The 12 Days of Back-to-School

The Twelve Days of Back-to-School
(sung to the tune of The Twelve Days of Christmas)lockers
By Joanie Connell

On the first day of back-to-school my mother gave to me
The best decorated locker.

On the second day of back-to-school my mother gave to me
2 musical instruments andteen flute player
The best decorated locker.

On the third day of back-to-school my mother gave to me
3 club sportsteen baseball player
2 musical instruments and
The best decorated locker.

On the fourth day of back-to-school my mother gave to me
4 AP classesteen studying
3 club sports
2 musical instruments and
The best decorated locker.

On the fifth day of back-to-school my mother gave to me
5 best friends!teen friends
4 AP classes
3 club sports
2 musical instruments and
The best decorated locker.

On the sixth day of back-to-school my mother gave to me
6 private tutorstutor
5 best friends!
4 AP classes
3 club sports
2 musical instruments and
The best decorated locker.

On the seventh day of back-to-school my mother gave to me
7 ettiquette lessonstie
6 private tutors
5 best friends!
4 AP classes
3 club sports
2 musical instruments and
The best decorated locker.

On the eighth day of back-to-school my mother gave to me
8 college visitscollege buildings
7 ettiquette lessons
6 private tutors
5 best friends!
4 AP classes
3 club sports
2 musical instruments and
The best decorated locker.

On the ninth day of back-to-school my mother gave to me
9 designer backpacksteen with backpack
8 college visits
7 ettiquette lessons
6 private tutors
5 best friends!
4 AP classes
3 club sports
2 musical instruments and
The best decorated locker.

On the tenth day of back-to-school my mother gave to me
10 test prep classestest answer sheet
9 designer backpacks
8 college visits
7 ettiquette lessons
6 private tutors
5 best friends!
4 AP classes
3 club sports
2 musical instruments and
The best decorated locker.

On the eleventh day of back-to-school my mother gave to me
11 service hourscommunity service
10 test prep classes
9 designer backpacks
8 college visits
7 ettiquette lessons
6 private tutors
5 best friends!
4 AP classes
3 club sports
2 musical instruments and
The best decorated locker.

On the twelfth day of back-to-school my mother gave to me
12 therapy sessions!therapist

Generation 2 Nice?

By Joanie Connellsmiling young woman

In the recent New York Times article titled Generation Nice, author Sam Tanenhaus talks about how nice the Millennial generation is. While I agree, I simultaneously wonder if we all might suffer from the Millennials being too nice. In other words, might we be better off if they toughened up a bit?

ANTI-BULLYING TO THE RESCUE

The movement to use culturally inclusive and gender-neutral language (a.k.a. “PC movement”) started at about the time of the Millennials. A huge amount of good has come out of being inclusive. But, like so many trends in the U.S., people seem to think “if a little is good, a lot must be better.” We’ve gone from avoiding discrimination to encouraging fragility.

Banning words like “stupid” at school, including gossip as a bullying behavior that can result in a call to Child Protective Services, and suspension for pointing a finger like a gun are, well, stupid.

I in no way condone hurtful behaviors and am in complete agreement that action needs to be taken when life threatening orfragile extreme cases occur. But mild bullying starts right at home—with siblings—and continues through school to work, to international politics. Recent accounts of Putin and Kim Jong-un’s bullying are prime examples. If we protect our kids by banning any and all bullyish behaviors entirely in schools, our kids will grow into fragile, helpless adults. And where does that leave our nation in a few years? Do we really want softies competing for global market share and standing up to nuclear threats?

 DO-GOODERS: ANOTHER NICE MILLENNIAL BEHAVIOR

Obviously, we want a nation full of do-gooders. But people don’t always have the opportunity to reject corporate life and “riskily pursue their own ventures” by “working out of their parents’ basement.” Thesmiling selfie Millennials—or more precisely the middle class Millennials—choose where to shop and work because they can. They have cushions (i.e. parents) to fall back on if they opt out of a job offer from a profitable enterprise. They have parents to subsidize their sustainable, organic, local vegetarian eating habits. It’s great to force business in America to be socially responsible. I am all for that. But I wonder if allowing the Millennials to choose to be socially responsible by living off their parents is the right way to go. I mean, how socially responsible is that really?

LESS IS BETTERstrong compassionate man

It’s great to be nice, but too nice can be a detriment. It may hinder not only the Millennials, but also the rest of our society as Millennials move into leadership positions. It might be better for Millennials to strive to be a strong and compassionate generation.

Call for Predictability as a form of Flexibility at Work

This is a compelling story from the New York Times on how new shift scheduling technology (and corporate desire for higher profits) affects lower-level employees and their ability to meet demands outside of work.

Working Anything But 9-5: Scheduling Technology Leaves Low-Income Parents with Hours of Chaos

Please comment on your own experiences and suggestions for improvement.  Clearly, flexibility and even predictability are critical to employees.  They are fellow human beings, after all.

Bill Treasurer: 5 criteria for evaluating whether a risk is right or wrong for you

BBill Treasurerill Treasurer is an expert on Risk. He has graciously shared tips for assessing whether taking a risk is right for you. Millennials, especially, consider Bill’s advice. Women too. You have been raised in a risk-averse environment, but risk is actually a good thing if done right.

