So Long Summer

It is officially the end of the summer for me today.  Students are going to start to trickle back in over the next few weeks, but training for our student staff begins tomorrow.

So long summer that lasted two weeks.  You were a good one, just wish you could have offered some better weather.

Summers End

High School & College Reunions: Not as Painful as they once were?

Facebook

“So what have you been up to for the past ten years?”

I love going to reunions.  My family has one every year.  I even go to my college reunion on off years (i.e. not on the 5’s or 10’s).  In fact, we just had my high school reunion this past weekend.  It is just a lot of fun to see people whom you aren’t really that close to and get an update on how they are doing.

But I hate the “What have you been up to?” question.  I realize the need to find some sort of common ground, but many people don’t really know when to stop talking.  I don’t mean this in a bad way, as if I can’t handle when people keep talking; however, it is kind of rude to stop a story in the middle just because I want to move on.  There are a select few that I really want to know how life is and what is going on.  I just want a quick summary for most people.  If I am interested, I’ll ask follow up questions.

There was a great shirt idea floating around that my best friend and I talked about beforehand.  It would be a plain shirt with 4 lines.  On one line would be your name.  Another line would be where you live.  A third line would be your job.  And a fourth line would be “Other”.  That last line could be used for “I have a 2 year old child” or I ride motorcycles for fun”.  This would be just something to eliminate the awkward “getting to know you” stage.

New Media

But this is the beauty of Facebook.

Because many of the people at reunions may be your friend on facebook, you might have checked out their page and had a general idea of what they were up to.  It eliminates some of the awkward, “where are you now?” conversations and people are familiar with what others are up to far faster than they would have been 10 or 15 years ago.

One of the people who I talked to this weekend said that she didn’t look at her yearbook before the reunion.  I’ll be honest, I glanced at it, but I didn’t go on a full out study session with it.  I didn’t need to.  75% of the people who showed up are people who I would have known or just had to get a quick refresher on who they were on Facebook.  The downward trend of yearbooks are a whole other topic all together, but hopefully you can see why.  Facebook provides a yearbook type setting, where your page can be constantly updated.  Your peers can see what you are up to NOW, and you can more easily have a jumping off point in conversations.

So instead of those clunky catch up conversations, you can jump right in.  The reunions I have been to have been a blast, and new media has played a part in making it so.

Managing by Context

There was a great slideshow about how Netflix deals with the management of their company.  Lots of good stuff including a question that should be asked of a supervisor every so often in order to get a sense of where you stand and what you need to do; “If I told you I were leaving, how hard would you work to change my mind to stay?”

One slide really struck a chord with me:

Managers: When you are tempted to “control” your people, ask yourself what context you could set instead

Are you articulate and inspiring enough about goals and strategies?

I tend to try to be an efficient person.  Being efficient doesn’t always lend itself to laying out good context for the people that I supervise.  I make the mistake of assuming that they understand what we are doing and why we are doing it and then blame them for not getting the job done.

I tend to be someone who wants those I supervise to take an idea and run with it, but this is one area in which I could use some work as I tend to want to know everything that happens.  This is one skill that I would like to hone.  It may not even be how I manage that needs to change, just the context that I put directions:

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the people to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders.  Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” ~Antoine De Saint-Exupery, Author of The Little Prince

The Blog: Why?

090802-RSSI’ve been out of High School for ten years now.  My reunion is next weekend, actually.  So that means that this fall is the 10 year anniversary of starting my first blog.  In fact, I don’t even know if they called them “Blogs” back then.

I did everything by hand, including creating and maintaining the site.  Visually, it was nothing to shout about, but it got the job done.  It certainly wasn’t as clean and nice looking as this format.

Now that technology has improved, everyone seems to be connected to the internet.  Cell phones have the ability to bring up the internet wherever you are.  A friend of mine is currently camping for the weekend.  One would think that camping would mean being shut off from the world.  Nope.  She has an iPhone and has posted some pictures to Facebook.  It’s a much different world that we live in then that of 10 years ago (Speaking of… this page is actually viewable on mobile devices).

So why start up again?

  • To share my ideas and thoughts with the world on my own little electronic platform (no matter how small it may be).
  • To connect to other people and have them connect with me.
  • To have a better command of what pops up when someone does a search for me.

I want my brain to do more active thinking rather than passive thinking.  I have long thought that spending time on the internet was a better use of time than watching television.  But only recently has it really occurred to me about how much time I lose to random information gathering.  If I don’t use the information that I am getting, then, what’s the point?