The title would better read “the way forward starts with you”. We often find ourselves bewitched with words. As Sigmund Freud once stated in a lecture in psychoanalysis in 1915 “Words were originally magic and to this day words have retained much of their ancient magical power”.
With just a simple twist of words, we can motivate or provoke a person or group of people into action. If you add a list of positives words into your speech, over a short amount of time you will begin to see the subtle hints of change in the attitudes and behavior of others around you. When people no longer think you are out to get them, they will feel more at ease with you when discussing matters. As an example, you might consider changing references to individuals or groups by applying a few of the following:
Allow others to have an opinion Discredit the opinions of others
Using words to gain cooperation from others is the opposite of expecting opposition. Even though some people may have repressed feelings or thoughts due to prior experiences – you can begin to implement change by breaking through with positive reinforcement statements. Those reinforcement statements need to be sincere in their delivery.
Just saying nice things isn’t the same as the meaning and context behind those words. Were the words earned, were they just, did they pivot one group over the other? There is a lot to think about. Immediate solutions start with acknowledging the positive. What went right.
Immediate solutions start with acknowledging the positive. What went right.
The way forward depends on your ability to get started. It also depends on your ability to want positive change. You need to seek out solutions and focus a lot less on the problems. Chances are everyone knows the problem – but does everyone know what went right?
Learn to focus on the positives that you know work. Make sure you document thoroughly what went right. Don’t lose your best resources while searching for problems that may never be resolved, or even existed. Sometimes you have to build cooperation by helping others learn to change. Change doesn’t have to be hard if you explain what went right.
Leadership, Social Media, Community Outreach, Research and Training
Leadership, social media, community outreach, research, and training, they all mean very different things to different people. What I have learned is that you need to be able to show your work. In a job interview, that can become a very interesting prospect to have thrown at you – unaware. It’s those little questions….
Show your work
Show me leadership.
Tell me how you perform community outreach.
How many hours a day do you work in social media?
How many social media applications can you link?
What is content marketing for social media?
While doing research did you actively engage in experimentation that provided you with factual data that could be useful to your organization or business?
Training usually has some long-term benefit, plus you provide your learners with material or backup data, where do you store your assessment data?
Have we reached the end of sensibility? The honest answer is – maybe. We can’t all be social media managers. Nor can we thrive in a constant research environment without some form of monetary benefit keeping us afloat. Researching a paper is not the same as research that has value leading toward the benefit of society, or changing guiding principles for an overall operation.
Back to my initial statement, leadership, social media, community outreach, research, and training, they all mean very different things to different people.Words DO matter. Depending on the words you use, they may ultimately define your role in the working environment. They may also generate feelings, good or bad. I have learned the meaning of stress, and words that I associate with that stress are called project management and strategic planning. I’m not saying they are bad positions, but anyone who has ever been in a position where a large chunk of your daily role was finding yourself buried under a deadline – you’ll understand. They can be fun roles also; if you like the fast and furious pace that they often take. Yea…I live for that crap!
Yea…I live for that crap!
Leadership verbiage is probably way over-used by many. Leadership has to deal with taking a lead role in a project or endeavor. Leadership is not teaching someone how to turn on a computer or find information, that’s training or guidance. It’s not leading a meeting where all you do is discuss the same thing over and over again – that’s training. Leadership is more about directing others and assuming a role of authority and taking responsibility for that position. When you do community outreach, that generally entails that you have many contacts and work through those contacts to form some sort of alliance that has a similar goal. It is a bringing together of large circles of people, businesses, and community leaders for the common good.
When you do community outreach, that generally entails that you have many contacts and work through those contacts to form some sort of alliance that has a similar goal. It is bringing together large circles of people, businesses, and community leaders for the common good
Some people may have a completely different ideology about what constitutes some of the above skill sets. I have an aversion to those who claim certain skill sets that are not unique to them. On-the-other-hand, I enjoy those professionals who put Microsoft Word or Excel on your list of skills. Basically, unless I know you personally, the only thing I can pretty much assume is that you can type. I can probably glean a fair amount of information from your writings, but there has to be more. Details tend to matter.
Here are some fun little tools to test your skills. It’s all hypothetical, it won’t determine your life work. You might be a master in your craft, and end up with a weak score. It’s a reality check, but a fun one. What are you really good at? Are you too good? Can you laugh at yourself and with others when you look at your own scores?
When you go into an interview it is always handy to have first done a little research about the job you are applying for. True there are some professional interviewers who can buffalo their way through just about any interview scenario – but those individuals are rare. Generally, they do tend to be older and probably come over-qualified, and they know it. I hope you are not one of the ones who will discriminate against them due to age or fear they are after your job. You might be turning away your companies next Einstein. Okay, maybe not. But let’s just say your training curve will be lower if you hire them, and we know how training affects your bottom line, not to mention your stress levels.
