new directions in your career, and in your life.
For example: you were hired by a local dinner theater to be a marketing assistant, creating buzz about upcoming shows and developing a network of potential show sponsors from within the community. Instead, you seem to be sent out a lot on of never-ending coffee runs! You are dispatched two or three time a day, waiting in long lines and trying to memorize a jumble of lattes, macchiatos, and decaf orders. Well, you can either 1) protest right away to your manager, 2) not mention it, and be miserable, or 3) let this go for a set time period -- say a month or two.
In that month, you can practice adapting to this seeming disappointment, instead of fuming over it. You will see, and maybe have already seen that life rarely goes as planned. Knowing what I know now as a professional, I would get to know the coffee shop owner or manager -- I am bringing a lot of business her way! I would, in fact, do my job -- develop that connection. Might this coffee shop owner underwrite some or all of an upcoming show? Is there a potential long-lasting relationship brewing here? Believe me, if you come back from coffee run with a sponsor, you will not be ordering coffees for long.
Another possibility lies within your adaptability -- you may one day own that coffee shop, or one like it. Like I said, life is strange. In this secondary role within your primary job, you may discover another professional avenue calling your name -- because you adapt, and jeep your eyes and mind open. Maybe it turns out that the smell of coffee, the chitchat with loyal customers and the sound of a debit card going through is what puts wind in your sails!
Today's professional landscape calls for a person who can roll with the punches, think outside the box about their own future, and add value to every employer or business partner they connect with.
Oh, and an added bonus? If you are adaptable in business, just see how it deepens and improves friendships, marriage and parenting, along with so many other defining relationships. That's why it is a skill and a characteristic -- and one worth developing personally and professionally.
Good luck, graduates of the class of 2014! And please check out www.webucator.com -- they are there with customized instructor-led training services to round out and/or deepen any professional's skill portfolio. Now, a free Microsoft course is being offered! Check it out!
Sunday, June 15, 2014
My dad was always the very best dad in the world. Recent revelations have shown me just how busy my dad was during my childhood, in his role as a deputy Secretary of State for Refugees (he is the father of modern American humanitarian response as it pertains to refugees around the world), the Director of the Refugee Program in the State Department, and a trusted civil service professional in Washington, DC. in policy creation and budget management, among so many other roles. He has worked relentlessly on behalf of his country for its good.
I never was affected by all that affected him professionally, because when he was home, father was the role he relished. His advice was always thoughtful and succinct: when I liked a boy in fourth grade, dad advised, "Ask him about what he likes, and start a conversation."( I believe I asked that boy about his drums.) He also taught me to ride a bike, throw a softball, build a fire and treat others kindly.
In high school, he took me out to breakfast to talk to me about the dangers of smoking. (Don't do it.) When I came home from college particularly dispirited and rudderless, my dad took me outside in the backyard for a talk. I thought he would chastise me for my late nights out with friends, or unleash disapproval for my current lifestyle of drinks, parties, and meaningless freedom. Instead, he sat me down and told me all the good things he saw in me -- all the promise, all the human potential. He asked me questions about my current interests, and helped me develop a plan for my life.
That conversation led to a lot of thought, which led to my first serious job in insurance and a dedication to writing. It also, I believe, led to a new openness in my heart for a serious relationship, because my dad was suggesting that I take my own life seriously. He had worked hard his whole life, and knew that the secret to happiness - or one of them - is simple: work. Dedicate yourself to making something better. It is you that is important in the equation, not necessarily the job you undertake -- whatever you do, do it well.
Soon after I met my husband, and I was ready to begin a more responsible, focused life, thanks to all that my dad had given to me. Dad had sowed the seeds and I had worked the field of my potential, giving up partying, dedicating myself to work, reading, walking and thinking. Now, in marriage, I was reaping the harvest of true adventure, children, family, and life, in its fullness.
Dad, you have always believed in me. Did you know that I have always believed in you? Well I have, and that has never wavered. How blessed I am to have that constant in my life. I love you, and my respect and awe of you will never fade.You were the first man I ever loved....and I always will.
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