Bill Treasurer: 5 Criteria for Evaluating Whether a Risk Is Right or Wrong for You

When considering a risky move, most people resort to simple math, asking “What will I get and what do I stand to lose?” But big moves need to consider more than just gains or losses. It takes more than simple math to judge whether to take a risk. As explaiRight Risk book coverned in one of my other posts a Right Risk is one that is congruent with your deepest held values. It’s a risk that should help close the gap between who you are and who you aim to be. What matters most isn’t how much you stand to gain from the risk. What matters most is whether the risk is true for you. Risk should be about more than compensation. It should be about destination. Not, “What will this risk get me”, but “Where will this risk take me.”

Here are 5 criteria that you can use that will help you access your risk at a much deeper level than just jotting down a pro and con list. Using the 5 Ps won’t guarantee that your risk won’t be a wipeout, but they will increase the probability of success.

Passion: A Right Risk is something we care about intensely. Right risks are often ordeals, and ordeals involve suffering. The word “passion” comes from the Latin verb pati, literally translated as “to suffer.” By arousing the strongest, most untamed parts of our nature, and stirring up the wild mustangs in our soul, our passion gives us the raw energy and wherewithal to suffer through the anguishing moments that often accompany right risk. Ask, “What about this risk energizes me?”

Purpose: A Right Risk is taken out of a deep sense of purpose. Purpose serves to harness our passions and give them direction. Right Risks are rich with meaning. They stand for something beyond sensory or ego gratification. Ask, “How will this risk make me a more complete person? How will this risk further my life’s purpose? How will it help me get to where I want to go?”

Principle: Right Risks are governed by a set of values that are both essential and virtuous. As mentioned, risks are essentially decisions, and when facing a decision of consequences, principles form a set of criteria against which the risk can be judged. The principles that right- risk takers often use as the basis of their decision-making include truth, justice, independence, freedom, mercy, compassion and responsibility. Ask, “By taking this risk, which of my deepestly held values or ideals will I be upholding?”

Prerogative: Right-risk taking involves the exercise of choice. Right-risk takers view the power to choose as a privilege, and then honor it as such. By consistently making choices at a conscious level, they are better able to make superior judgment calls at an instinctual level — in fast-moving situations. After all of the input of naysayers and yea-sayers are considered, the Right-risk taker makes the final judgment as to whether the risk is right for him or her. Ultimately, a Right Risk is an exercise of free will. Ask, “Am I taking this risk because I have to, or because I choose to?”

Profit: A Right Risk should come with a real potential for gain. Risks are, well, risky. And in exchange for assuming the potential risk of hardship, you are entitled to some real and unequivocal upside gains. Notice, however, that Profit is the fifth “P”. It’s the criteria that should be assessed last, otherwise you’ll be in danger of getting too enamored with the pot at the end of the rainbow, which can distort your decision-making. Ask, “What gains do I hope to reap from this risk?” and “How enduring are the gains likely to be?”

Bill Treasurer is the author of Leaders Open Doors, which focuses on how leaders create growth through opportunity. Bill is also the author of Courage Goes to Work, an international bestselling book that introduces the concept of courage-building. He is also the author of Courageous Leadership: A Program for Using Courage to Transform the Workplace, an off-the-shelf training toolkit that organizations can use to build workplace courage. Bill’s first book, Right Risk, draws on his experiences as a professional high diver. Bill has led courage-building workshops for, among others, NASA, Accenture, CNN, PNC Bank, SPANX, Hugo Boss, Saks Fifth Avenue, and the US Department of Veterans Affairs. To learn more, contact info@giantleapconsulting.com.

Don’t Fall Victim to College Burnout!

By Joanie Connell

burnoutCollege students, beware! Make the most of your summer break and take care of yourselves when you go back to school. There is enormous pressure on you to continue exerting exorbitant efforts to maintain your academic competitiveness, after nearly killing yourselves getting into college to begin with.

Overachievers burn out young. On Harvard College’s Admissions website, there is an article written by the dean of admissions and other Harvard educators that advises high-achieving students to take time off to avoid burnout. The letter starts out by describing the over-stressed lives of children who are pressured to achieve. At Harvard, they know about college burnout and they have noticed a definite increase from one generation to the next. Harvard is not alone in seeing the correlation between high achievers and burnout; the mainstream media has noticed as well.

“It is common to encounter even the most successful students, who have won all the ‘prizes,’ stepping back and wondering if it was all worth it. Professionals in their thirties and forties – physicians, lawyers, academics, business people and others – sometimes give the impression that they are dazed survivors of some bewildering life-long boot-camp. Some say they ended up in their profession because of someone else’s expectations, or that they simply drifted into it without pausing to think whether they really loved their work. Often they say they missed their youth entirely, never living in the present, always pursuing some ill-defined future goal.”

It’s not just the high achievers who are at risk of burnout. The kids who do not have high grades can be at risk of college burnout too. Some of the top predictors for college burnout, according to UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute and the Koehler Center for Teaching Excellence at Texas Christian University, include a low high school GPA and a lack of comprehension of the material. In other words, if students are pushed into achieving a higher level than they are able to achieve, such as getting into a more difficult school than they can handle, they are more likely to burnout and dropout.

A major problem for young people in the workplace is that they are burnout 2already burned out before they get there or crash and burn shortly after they arrive. Even if they do not burn out, they feel they are entitled to greatness after all the effort they put into getting there and all the promises of sweet nectar from the heavens they have heard from the adults in their lives. Don’t work yourselves so hard that you crash and burn—either in college or when you start working. Pace yourselves. Life is a marathon, not a sprint.