Have fun learning what you are good at. Take a good hard look at your resume. If you have done the skills, and actually understand the meaning of the skill, leave it on there. If you have tinkered with a skill, be very cautious about misrepresenting who you are and what you do.
I’m to the point where I would like to see more companies go back to a just detailed application and lose the cover letter. I’ve seen too many cover letters that don’t necessarily represent the true individual or give me enough information that would be beneficial to my company. Another issue that clogs the process involves the use of resumes. Who really reads the resume all the way through? The federal government has a computer that reads resumes for them. You have to take a class just to know how to design a federal resume. It’s comprehensive and labor intensive.
When we did our interviews with our staff, one of us was selected to develop questions based on potential candidate resumes. A lot of companies do not do that. They read a few lines and put it back into the stack with the other resumes. I read all of ours. I was better able to gauge the sincerity of many of the candidates that we interviewed. Read those resumes, and use them to develop your questions.
I’m not a fan of traditional interviews either. I dislike the questions that immediately tell me a lot about the person holding the interview. Some really do not put a lot of thought into the interview process, and probably are just as unsure as the candidate, about what is needed. I am also not a big fan of the behavioral questionnaires either. The one question that should be banned from all interviews is, “where do you want to be in five years?” ALIVE!
Where do you want to be in five years? ALIVE!
I understand the need to ask those questions that are burning in your bosom, but geez whiz, lighten up on those older folks – okay? You gotta have a sense of lightness in an interview. If I like you and your environment – I’m going to make sure you know before I leave your office – I will be paying you a compliment. Ask people “how do you feel about this working environment”? People don’t think about the environment they are stepping into very often. That is the first thing I would look into – because you are going to be spending a lot of time there!
For the younger generation who hasn’t yet learned to respond or develop their own questions, there is a lot of feeling or emotion that determines their selections. It’s humorous to hear them talk about “I like that one”, or “I think he would be a perfect match”. Even if their skills are below the standard, they will select that person, based on emotion. Skills be damned. It is kind of a slap in the face to higher education and those with experience who are up against a younger touchy-feely kind of interviewer. Okay, to be honest, some of the older and more seasoned interviewers get emotional as well – but not as much. Still doesn’t make it right. You do want the right fit, but what are you really gaining? Tough questions that we often have to ask ourselves after the storm has settled and new staff are learning their places.
Age matters as well in some organizations. Seventy-Five percent of the staff that I hired were all older than I was. I wasn’t biased at all – the younger individual’s I interviewed did not have the qualifications for the job. I had people who were in their 60’s and even a couple in their 80’s that worked for me. I didn’t feel threatened at all. The age myth is just that – a myth. The real threat is hiring people who are NOT qualified regardless of the age.
Take your tests, rewrite your resumes, and re-evaluate your skills that you list. Your endorsements might be all smoke and mirrors if you can’t back them up in an interview. You will come away looking really bad.
I am a professional who looks for those out of the ordinary individuals who just want to work. They don’t have anything to prove, their education and experience shine through. Now that makes me all emotional in a touchy-feely kind of way; because I’ve just hired the best!
There is an old saying, that Charity Begins At Home. This proverb was originally documented in English, in somewhat different format, in John Wycliffe’s Of Prelates (c. 1380); “Charity should begin at himself.” It was later quoted as “Charity begins at home” by Terence.
Charity begins at home ~ Terence
There are many ways to give right inside your own company, organization, religious or educational institution, and your own home. Yet, I understand that there are also situations in other countries that do require much-needed aid.
From time to time charity will not involve money. Sometimes it is the opening of oneself and the giving of respect, honor, and occasionally a fond farewell. Best described with examples:
When the Last Horn Blows
Looking out the window of the guard shack, an older gentleman, whom we will call RC, sits and awaits the next train leaving the site, “The Train of Pain”. Twice a week the 8800-horsepower diesel-electric engine moves along a 30 mile stretch of track, taking its payload to a dump site. Back and forth, trudging along, giving it’s all, it will continue until its last load is complete.
Surrounded by nothing more than the still night desert air and an occasional coyote, the desert calm is broken with the distance hum of an engine on the track. In that moment, RC feels a deep appreciation for the work he’s done. Be that watching the site, doing the rounds, radioing the conditions, and checking the U.P.R. train crew in and out each night at the end of the shift, somewhere before midnight.
Every week, for many years, RC watched as the train came to the switch on the track, and listened as the mighty engines horn-blast filled the air, then slowly it would disappear into the night.
