Blog Hiatus

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I spend my time because there just never seems to be enough of it.  Although I enjoy writing on this little blog, I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to put energy into other projects for a while.

Thank you so much for reading, and for your comments (especially MJ, my star commenter). There’s a good chance I’ll be back at some point.

That Hiatus That Happened

Um, hi!

A couple of you have wondered what on Earth happened. Well, the second half of December was completely insane but absolutely wonderful. Then I took a one-month intensive TEFL certification course. Now it’s February. Not very exciting, but that’s what happened.

This week I’ll be finishing up my NP Career and Money series. Beyond that, we’ll see. I really enjoy blogging. However, it’s not in my top five priorities, so I don’t always give it the attention it needs.

I’m reevaluating my writing topics, my posting schedule, and whether I should keep blogging at all. In the meantime, enjoy the rest of the series starting tomorrow. 🙂

The Last Month of the Decade

Listening to The Current on my way home from work, I heard the DJ remark that we have just begun the last month of the decade.

I started reflecting a bit on just how much my life has changed in the past ten years. It’s amazing to think of where I was in late 1999 and then look at where I am now. It’s a difference of 1,260 miles, a diploma, a degree, several jobs, and surprising number of relationships I can’t imagine living without.

And I realized that I’m proud of where I’m at and who I am.  I’m not perfect, and there are a few aspects of my current situation that aren’t quite optimal, but the fundamentals are right where I have always wanted them to be.  Many of the details would have probably surprised the Emily of 1999, but everything makes sense in retrospect.

It all makes me very curious about December 2019.

A Dynamic Balance

A watched pot never boils. But how do you know when your water is ready if you’re not watching?

Success often involves taking your eyes off the prize to focus instead on the task of attaining it. So how do you know when it’s within reach if you’re not looking at it?

In both examples, the answer is that you need two separate skill sets and that you must effectively balance and coordinate them.

I wish this could be addressed in my professional development plan, but I don’t know where to start. Thoughts?

On Harvesting

We coordinators are awesome.

We know a ton of people: clients, volunteers, teachers, coworkers, other program staff, support staff, community partners, and the list continues.

We’re also never bored.  Ever.

Odds are good that:

  • you know one of us.
  • at some point you’ll want one of us to do something for you.
  • we will not be just idling around hoping you’ll give us a task to accomplish.

We love to help.  But before you ask, consider: are you working with us, or are you harvesting?  Working with us will lead to healthy, happy, long-term working relationships.  Harvesting our output will not.

Loaded Basket by meganpru on Flickr
Loaded Basket by meganpru on Flickr

Characteristics of harvesting:

  1. short turn-around time
  2. little done (by you) lately to add value to the programs we coordinate
  3. the only two types of conversations we really have are “Hi, how are you?” and “Can you do this for me?”
  4. It often has a sense of just passing through, or of quickly collecting something.

Maputo Handshake by ElektraCute on Flickr
Maputo Handshake by ElektraCute on Flickr

Characteristics of working with us:

  1. lead time
  2. help us out, especially if we ask  (but nobody’s keeping exact score)
  3. tell us about your bigger picture… and ask us about ours
  4. It usually has a sense of mutual respect and feels like a human interaction.

Now, let’s practice:

Based on the above descriptions, evaluate the following paraphrased emails.  Are they working with the coordinator, or are they harvesting?

A) Hi.  I volunteered with you six months ago.  Things sure have been crazy.  Could you write me a recommendation?  I need it tomorrow.  Thanks.

B) Great to see you the other day!  I’m glad you that blog post about the neuroscience of learning answered your question.  Say, I’m starting to put together a presentation.  If you have any student writing I could use for examples, could you send it over sometime in the next couple of months?  Thanks.

When in doubt, it all comes down to time-frame.

A short time-frame leaves very little room to maneuver.  Without flexibility, it’s much more difficult to maintain a high quality of work for your task and the others I already have.  Set us both up for success and give some lead time.

What would you add?

In Case You Were Wondering

Oops, I Did It Again! by ucumari on Flickr
Oops, I Did It Again! by ucumari on Flickr

I thought I should probably acknowledge the fact that I just randomly didn’t post for something like two weeks.

The short answer is that everything’s fine. The slightly longer answer is that my job and my personal life were both particularly engrossing during that time and there wasn’t room to blog too.

I seriously considered whether to keep the blog at all. For now, my answer is yes. It’s my little space to write regularly and think out loud. I enjoy it and I think it’s good for me. So it stays.

However, I’m going to move to two posts per week: Mondays and Wednesdays. I hope to move back up to three at some point in the future.

That’s it for now. Enjoy the rest of the week!

Focus

I keep thinking to myself, “Ok, I’m going to be really focused today.”

And then I think about what I’m going to focus on:

  • curriculum
  • volunteers
  • student attendance
  • outreach
  • preparing for this week’s appointments
  • preparing for break

And I realize that this is not focus.  It is, however, a starting point.