I work for a small, family-owned business that, for many years, was run by a father and his son. They had a loving and close relationship, but would occasionally get into terrifically loud, heated shouting matches in the office. This made everyone else fidgety and awkward, and whenever it happened, my colleagues and I would half-joke that our parents were fighting. While the rest of us who work at the company are not related, my coworkers really do feel like family members, people I’ve come to love because of our relationship – and disagree with hotly sometimes, just like I do with my husband. (read more…)
Last summer, I learned a secret to managing millennials. After years of pleading for better communication from them, I accidentally stumbled upon a language we have in common: emojis.
As the program director of a regional junior sailing program, I’ve been working with and managing college and high-school aged employees for over a decade. I oversee 40 sailing instructors and 20 sailing courses over ten intense summer weeks. I love the work, especially being a manager; I thrive on creating an environment that’s enjoyable for both our students and instructors alike.
As rewarding as management is, it can also be extremely challenging. Most of the people I supervise are in high school and college, and due to the nature of the work, we need to be in touch all day long, often by text. This is where communication began to break down in recent years. If I sent a text to an instructor asking them to do something and didn’t get a response, I had to assume the message had not been received. If it was something time-sensitive, it meant I had to send the text again. Or call. Or email. Or call the manager and ask for the message to be delivered in person. It was annoying and a big waste of time. (read more…)
You may know FOMO, or fear of missing out. It’s that feeling you get when a friend suggests that you take a trapeze class. It sounds horrible to you and you dread going, but you don’t want everyone else to do it without you and the fear of missing out wins over your fear of falling off the trapeze.
It’s a typical Sunday when my boyfriend is happy to relax and laze about in the hammock in my back patio — and I join him for about 15 minutes before I get restless and ask what we’re going to do next. This ability to easily relax and enjoy leisure is what I call his “vacation brain.” Very little upsets him; he is generally calm and almost never defensive. There is a flipside to this enviable quality, though. His relaxed demeanor means a certain detachment. He prefers to avoid difficult things and easily puts them out of mind (sometimes to my annoyance).
These opposing traits are two sides of the same coin, or, what I think of as a Janus face. Janus is the Roman god of motion and transitions. Since these concepts are complementary in nature – starting one thing means ending another, arriving in one place requires leaving somewhere else — Janus is usually depicted as having two faces, one looking to the future, and one to the past. Similarly, our greatest strengths are typically the inverse of our biggest weaknesses. (read more…)
Writing is one of those funny things, like breathing, that everyone can do in the most literal way. We all wrote in school– stories, essays, reports. We are all able to string words into sentences and commit them to a page. Yet, as adults, few people claim to be a writer. We get hung up on the meaning of the word, and we fear not measuring up to our expectations around what a writer is. We get stuck.
Because the stories we share on Small Answers are born in self-reflection, when we feel stuck, it’s generally because our thinking hasn’t crystallized. We haven’t done the hard work of figuring out what we are really trying to say. (read more…)