The Midnight Shift
The end of RC’s guard had come, tonight would be his last. RC was preparing for the next journey in his life – retirement. Unknown to RC, right before he was to depart to his solitary guard shack, a radio announcement came over the airwaves. It was the project manager and he radioed for RC to step outside, and then relayed to all around to blow their horns one last time in RC’s honor.
RC stood on the steps outside and he listened as the horn blast from semi’s, trucks, and train, could be heard all over the project. In this moment of honor – a smile crossed his face, and a solitary tear escaped, and slide down the side of his face.
Later that evening while finishing his final midnight shift, he reminiscences. He will forever recall that first train blast from an old 1996 GE C44AC pusher engine as it slowly meandered down the track. He then thoughtfully stared at a framed image of that same train, a gift which was presented to him, from everyone on the project that day. He had a purpose!
Charity is a thankful heart
Charity does begin at home, and from time to time it doesn’t involve money. Charity in its most basic form is that substance that all humans need; respect, honor, integrity, a purpose, a horn blast. If you begin there, giving money is easy after that. Learning how to give of ‘himself’, is the first lesson.
Charity begins at home, but should not end there. ~ Thomas Fuller
The Interview “Looks like a nice person, has a Twitter page”
For many who have been working professionals for most of their lives, it is often anticipated with some anxiety that those interviewing them ‘may not know how to interview them’. When you go into an interview and in two quick responses you have pretty much summed up the entire list of questions the interviewer had prepared, you quickly are able to gauge the aptitude of that business or organization. While those giving the interview have thought well and hard on their lists – you still manage to blow that list out of the water. What’s left for the interviewer? They can continue to read from their list, and unfortunately a lot do; because they really do not know anything about interviewing or better yet, the art of communication.
Interviewing from a list can be caustic. Asking someone what their strengths and weaknesses are isn’t as important as sitting down face-to-face with them at a restaurant and getting to know how they interact with you and others. Sure you need to ask basic questions, but you want to engage your potential candidate to communicate a larger picture of who and what they are. Then you will be able to estimate how they might potentially fit into your organizational culture.
A good interviewer should understand that a list of questions is only a guide. It’s not a good way to engage potential candidates into giving up information about themselves. The younger and more inexperienced the interviewer the more likely they will not have the proper skills needed to ask the right questions at the appropriate time. It’s not that they can’t – they simply do not have those skills developed yet. Not everyone is a good interviewer.
How many of you like doing interviews?
So what do you do when the candidate has just blown your list of questions out of the water in just a few short statements? It’s not the candidates fault. They came prepared. The outcome rests solely on your shoulders.
It’s not the candidates fault. They came prepared
Some might perceive the experience of a professional interviewer as intimidating, often fearing for their own jobs by thinking “dang this person is good”. So they quickly write off the candidate by sending out a rejection letter that states something like “we found a more highly qualified candidate”, or “we don’t have need for your skills at this time”. Think about that statement “more highly qualified”, or “no need for your skills”. Over-qualified is probably more like it. Nervous interviewers are writing those letters of rejection as they are interviewing you – that is how unsure of themselves they really are.
Some just want to filter out those individuals who they perceive as flight risks, who will leave the job for a better one after investing time and energy into training.
Your trustworthiness as a professional representing your organization has just been deflated when you do things like that. Leave the candidate with their integrity by changing your vocabulary to reflect something more generic and less personally intrusive. Maybe use things like “Unfortunately you weren’t selected at this time but your application will remain on file”. If the candidate then decides to call and ask why they weren’t selected, I suggest you have a higher level explanation.
Has a Twitter page, seems like a nice person, that’s probably not a good explanation why they selected another candidate over you. If you are a state jobs agency and a candidate asks for clarification are you going to avoid the question if it comes up? It happens. Don’t let your title get away from you. It might be you who has to go before the interviewing squad next.
……Has a Twitter page seems like a nice person
Human Resource people hate to hear this, but it’s true – interviewing is all about discrimination. You are judging people and their skill abilities. You are deciding their fate with your influences within your organization. Honestly, you might just like how someone behaves and interacts with you, who cares about skills. It happens every day, people getting hired for the quirkiest reasons.
Have your list of questions, but read the persons education and work history too. Adjust your questions accordingly
A candidate shouldn’t have to hide the number of years of experience and/or their education from you just so you will feel comfortable. You should be thankful they want to interview for your company.
Know your own organizational needs, and at least be fair in your assessments
Learn how to communicate and bring in new questions when you get a solid candidate in front of you. You really want to impress them. They are the ones who are actually looking you over to see if your organization is as strong as it comes off
Are you willing to allow good talent to go work for your competitor?
Your title is not as important as the candidate you are interviewing; it’s about theirskills
The potential candidate prepared for the interview – did you?
