Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thank your mentor today!

Did you know that today is National Mentoring Month's Thank Your Mentor Day? It is! I've been so lucky as to have a few incredible mentors in my life to this point, who have literally changed my life. Friends, colleagues, role models ... these people have been integral to my success in college, work, grad school, and life. I learn something from these people who I call friends and mentors every day. I'm calling on them now for a friendly ear as I think long and hard about the next step I want to take post-grad school because they know me and listen to me and share what they've learned with me.

So, get out there and thank your mentor today! Or tomorrow ... I'm sure they'll still appreciate it if you miss that crucial midnight deadline.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

On the hunt

I've been an absent blogger. Again. But, the good news is that I graduated with my MBA from Brandeis! It was a great program, and I'll certainly spend more time sharing some of my favorite parts (and not so favorite!) things in the days to come. I haven't blogged on here in a little while, though, because I've been wholeheartedly engaged in the job search. And it's all I've been thinking about ... but, given the fact that this blog is easily googled and found, I haven't wanted to share those thoughts with the world just yet.

I'll be sure to write a bit about my job search process because I know I have benefitted greatly from talking to people and reading about others' approaches to this daunting task. But, I'll write about it later. When I have a job. And a plan. The short share of thoughts is that I have a few great potential options in the works right now, and I just need to do some soul searching to figure out where I see myself contributing the most, learning, finding meaning and having fun!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

"An Exercise In Changing Yourself"

I happened upon this blog posting, "An Exercise in Changing Yourself" by Marshall Goldsmith, an executive educator and writer for a Harvard Business Review management blog in my travels on Twitter one day last week. I've been thinking about it ever since because it seems like such a simple, but powerful way to pick out one solid goal to work on this year and to determine why you want to pick this goal out of so many that I'm sure we can all think of.

One of my favorite passages from the article is, "I have conducted this exercise with several thousand people. Many start with benefits that are "corporately correct," such as: "This change will help my company make more money," and finally end with benefits that are more human, such as: "This change will make me a better person." I will never forget one hard-driving executive who chose: 'When I get better at letting go' as the behavior he should work on. His first benefit was that his direct reports would take more responsibility. His final benefit was that he would probably live to celebrate his 60th birthday."

The exercise goes like this:
1. Pick something that you'd like to improve in your life that fits into the end of this sentence: "When I get better at [this] ..., then [resulting consequence of change] ..."
2. Do it again.
3. Do it again.
4. Do it again.
5. You get the picture ... do it until you really get to the root of why this change that you would like to make will have an impact.

Mine? Here it is: When I get better at not letting the word "should" influence my decisions, I'll follow the path that leads to meaningful work, life, and everything in between.

Next steps: The article doesn't get into the implementation of how to change the chosen behavior or into creating an action plan for change (it is only one little blog post after all), but that's what I went to graduate school for, now isn't it?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Winding down.

Very close to the end of my MBA program! Where did the time go? I've definitely learned a TON, met amazing people and am energized to go out and do good work.

Standing between me and an MBA right now:
One Human Resources class
One Human Resources Final
One reflection paper on my internship
One business plan for sustainable farming organization

And then ... I'm done!

The job search has been interesting to this point. More to come on life plans post-MBA.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Giving thanks

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, which will be upon us in a few short minutes now, I thought I'd offer up a few thoughts on things that I've been feeling particularly thankful for lately. This whole graduating in three weeks thing can cause one to become rather introspective. Pondering the potential for my future naturally causes me to reflect on my past and present.

So, here goes. The list is long, but simple ... if you don't want to read all the way to the bottom, it can be summed up like this: I'm thankful for bold & inspiring people who open my mind, generate ideas, opportunity, hope and love.

But, here's the long version, just in case:
  1. people, people, people. all of you. all of them. relationships are what makes my world go round, open my mind, ignite my passion. thanks for sharing your thoughts, ideas & ambitions!
  2. my educational opportunities
  3. small farmers who grow beautiful, healthy food for me to eat in spite of the barriers they often face to doing this noble work
  4. activists and organizers who teach me the power of citizen movements to create social change
  5. social entrepreneurs who dare to dream big in the name of changing the world
  6. friends and family who love & support me no matter what ridiculous ideas i've come up with lately
  7. Twitter
  8. a winter CSA share
  9. books
  10. 8 hours nights of sleep
  11. strong fair trade, organic, black coffee
  12. Obama's presidency
  13. Alan Khazei's senate candidacy
  14. Graduation!
  15. People who still read my blog, even though I haven't written in over a month. Thanks!
It's been a good year, I think, judging by this surely incomplete list of mine. What are you thankful for? Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Campaigning for CHANGE

I'm now volunteering with the Alan Khazei campaign for the Massachusetts senate seat. I see it as an opportunity to get someone into office who will be revolutionary, bringing new ideas and ways of thinking to the table. It's refreshing to support such an awesome candidate! Khazei is one of the most exciting political candidates I have come across in a long time - my excitement about Khazei is perhaps right on par with my excitement about Barack Obama's campaign. I have been a pretty disenfranchised voter for most of my eligible voting years, but first Obama, and now Khazei?! WOW. Keep them coming, and I'll be the most politically active citizen you can find.

So, for those who don't know, Alan Khazei was the co-founder of City Year, which is arguably one of the most successful national service and youth programs ever created. He's a game changer - he put national service on the map here in the US. I know that my time with AmeriCorps drastically influenced my desire to work for social change - and I'm just one of potentially millions of national service alumni that have been mobilized by the efforts that Khazei has been a part of. He's actually created a movement for social change already, without being in public office. Imagine what he can do if elected!

He's got loads of experience collaborating with government, community agencies and the private sector; he believes in citizen empowerment. Judging from his success with social movements like City Year and now, Be the Change, I think he's got the right idea about how to create the change that our country needs to succeed and prosper. US citizens have such potential power, and Khazei knows how to bring out the best in us.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Juxtaposed Mondays

My brain usually feels like it's going to explode on Mondays by the time I am finished with class at 9:30 pm. I feel SO drained - like I can't possibly utter another intelligent phrase. Totally tapped out. I do have two 3-hour classes on Mondays, but the sheer time spent in class isn't the factor causing my brain drain, as I see it.

You see, it's the completely opposite ways of thinking that my brain has to shift gears into during the one-hour break between said classes. I start out my afternoon with a class about social policy and social change. Taught by a professor who completely challenges the world view that I hold. Who challenges everything I think I have learned during the past 3 semesters. Who thinks that we, as a country and society, are headed for self-destruction if we keep up living the way we are living. I tend to agree with him. But, his extremeness is refreshing. He challenges me to think outside the confines of capitalism that pervades everything we do on a daily basis. That dictates the work available to people in our country, that dictates how resources are allocated and who has power and privilege. Can I even articulate how overwhelmed by the thought of all of the progress our society needs to make in order to survive after I leave this class? GOSH. Do we have some work to do!

From this class, I head to class about corporate governance. That's a good thing. But the feel of the class is completely different. Instead of challenging currently held beliefs, we talk about ways to live within the system that exists and how to make sure that people aren't getting duped by Corporate America. Man oh man.

From a socialism to capitalism, all within the span of an afternoon. This is why my brain feels like it has been sucked dry on Mondays. It's awesome and really challenging, all at the same time. I see it as being the beauty of being in grad school. I spend my days thinking about ways to make the world a better place. I get a taste of so many of the viewpoints that are out there. My beliefs are constantly challenged. What better preparation for a life of creating social change is there?