I marched into my boss’s office poised, calm, and dedicated to my decision. I couldn’t take it any longer. It’s 2018 and I was in a work environment that was barbaric and absolutely opposite of everything I knew work-life balance was about. It didn’t take me long to blurt out “I quit!” My boss replied with the typical: “why?”
It is 4:15 a.m. I have just spent ten minutes haggling with a taxi cab company over how they forgot to pick me up to go to the airport. It has been sorted out and I should still get there in plenty of time. I crack open the door to my son Alessio’s nursery to catch a glimpse of him. Somehow, through the darkness and the silhouette of stuffed monkey’s and bears, I see his little head through the slats on the crib. This will be my last glimpse of him before spending 4 days away at a seminar in Las Vegas.
I pull myself away then check my email on my tablet to make sure I have all my bases covered at work. I will have lots of things waiting for me when I return from the seminar: organizing a leadership conference, writing more of my dissertation, working on an article for a magazine, and conducting a 90 minute public speaking seminar just days after I return.
My plate is definitely full.
The cab pulls into the driveway. I carry my own bags into the cab. The cabby tells me it is his first night on the job and that he has never been to the airport before.
I sigh deeply. This is my life. Continue reading “Walking My Talk! How Fatherhood Impacted My Own Work-Life Journey”
“Daddy, I want to join a wrestling class!”
One of the joys of being a parent is watching your child develop interests and habits. When my son Alessio told me that he wanted to wrestle I was overjoyed. I wasn’t even aware he liked wrestling until that moment. After establishing that wrestling was not going to be filled with body slams, DDTs, and chair shots like on TV we agreed to continue with the process and research schools in the area.
We ended up visiting two schools to gauge fit. It was in trying out schools that I was reminded of three simple principles that every organization should be incorporating if they seek to be an inclusive and high-performance work environment. These observations came to me simply by noticing the stark difference between the Green (school we didn’t chose) and Blue (School we did choose) wrestling schools. Continue reading “3 Team-building Lessons I Learned Through Wrestling School”
Managers have to be Sporks as they are called to do more with less and constantly seek out new ways of achieving results. Spork management requires you to take two seemingly different things, find their commonality and blend them together. A spoon is used to hold liquids, a fork to spear solids and yet they are both eating utensils so combining them makes sense. A fork and chainsaw (Chork? Fainsaw?) probably wouldn’t work as well.
Have you ever felt like your professional and personal life overlapped in a way that bothered you? Do your job duties interfere with your ability to have a balanced life (however you define it)? Almost all of us know how we want work and life to interact, but creating the ideal blend in reality can be difficult and frustration. To aid you in this process, here are four quick tips to help you better define your work-life boundaries.
All I heard was deafening silence. For a moment my podcast cut out. I felt an impact on my left side. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the front of another car tear my front end off. My eyes followed as I watched my bumper bounce through the intersection.
The podcast broke the silence.
I looked down at the deployed airbag that apparently hit me. I got out of my beloved Honda Civic for what would be the last time.
Being in a car accident is never any fun. I spent the initial 24 hours worrying about my deductible, how much I would get for the car (I knew it was a total loss), and what a replacement vehicle would end up costing me.
Eventually, my mind focused away from the business and (most importantly) into the life part of the accident. Here are six simple work-life questions I was reminded of as a result of being in a car accident.
- What are you grateful for (and do you practice it)? At the end of the day I was just grateful. I try and practice gratitude daily but after an accident I really focused on it. I was grateful for my health, grateful I got to see my family that night, I was even grateful that the accident occurred near my house (vs the middle of a strange road or highway). The next morning, I woke up as the sun rose over the pond in my yard and I just felt grateful for that moment of beautiful peace. Although the experience was stressful, gratitude helped center me and even forced a smile out of my occasionally grumpy face.
- Is your workplace supportive? Whether it be a car accident, illness, or other household emergency, having a supportive and flexible work environment has a value that goes beyond dollars and cents. Having enough sick/personal days to bridge any time off is helpful as is a system that allows you to work from home, shift hours, and generally make any reasonable accommodations needed. Above all else, the response you want to hear is “Take care of yourself and we will find a way to work it all out.”
Hooray! It’s August/September and the students are coming back to campus and that means for those of us in student affairs, we are as the French would say, “le busy.”
Most of us expect this time of year to be filled with orientations, welcome, and all sorts of amazing programs. We expect ourselves to be busy this time of year (which is good) but in that hustle and bustle we have to make sure we don’t continue or repeat negative work-life habits.
To help ensure you are at optimum work-life, here are 3 simple tips for you to consider as you begin the academic year.
I was recently at a conference when I overheard someone say “There is no work-life balance in this profession. People need to accept it.”
I took a few deep breaths as statements like this to me are complete bunk and do nothing more than reinforce a work-life culture that is negative and toxic. As I chewed on this sentiment later that night, I thought that instead of just complaining about individuals who spout this rhetoric, that I would offer one simple action step you can take to improve your work-life balance. Here it is.
The other night I sat down and watched Hasan Minhaj’s stand-up special Homecomingon Netflix. The special had come highly recommended from my colleagues and I was definitely in the mood for a laugh that day. What I ended up watching was as much as a lesson in leadership as it was a comedy routine.
After reflecting, here are 4 Leadership lessons I learned by watching Hasan Minhaj.
1) Storytelling has power. Hasan’s entire act took us on a journey of identity,
Assigning tasks can be one of the more difficult issues leaders face. The choices you make as a leader will determine the quality of the task’s outcome and will have an impact on the amount of stress (positive and negative) an employee/teammate faces. When it comes to the issue of task assignment I want us to think about it in terms of the 3D hierarchy. At some point we utilize all 3 of these D’s. That being said, the D’s are not equal. As we go up the pyramid we become more focused and thoughtful in our task assignments which in turns lead to better results.
Dump: This is the least desirable and least effective of task assignment strategies. Dumping duties on people requires little to no thought. Dumping asks the