Be willing to adjust your sails. All interviews are different. You will interview some people who have years of knowledge ahead of you. But they are there because they want to be. Revel in that! That’s a good thing. You want good people to want to work for you
Be honest when making your selection and leave each candidate their integrity
Write letters that “do no harm”. Your vocabulary matters
A person with a masters degree interviewing for a job that doesn’t need a degree is still a person.
Three Things that matter: Integrity, integrity, and integrity.
In the real world I’m not sure LinkedIn skills and endorsements really matter unless you have the actual degree and/or years of experience behind you. Just copying some cool and trendy vocabulary that you think “might” match your talents, can be costly to you in the end. Really think about those skills – could you get a job in the field that you are listing? Or is what you have listed all smoke and mirrors?
Is what you have listed all smoke and mirrors?
Like everyone else I have learned that friends are great about endorsing you for things like Microsoft Excel and Customer Service. The reason is because they can’t really identify with every skill you might have listed.
Where have they seen you do certain skills?
Do you write about your skills?
Have you posted about your skills?
It is frustrating when your top skills don’t even have one endorsement. If you don’t talk about them, how will anyone know about them?
What are your real skills?
Have you taken a personal inventory on what it is that you do well?
The reality check is that someone 300 miles away has no idea what you have really done.
So how do we make our Skills and Endorsement section more believable? The experts tell us that the summary section is one way. If you have a job listed in the Skills and Endorsement section talk about it in the summary section also. Over and over again, talk about that skill. How do you use that skill?
“It is frustrating when your top skills don’t even have an endorsement”
Another way to tell others about your skills is to post actual articles that you have written that speak about the skill you are trying to sell to the rest of the world. You should be able to write about what it is you do. Just listing a bunch of skills and not quantifying how you got those skills is not helpful to potential employers. You might be called on the carpet to discuss those skills someday with your current employer as well.
It is interesting what others will pick up on from your list of skills. I looked over my own list of skills and I now have endorsements for skills that I didn’t add. People who know me added them for me. I appreciate the endorsements, and I’m thankful for them, but truthfully I would have never thought to have added them on my own.
The real issue is to get others who don’t know us to believe in the skills we have listed. I understand that it is great to see a uniform and tidy list, but is it really who we are? Probably not. I decided to rearrange my list to better reflect my skills.
You might be called on the carpet to discuss those skills someday with your current employer.
After doing a self-inventory, I feel much more confident in my skills list. Yes there are holes as far as endorsements are concerned, but my list is more believable.
When I look at my modified list It’s no longer all tidy and neat anymore, but neither is real life. Skills are not a popularity contest. It’s who you are and what you do.
Can you take those skills with you to a job interview?
You either have the skills or you don’t.
I will be honest, It was hard for me to move my skills around, because I like uniformity, and maybe ego was also holding me back.
“Reality” is what gets you the job.
….all the rest, I’ve done those skills, probably a whole lot more – some better than others. The main thing I have learned in listing some of my skills, is that I need to know my own limitations. I need to hold onto those passions that made me choose the profession I did. I don’t regret my decisions. I’m not limited by what is posted here either, and you shouldn’t be either. Just make sure your list reflects those skills that are valuable to you.
“Amazon vs. Netflix. Which would you choose for #streaming?”
The Big Bang Theory! Amazon was the place to go to get all the back seasons. However, not being a Prime member, Amazon is starting to restrict sales of some items to its members. Will shows like the Big Bang Theory be one of them?
Creating another level within Amazon, will not increase their sales. The Prime-exclusive membership is just a copy cat of what Netflix has been doing all along. Except Netflix doesn’t have all the hidden costs.
The restricting of the non-Amazon produced items is troubling. Since other online outlets have the non-Amazon items, why would Amazon want to resist them? It makes me think of the quote “if it isn’t broke – don’t fit it”.
Being able to watch as many movies as I want, and the ability to share with up to three people – Netflix got my attention. With busy lives, and kids going here and there – it has saved me more than once. The truth however is, that Netflix doesn’t have the latest and greatest hits rolling out as fast as some of their competitors (neither does Amazon), but Netflix is at least consistent, and there are no restrictions. Netflix still has their DVD options to buy, but it is easier to go to Google Play, or a host of other locations if you want to augment your viewing on demand preferences.
As someone who uses their mobile data for everything, streaming is important to me. It doesn’t matter if it is checking my mail, watching the news, downloading/streaming movies, or making a purchase -I want my online experience to be seamless. The whole opt in/opt out, or become a member / super-prime-mega-star member scenario is just bad mojo to me. I don’t want to deal with a business marketing strategy that is built on a copy cat system made up by your competitor, except yours includes hidden fees you added as some kind of bonus.
