I don’t always do very well when people tell to me write/speak on something. Someone will tell me that I need to write a blog post or speak at a conference. But then that’s all I usually get—no topic ideas or anything. Suddenly my mind goes blank, and it’s suddenly as though I don’t have any expertise or experience with anything in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD. Seriously, it’s an empty slate. And then I wrack my brain for hours or days trying to figure out what on earth I could possibly talk to anyone about and have it be interesting enough to read… so basically battling a serious bout of imposter syndrome.
The Twin Cities chapter of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network is a community of nonprofit staff, volunteers, supporters, and allies: current and future leaders who want to connect with others in the social sector.
When are you having kids? Chances are if you are an adult female in the workplace, you’ve been asked this question. I was planning on making a whole list of questions to stop asking your female coworkers, but realized that they were all iterations of this one way-too-personal, awkward, and invasive inquiry. Please understand the panic that enters my mind when you ask when I plan on having children. Here are a few of the myriad reasons a woman might not want to talk about this:
I think we’ve all heard it before – tell the stories of the individuals and families who your organization impacts. Stories are emotional, paint a picture, and build awareness. But when it comes down to it, why do we shy away from collecting and telling stories?
One answer is that the process can be time-consuming. It can take several hours to identify a storyteller, conduct the interview, write the story, snap compelling photos, get an approval of the final version, and finally share the story. (I’m tired already!) Even after a story is ready to share, it may not be extremely compelling.
In this blog, I’m not going to share a secret or offer a shortcut to easy story collecting and telling, although sometimes I wished there was one. Over the past several months, I learned three important lessons that can help us collect better stories to share.
You know what a purple squirrel is, right?
It’s kind of a joke--a recruiter’s term for an imaginary candidate that fits their open position perfectly. It’s an animal that might exist in reality, but probably not. This candidate is mythically good, impossibly rare, and costly to chase. Some would even say chasing them is a waste of time, that you’re better off training applicants to fit. There’s a lot out there explaining why you shouldn’t chase purple squirrels. I’ll focus on how the search for the perfect candidate affects the recruitment of people of diverse backgrounds, who we’ll be calling “squirrels of color” (SOCs).
Recruitment is an especially big problem in today’s network-driven world. SOCs of all sorts are cut-off from the hidden job market opened up by networking. Anyone can land an unskilled, low-wage, fairly meritocratic job, but networking is often among friends. Networking is often among the squirrels you know and love, most likely those who communicate similarly, value what as you do, and share your alma mater. So you should begin your recruitment by studying what values you (and your organization) have. That will affect who you attract and who you can recruit.
By Andy Brown
Follow me on Twitter @andybrownMN
The phrase like a boss strikes a chord with me as a young professional seeking to up my game. Who wouldn’t want to take control of their career and work life like a boss?
But as a father of a toddler, I realize you can’t always act like a boss—sometimes you have to act like a parent. This is certainly the case when you’re caring for a child, but more and more, I’ve found myself applying lessons I’ve learned from my threenager in my work life. Here’s how I work like a parent: