Category Archives: Professional Relationships

The path to resilience is not a lonely road: partnerships matter

My spirits were lifted as I looked out my window and saw the birth of the first signs of spring. The clouds had cleared, and I could feel the warmth of the bright morning sun on my face. The trees were beginning to bud and daffodils were blooming. It seemed like the winter months would never end. But just because the calendar says spring, early spring can still feel cold and gloomy many days. And the daffodils seem to fade so quickly. When will there truly be warmer and brighter days ahead?

Every Day Can Be a Struggle

The effects of this pandemic and so many crises you go through in your life are of real concern. You feel like all this should be over by now. Like winter, the ‘safe at home’, masks and social distancing are just dragging out so long. As you try to push through and be resilient, it’s a real struggle. Maybe it’s taking forever to find another job. You’ve lost a friend or family member. Or, the pace of trying to take care of your family, yourself, and keep up with all the demands at work is overwhelming.

Times of challenge are not easy. You get over one mountain and here comes another. You’re discouraged. You feel like you’re just surviving and can’t imagine how you will get through the chaos in the darkest hours. You will have to go through the valley. There’s healing in that process. But, you don’t have to stay there.

You might question if resilience is a real thing. Or is it just a ‘buzz word’ that people are faking their way through? You might look at someone else and think ‘they’ve got it all together.’ Their life looks perfect on social media. You don’t really know what other people are going through.

Partnership… A Path to Resilience

Resilience is possible, but it’s not a switch that you just turn on. Resilience is strengthened from the challenges you go through. Finding resilience through the struggle takes intention, hope, faith and courage. But don’t try to do it alone. It takes partnership with others to get there.

Partnership, one of the five Resilience Ready Principles, is essential to being able to thrive again. You often feel embarrassed that you’re tired, stressed and can’t see a way out. There are people in your circle who care about you and are ready to help… your spouse, a sister or brother, parent, cousin, friend, colleague or pastor. Professional support is also accessible through your employer, health care provider or community agencies. Reaching out can begin with something as simple as, “Hey, I could use some help. Can we talk?”

If someone comes to you, first be empathetic and show you care. Sometimes a person just needs a listening ear. Hear what they have to say. Be careful not to minimize their struggle. Share a smile and a hug. You’re not asked to take on their burden. Determine what you are able to do to direct or connect them to the resources they need.

Be proactive in checking-in on family, friends and colleagues at work. If you’re a manager, make sure employees are aware of the resources available to them through your Employee Assistance Program. I’ve had a number of professionals share with me the pressure and stress they have experienced through the pandemic. Managers want to demonstrate concern about not only the work, but also a person’s overall wellbeing.

There’s Hope

As I think about the birth of spring and the possibilities for the future, I’m reminded of the song “There’s Hope” by India Arie: “There’s hope! It doesn’t cost a thing to smile. You don’t have to pay to laugh. You better thank God for that!”

You can find hope in even the simplest things in life. But those simple smiles and laughs with someone who cares at a time when you really need it can make all the difference in the world.

Women of Color Navigating the Career Environment: Using Male Dominated Strategies to “FuelForward”

By: Vonya Hodrick & Vivian Blade

Published by: National Career Development Association (NCDA)

The article, Women of Color Navigating the Career Environment: Using Male Dominated Strategies to “FuelForward”, by Vonya Hodrick & Vivian Blade, originally appeared in NCDA’s web magazine, Career Convergence, at www.ncda.org. Copyright © June 2019. Reprinted with permission.

The career environment is complex, with formal and informal processes and networks, as well as plenty of office politics. Yet, professional women of color are missing critical relationships to enable success in their careers. These women must have influencers in their network to help navigate this environment and to help pull them through the ranks.

It is crucial for women of color to create and maintain networks to advance their careers. Women in general tend to have smaller networks of deeper relationships, choosing to primarily have people in their networks who share their value system as compared to men who view their networks more opportunistically, often as a way to advance in their careers.

LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Company (2018) found in their major new study— with almost 30,000 employees across 118 companies — that women’s odds of advancement are 15% lower than men’s. For women of color the disparity in the opportunities for advancement is even greater. One reason the study cites is that women and men have very different networks.

Another reason is often that women do not have equal time to build and nurture these relationships. For example, women still carry a disproportionate burden of housework, childcare and elder care responsibilities, leaving men with more time to develop relationships on evenings and weekends.

Men also have more time for what researchers Monica Forret & Thomas Dougherty (2001) found in a landmark study to be two of the most powerful networking strategies:….

Continue reading the full article in the NCDA Career Convergence Web Magazine.

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