Sign up here NOW for a full year! Other fees and charges may apply!
Amazon might be cutting off its own foot despite itself. Amazon doesn’t control non-Amazon products. That is a serious turnoff to a buyer like myself. The non-Amazon producers should also consider this when they allow someone to lock-up their product. Or at least have the good sense to list in a variety of other online locations.
The Amazon list of movies isn’t any different than Netflix. They are basically the same, except for their own in-house developed programming.
You have to pay for a full year up front with Amazon.
Amazon also makes you pay extra for prime shows. Why, when you can view them elsewhere without a prime membership?
Amazon’s recent and popular TV episodes run you an additional $1.99 to $2.99 per episode.
With the upfront yearly fee, and the addition prime charges, that doesn’t equate to a bargain Amazon.
Both services allow for watching as many movies as you want , on any number of devices. Just about the only good thing about Amazon is you can download a movie for later viewing offline, and you get a two-day free shipping on some items. Which neither are relevant to me.
One Stop Shopping
I like one-stop shopping as well as the next person, but I would say buyer beware if Amazon thinks they can control all the markets by shutting out potential buyers.
There are a host of other online streaming services, like Hulu, and iTunes and HBO, but they all have some quirky setups and costs that haven’t proved to be of much value to me.
Getting back to Netflix, I do have some issues with their service. Netflix could use an upgrade to more current movies and shows. To be honest I’m not much into the shows they have developed on their own. Same with Amazon, the shows aren’t all that good.
Netflix probably has my vote as far as streaming entertainment. You can watch as many movies as you like and you can do that on a host of different devices in your home.
Netflix’s new releases for TV are a bit outdated (about a year). But you can view them without having to have a Prime membership.
There is no yearly membership. It’s monthly and you can easily drop or add service as your budget allows.
I don’t want to pay an upfront yearly fee to join a service like Amazon (who also has hidden prime costs). I will continue to utilize Netflix who has the same shows, but allows me to cancel and re-subscribe anytime I like, and has NO hidden prime costs.
Television – what’s that?
For those who don’t watch a lot of television, or do not subscribe to a paid television service, Netflix does a better job of speaking to these online buyers. More people are going the route of not subscribing to a paid television service – if for no other reason than to escape the crappy ads. If people aren’t watching television, they aren’t going to appreciate the hard sales coming from Amazon, Netflix, or anyone else for that matter.
The turnoff from high pressured sales and ads are just too much for this group of viewers. They don’t get into to politically run media talking point programs, nor the constant deluge of negative ads about the sick and dying. That is one reason why many are dropping out of paying for television services – “it is depressing”.
While my vote does go to Netflix for offering a steady and solid product, nothing will ever replace a night out at the movies. Yes, it costs more to go out and see a show, and the popcorn isn’t cheap either – but the benefits are a plus.
Creative people have a deep respect for the very essence of everything around them. It is as if they have a thirst for all things new and exciting. Who wouldn’t want to be around a creative and inspirational person? They are uplifting, kind, and filled with a wonder for life. They can light up a room by just walking in with a smile on their face. They are usually highly intelligent in their own right and don’t flaunt it unless challenged in a negative way.
They will bring you strawberries in winter, and sprinkle glitter on your papers just to make you smile. They draw you out of your head and make you think about things in a different way. A way that has light to it. A way that seems easy to follow. Go there!
Creative people aren’t obsessed with who they are, or what they may or may not have done in the past. They are comfortable in the moment. They engage others in a willingness to be open and fair; listening and absorbing every spoonful of what you have to say. They are excellent listeners! They are interested in you, and they want to explore a friendly relationship.
They are comfortable in the moment
They can have an open dialogue with you and not come across as pompous and unfair, nor self-conceited. They live life in the moment!
1.They are really interested in you!
2. They seek to know you as a person in the moment! Your past is irrelevant.
3. They aren’t interested in long stories about themselves. They live in the moment and can talk about subject ranging from rocket science to hopscotch, arts to football. As long as it is in the moment they are with you.
4. They won’t lecture you, nor drill you with facts, or try to control you with words, actions or deeds. They keep their emotions in check and keep that part of their life private where it needs to be. They are greeters, not whiners.
It may be a little over -whelming to meet and greet with these types of creative and inspirational people at first. Especially if you aren’t used to that upbeat type of personality. They are rare and well sought after – for a good reason. They are so refreshing – you will be looking for ways to incorporate them into your lifeimmediately. But how?
How do you keep the attention of a highly creative and inspirational person or group of people?
1. Listen to them, not the thoughts in your head.
2. Do not lecture them. The worst thing you can do to a creative and inspirational person is to lose their respect. Lecturing on your “know it all” issues is a deal killer.
