Winter is about loss
of light. You’d think
our planet is closer
to the sun in the summer,
but no, Earth’s at perihelion
in winter. It’s the slant of light
and shorter length of time
the sun blazes across horizons
that accounts for the coldness.
The modern workplace brims with activity as people dart from meeting to meeting. Sometimes our communication is too brief. At times our messages are not well thought out. Even when the communication is crystal clear, the message can get lost in a wave of workload. But because our organizations tend to rely on best practices, people have a common frame-of-reference when there are misunderstandings. Best practices are a common denominator that allow us to understand and predict behavior, and serve as “true north” as we navigate the complexity of modern organizational life.
As organizations expand internationally and multi-cultural communications between employees, vendors, suppliers, and customers become more frequent, we are finding that the common denominator of best practices begins to unravel. And once we can no longer fall back on best practices, our inner compass can go haywire.
Across all ages or stages of life we ask different questions of a similar nature. I think the most enduring questions were penned by the FitzGerald-Khayyám Rubáiyát team when they asked, Why are we here? Where have we come from? Where are we going? At each life-stage the questions take different forms. When younger we ask Who Am I? Then at midlife we ponder: Is This All There Is? and Where Am I Going? And finally in old age as we review our journey, we ask How Have I Lived My Life? and How Do I Want To Be Remembered? Of course all these questions can all be asked repeatedly at any age.
On New Years Eve, we bade adieu to one of the historically worst years of our lives. Certainly we enjoyed some good moments, but overall a darkness descended when that old suicidal devil revealed his ugly Trump face, and made appearances in Europe, the Middle and Far East, and Africa. While summing up the well-lived and terrified parts of that year, Judy asked, “I wonder if I have lived a small life?” Of course she is not asking about size, and rather if her life mattered.
Torchlights singe the late night air and the kicked-up dust glows on the path to the inn. A man in a brown robe leads the donkey, each step measured. His wife, wrapped in a wool shawl, stays the autumn chill. For a moment, she must stop, grips the nape of the donkey’s neck, and winces, as before, bracing for the next contraction. He steadies her, wonders if Mary’s okay. She relaxes her hold and smiles, but the harvest moon glinting off her eyes belies her calm assurance. As sure as ebb and flow, the next wave of pain cannot be quelled—her hands pressing her belly as if to stem the tide. Joseph’s feet, no longer downtrodden by fatigue, rush him to the inn. He raps on the oaken door as if his fists were made of brass. But his own would have him not. Go Away! A gruff voice rumbles through the wood. There are no more rooms. Those words echo in the desperate air with Mary’s cries. Yet, there is a shuffle of shoes. A clenched-jaw voice on the other side of the door seeps through, Jacob. Let them in! The innkeeper’s eyes wedge, Yes, Eliana. She stokes the fire, pots clacking on the coals. Water boils. He shows them to the straw-crib behind the house, where the sheep lay.
I just love the U.S. I have no desire to visit there, but I am thrilled by their homeland history where feudalism was eclipsed by the American struggle for independence, where from slavery there was an elevation, to a capitalist economy which paved the way to become an epitome of Justice, Liberty and Fraternity.
But, of late, the essence of feudal vices being emanated from their very core of social life is a grave concern for all who love freedom and liberty. I am worried that it may lose their pristine essence of the land of liberty, for which many aspire to embark upon.
Chart your own professional future. Because where you work can make all the difference in the world in your job satisfaction. Why not? Now is the right time. Unemployment is low and there is a labor shortage, so you have choices in jobs!
This means that you should act with purpose in choosing where you work. Figure out what is important to you and then, while interviewing, ask questions that help you learn about the company and if it is a place where your needs and values will be met. If diversity is a critical value for you, it should be as well for the organization at which you work. How can you determine how important diversity is to an organization just from an interview? You will want a sense of this before deciding whether or not to accept an offer of employment. You can acquire this information during an interview by asking questions like the following, observing, and listening.
What we are facing in the United States, and really throughout the world, is a crisis in consciousness, a clash of value systems. Values are that which one believes. Values are the impetus for thoughts, attitudes, and actions and yet we seldom have conversations about the underlying reasons for the actions and cultures. It was over 20 years ago that Paul H. Ray created a platform to gather information as to the values held by the citizens within the U.S. This research study, which has been repeated several times, hold some key information to conversations around the problems being seen.
When Jessica’s father bought her a one-way ticket to the States from Guatemala when she was 25, that was his way of saying, “I believe in you, hija, and I expect you to truly ‘be ‘somebody’.’” Now go do it.
The #MeToo and #TimesUp movements have been inspiring. However, outside of legal confrontations and public humiliations, little is being done to ensure this behavior will stop happening and that the glass ceiling obstacles that have been in place for the last 4 decades, are removed once and for all.
As a woman who struggled up the “ladder” while raising children, I have decided to be a catalyst for real change by serving professional women on a full-time basis as a professional business coach, trainer and speaker. As a result, I have reflected on the role of women in today’s world and have some observations and some “Mother’s Day Resolutions” to share and ask you to share these resolutions with others.
After Dudley Randall
“Oh, Mother, I’ll be fine today.
I’m just going to see my friend, Pat.
Don’t worry, I’ll be home by eight.
Please don’t forget to feed my cat.”
“Be careful, Son, a storm is coming—
clouds of black men are on the rise.
They have chains and clubs, and crying
anger from their blood-shot eyes.”