Because they are so loved and respected by so many, I would hesitate before I spoke badly in certain circles about them. Many carry clout you are unaware of. They are the darlings of society. It’s not about money or education, it’s about truthfulness, kindness, and a mutual respect for others. These people thrive on fairness. Many are community volunteers. They genuinely love people and want to help everywhere they can.
They genuinely love people and want to help everywhere they can.
If you have an inferiority complex, creative and inspirational people are not who you want to take your complex out upon. Save those talented folks from your momentary lapse of good judgement, and instead learn to mimic what they do. Pretty soon you may find out you have something in common with these inspiring people. Once you learn to keep your own feelings in check (and your mouth shut), you will find you have plenty of positive things to talk about. These folks really do have their stuff together. Learn from them.
-Be creative and learn to listen and hear more than the thoughts in your head.
-Be inspirational and allow others to know you on a different scale, a scale filled with meaningful thoughts and actions.
-Be prepared to hear positive solutions, and positive reinforcement on concrete ideas based on sound intellect, working knowledge and experience. The term precise comes to mind, or in-eight. It’s just natural for them. Don’t judge, rather follow their lead.
These people can be addictive to others who haven’t experienced first hand what it is like to explore life to the fullest. They can shape and mold an organization with just a smile and a friendly chat. They love to wrap people in a PEACE bubble and make them feel appreciated and excepted for who and what they are. People have value just living in the moment. Remember to keep negativity from creeping its ugly head into your new found PEACE bubble. Learn to hold your tongue and avoid your own mind talk. Crawl out of your own head and live in the moment. Be creative and inspirational!
Individuals in higher education today have to wear a variety of hats, from advisor, to career specialist, recruiter and counselor, to technological guru. Today’s millennial students want their education online, on-demand, and of course on their terms. However when confronted with basic general education courses, whether in the classroom or online, many students do not feel the need for those courses; they fear they will slow down their progress, and their expected graduation time.
Anyone who has ever advised students can tell you that just getting students to understand the concept of "what and why" you need general education courses - can be exhausting.
Millennial students are able to adapt to just about any technology you place in front of them, including a variety of gamification systems, social media, and many other forms of integrated technologies. The caveat that is perceived to be gained from all this technology is "instant gratification". General education courses delivered in any format – often baffles new students. Maybe it is just a maturity issue, or emotional maturity for that matter; whatever the case, student’s will balk at general education courses.
Competency-Based Education, which measures your learning, and not the time you invest, that’s becoming the "Big Idea" in higher education. Competency-based education is the disruptive innovation for higher education, and is proving somewhat effective in dealing with the issue of student lag in general educational studies. But to be honest, it is scaring the beegeezes out of some institutions of higher education. It is forcing them to act more like a business expecting a high rate of return, and forcing them to deal with competition which is often fierce - especially with online courses. It is becoming apparent that the academic pie is growing smaller.
How do we unscramble all this technology and competency based testing into a perfect size plate in which to serve students? Maybe it is not so much the size of the plate, but the speed in which students are being served. In the popular 1985 film Back to the Future starring Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly, and Christopher Lloyd as Dr. Emmett Brown, Brown is quoted as saying, “If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits eighty-eight miles per hour... you're gonna see some serious S#$@!” He was referring to the time machine the DeLorean, being pushed along the tracks by a train.
Making recommendations to students can be like trying to advise a locomotive coming at you at 88 miles an hour. You have to be quick to speak, think, and react in order to help guide students along their academic pathways or tracks.
If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits eighty-eight miles per hour... you're gonna see some serious S#$@!
From advisor, instructor, to designer, and back again.
With competency-based testing and self-lead learning, Instructional designers are more at liberty to develop academic models that will help influence and guide students to stay focused and engaged. Higher education really is becoming a designer’s forte, where they build the content, provide the necessary evaluations, and redesign as needs and preferences change. This is also partly due to the fact that many designers are cross training in the role of instructional technology and the learning sciences. The educator role has also evolved into that of guide and mentor. While they do work closely with designers, and/or are training to become designers themselves, they are closely at hand to assist the student in staying motivated and in guiding them in the learning discovery process.
Helping students to stay focused and engaged in their studies, in a collaborative fashion, and keeping them motivated is 50% of the educational journey. Designing and redesigning the program of study after evaluation is another 40%. Getting students to take that first step (sign up for classes) is the remaining 10%.
I cannot count the number of times I have had a new student show up for an advising appointment only to learn that the student has signed up for poetry, guitar lessons, and maybe two or three humanities classes. The more the merrier in their eyes! We also must not forget that student who is set on making it through college by taking racquetball classes, tennis, and jogging. While the students’ intentions were probably very well and good in their mind, those intentions do not particularly meet with those of the university or college. To quote Dr. Emmett Brown from Back to the Future again, “Marty, you can't go losing your judgment every time someone calls you a name. That's exactly what causes you to get into that accident in the future”.
Marty, you can't go losing your judgment every time someone calls you a name. That's exactly what causes you to get into that accident in the future.
It is the same concept as Dr. Brown is discussing, students have to learn to dial inthose future thinking thoughts, and get back to the reality of today. There is not going to be that instant gratification that they were hoping for, or anticipating. Academia requires work, and that requires the student to have a certain level of focus and self-determination. It is important that students be allowed to make mistakes, and that is all part of the competency based approach. It’s taking one concept at a time, building on those concrete skills that will help them better prepare for abstract learning in their core and upper level courses later on.
I am no Doc Brown, and I am certainly no Marty Mcfly either. What I am is an adviser/designer who has witnessed the basic educational struggles of her former students – DeLorean Style. I have witnessed a few train wrecks as well, but nothing that was not salvageable.
It looked rather harmless, and it was slow moving. But what we didn’t see was the monstrous wave it was ushering in. Technology blanketed the land like a giant snow storm that would never end. Technology has so transformed the business and educational environments, that a whole generation has grown up around it. It’s like the elephant in the room, you can’t ignore it.
Learning & Instructional Design in the Digital Age
The Class of the future in now.
Digging ourselves out of a digital storm on a daily basis has become the business norm. Shovel a little technology here, and pile a little over there. I listen as the newbies to the techno scene weigh in with their memorized quotes and rhetoric, yet they have never really dabbled on the dark side of technology, that place we can the “Back End”.
“Front End” users navigate a keyboard with words, numbers, dashes, and pics, not noticing the back end code running swiftly and silently out of their view. They don’t see the people working the magic to keep their systems running fast and network error free. Nor do they see the developers, instructional designers, and engineers as they design and redesign systems and platforms. But let one piece of code or a hiccup happen on the network, and those same front end uses become instant rocks – unable to roll.
But let one piece of code or a hiccup happen on the network, and those same front end uses become instant rocks – unable to roll.
SOLUTIONS TO SUCCESS
In front of me is a pile of rocks. You may be a small pebble, or you may be a huge stone. But together you and I are no more than a pile of rocks. That is our total sum. It is now time to get this pile of rocks rolling.
How to develop your online instructional course and get your students learning (stones rolling) is challenging for all us in education. What we do know is that it’s about helping guide students through the learning process. We as instructors become the guides (the back end developers) allowing the student to work through the problem to an end solution. Students don’t want to hear that they can’t use technology. For those that say “they don’t know how to use technology”, my answer to them is “Let’s show them how”!
For those that say “they don’t know how to use technology”, my answer to them is “Let’s show them how”!
We don’t necessarily have to know all the back end details and design of a system to be able to use the product. What we do need to know is our students will rely on us to show them how to use the system wisely, and with a purpose.
* Guide a student, and help them gain the skills they will need to be successful, and they will remember you.
*Direct a student, and control the outcome, and they will forget you.
The Technological Wave and The Stones. If technology is going to blanket the land, we need to make sure the designs that come from this never ending storm are beneficial to all the rocks in the pile.
Education is a philosophical journey, this was mine
My latest educational experience? HR of course. Even at my age, education never fully ends. There are Certificates and ContinuingEducation Credits, and Licensure.
A few years ago, a friend who I would say is “in the know” suggested I leave off my education on my resume. If you keep getting overlooked because of your employment qualifications and education, leave that information off. Huh? $40,000 in student loans and you want me to do what?
As much as I love my friend, I knew I wouldn’t be able to do that. I don’t know why I should have to do that. We are trying to educate women all over the world to stand up and be accountable. What better way to do that – than to list your qualification on a resume? Would you ask your daughter, wife, or granddaughter to leave her education off her resume? Would you hire your own family, male or female? I would if I knew they had the skills. Being accused of Nepotism doesn’t frighten me at all – since most of my kids wouldn’t want to work for me anyways. But I would consider them if they had the skills. So they better list their qualification on their resumes.
Unfortunately, it still appears that many do find educated woman threatening. The truth, however, is that they are only threatening until you hire them. Then you learn how much you need their education and/or their experience. It’s called making your life easier.
Education is a philosophical journey
There is a saying “You can’t always teach a “NEW” dog old tricks”. The younger crowd tends to view experience in a way that isn’t entirely clear even to them. Experienced individuals aren’t necessarily looking to take your job away from you. Actually, if they are applying at your company, and you are interviewing them – you should look at it as a compliment. After all, they came to you. But if you don’t feel safe in your own position you could feel some hesitation when it comes to hiring them. STOP IT!
Those thoughts that you are thinking are not necessarily in synch with reality. When you add your own personal bias into the interview, you end up running off talent. If possible, interview on days that you feel okay about your job, and give each candidate a fair chance. Let others in the organization have input into the hiring process. It is a team effort after all – or at least it should be.
I’ve interviewed all types of people of different ages, race, sex, and belief systems. Some had extensive education and skills. I admit I was intimidated by a couple of them. I am human too. However, I was glad I wasn’t making the final decision on my own, and that I had a team to help point out the positives. We hired them, and they were fabulous. Others I’ve interviewed were just getting started on their career paths. In our organization, we hired a combination of personalities with many different backgrounds. We did it as a team.
When we didn’t hire as a team, that was reflected poorly upon administration. Those people tend to be disliked to this day. People are creatures of habit – if you try to control the outcomes for them, you only lose their trust. STOP IT!
Truthfully the hiring process is a discriminatory process. I know HR managers cringe when they hear things like that. But it is true. You are only hopeful that you have selected correctly. You are hopeful you didn’t let the best candidate get away, and might have to go through the process again. You are hopeful it will all work out. I am hopeful it will work out for you too. Be hopeful!
THEY HAVE PEAKED
To say that someone peaks at a certain age is a myth. How can you know that? You can’t. Maybe once you have retired and you can reflect back on the many career paths you have taken over the years, you might find the peak wasn’t what you thought at all. Maybe you were in your 60’s or 70’s when it happened. The reality is there is no set age when a person peaks. It might have happened to you while you are in your 20s!
A lot of times it isn’t the money and prestige, but rather the self-satisfaction of a job well done; that is your true personal peak. It is when you know you did it right. It might even be a volunteer gig that brought you self-satisfaction, and caused your career to peak in reflection. Everyone has that moment in their career where they are most satisfied. Everything in life, as well as business, has ebbs and flows. You will have a combination of peaks and valleys along your professional career, we all do. Don’t judge.
OLD DOGS AND PUPS
If this old dog could teach a New dog, a few old tricks, it would be to go with your heart. Trust your instincts. Don’t let age, gender or qualifications get in your way. If a company is hiring new graduates they are taking on a risk, especially if you haven’t done some type of internship with them. Don’t disappoint them. Many elite companies hire people who have more education and experience than they do for a reason. It’s called being savvy. Steve Jobs said it best…
“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do: we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” ~Steve Jobs
You can be very smart and not have a college education. Education is something you have to apply to get a benefit out of. If you don’t apply it – it is just a piece of paper. Some like education for the philosophical journey. I fall into that category. I examined my own educational path years ago, and decided I didn’t want to get an MBA, I already had a BS in Business. I never wanted to go into business, I wanted to be a rock and roll singer, or a photojournalist, or just sit and tinker with computers.
I wanted to build programs for people to learn from, an MBA wasn’t going to get me there. I wanted to understand how people learn; so I went into instructional technology and learning sciences. I didn’t regret it. Besides, I already had 30 years of working in the business environment. I wanted to invest my time into something that I could enjoy. I wanted to be happy while learning. There is nothing wrong with an MBA, it just isn’t for everyone. Many businesses have been built without one. When I tell people I have a Masters in ITLS – they get this look on their face that says “what the hell is that?” I love to tell them, you have an MBA, go look it up – good-naturedly of course.
Be happy while learning
SUPER STAR EMPLOYEES
I recall having two gentlemen under me whose qualifications far outmatched my own. They were the best employees I have ever had; they were 20 to 30 years my senior. They were kind, generous, understanding, dedicated, loyal, and smart. They were just glad to be there, and I was glad to have them there. I am also glad they didn’t judge me for being young and educated. Come to find out, they were my biggest fans. Now I am theirs!
LIST IT ALL
For women and men alike, list what you have on your resume that is a true reflection of who you are, your talents, and strengths. That is all you have to offer anyways. If that is not good enough then, by all means, you didn’t need to be there in the first place. Any place that would ask you to lessen your qualifications is not the place for you. It is not the place for your spouse, your son, or your grandson either. Nor is it the place for you daughter or granddaughter. Don’t dummy down who you are.
Celebrate your education. When you walk down that isle and they hand you your diploma, by all means, show them you earned it. Good luck to all those who may be graduating in the next couple months. You have my respect; both male and female.
Celebrate your education
To the employers, all one can ask is that you give a fair assessment of the talent that will present to your organization, and then make your decisions. Decisions based on need and not fear. If you fear education, then education is done.