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Human Resources

Weekly Wisdom

Weekly Wisdom

Weekly Wisdom

I write Weekly Wisdom as the Executive Director of Human Resources at Central Washington University. Having an eye for meaningful things, I include my own observations and thoughts, ideas I've recently encountered, and/or topics that are of current importance. I like to think that others will find reading Weekly Wisdom worth their time.

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Autumn Movement

I cried over beautiful things knowing no beautiful thing lasts.

The field of cornflower yellow is a scarf at the neck of the copper sunburned woman,
   the mother of the year, the taker of seeds.

The northwest wind comes and the yellow is torn full of holes,
   new beautiful things come in the first spit of snow on the northwest wind,
   and the old things go, not one lasts.

-Carl Sandburg 

 

 

Check this out:

The World Is Coming to an end

 “Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total; of all those acts will be written the history of this generation.”

    -Robert Kennedy


 

 

 

Violence simply isn’t an option.

Ta-Nehisi Coates was recently awarded a MacArthur Grant.  It’s a fellowship that is not a reward for past accomplishment, but rather an investment in a person's “originality, insight, and potential." The current prize is $625,000 paid over five years in quarterly installments. The Program doesn’t allow applications. An anonymous group nominates potential Fellows and recommends them to an anonymous selection committee of about a dozen people.   Coates published a book, Between the World and Me, in July 2015. The book contains his thoughts about being black in America.  From the SeattleTimes, yesterday:

“Because I came up outside of the church, I never understood it...(But) violence simply isn’t an option, no matter what...you are an American.  That’s the first thing.  It’s your country...”

Violence simply isn’t an option.

 

PDF version:
Children are like kites
You spend a lifetime trying to get  them off the ground
You run with them until  you’re both breathless
They crash – You add a longer tail
They hit the rooftop –
You pluck them out of the spout.
You patch and comfort –
Adjust and teach
You watch them lifted by the wind and assure them that someday
they’ll fly!
Finally, you keep letting it out and with
each twist of the ball of twine there
is a sadness that goes with joy –
because the kite becomes more distant and
somehow you know that it won’t be long
before that beautiful creature will snap the
lifeline that bound you together and soar
as it was meant to soar –
Free and Alone
-Sara Ruble-
 


Seems to me that our customers are sort of like our children.  They ask for help, we give advice.  They crash.  We pluck them up, patch and comfort, adjust and team...they flutter in the wind.  Hopefully, they will eventually soar, at least on a good day.  Keep the faith everyone.  Thanks for all your good work.
 

 
I’ve been reading the book Beyond Measure by Margaret Heffernan.  She’s the lady that did the TED talk that I tried to play at the last all staff meeting.  Her talk can be found at: 


https://www.ted.com/talks/margaret_heffernan_why_it_s_time_to_forget_the_pecking_order_at_work?language=en

She writes (page 100):
One more thing...
A Denver resort, seeking to motivate and inspire its customer service team, came up with a simple mechanism.  After you’ve done what was required, ask yourself: What one more thing could I do to make these people happy?  In one case, lost walkers were pointed in the right direction – but then also given some snacks and water to keep them going.  In another case, a phone operator cataloged all the easy workarounds to recurrent problems.  In every instance, employees found that they could always identify one more thing that would make a difference – and that thing was what they enjoyed most, because it was their idea.


So my one more thing is simply to ask: What small change made a big impact on your work?  On your culture?  Let your mind wander.  You’ll find it.  Then share it.

 


 

 

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Weekly Wisdom

October 12, 2015
 

Chris Legeros, long time KIRO-TV news person, died on Friday, way to early of pancreatic cancer at age 62.  I always liked his approach; for me, he kindled trust in his reporting.  This is what someone said about him, “...Legaros started each workday trying to lighten the mood, knowing there was always a chance he would soon be covering some tough weather assignment or maybe a tragedy...(he) liked to begin each day on an even keel.  He might be singing the theme song from “Patty Duke” (I know many of you have never heard of the Patty Duke show!)  or we had a campaign called The Spirit of the Northwest and he had memorized most of the words.”  NOTE:  Ironically, the name of the song is, “We’re working together.!”

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”

- Albert Camus

“There is something incredibly nostalgic and significant about the annual cascade of autumn leaves.”

- Joe L. Wheeler

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about Steve Sarchet’s And Finally in the most recent HR Central.  That issue of simultaneously looking forward and back in the context of the autumn season.  So, I’ve been exploring those thoughts as I write this Weekly Wisdom. I found this at http://livelytakeonlife.com/fall-musings-and-other-non-essential-reading/.  It’s a blog written by David, called Lively Take on Life, current teacher, writer, etc.  It spoke to me; maybe it’ll speak to you at the start of this wonderful week.


...Emerson (in his essay Self Reliance) encourages the reader to seek out a life that one desires and not simply wait to be told or led around.  Of course, it may be our parental duty to expose the youth and guide them, but we cannot, for their sake, pull them by the snout throughout their lives.  True success in this life–I’m paraphrasing now–has nothing to do with one’s bank statement or corner office.  Shouldn’t we instill our children with more faith in humanity and not act on childish impulses to judge?  I’m pretty sure that if Jesus had a tattoo, it would have said “4Giveness iz Key.”

I think there are connections here somewhere.  Hope you can find them!  Staci

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Weekly Wisdom 

October 5, 2015

“The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours – it is an amazing journey – and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins.”
   – Bob Moawad

From yesterday’s Seattle Times:
Feeling stressed?  Slow down and tune in
For many people, the fall months are a time of transition, as schools are back in session and daily routines change.  Meeting new classmates and teachers, taking on the challenge of new projects or a new job and adding more activities to what may already be a busy schedule can lead to an increased sense of pressure – or stress.
While the word “stress” often has negative connotations, do not immediately assume that because you feel stressed, something is wrong with you or your life, or that you are inadequate to the task at hand.
One way to think about stress is that it signals a physiological change in your body – your “fight or flight” response has been activated.  An increase in heart rate or feelings of tension in your muscles are some of the sensation somethings when you feel stressed.

 

 

 

Two of my favorites:

• Use writing as a tool

Using calendars and “to do” lists can relieve your brain of the pressure to remember everything.  Writing can also be a way to sort out what is a priority and to break big tasks into smaller ones.  Your brain tends to process information better through writing than thinking, so use writing to help assess what is triggering your stress and sketch out a plan for how to best address the challenge.

• Connect with your values

If you are stressed, you likely care about something – remind yourself of what that something is!  Do you want to be a supportive parent, get a good education or connect with people?  Your body may be giving you some energy rather than letting fear of the stress response lead to avoidance of meaningful and effective action.

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Weekly

Wisdom

September 28, 2015

 

 

Buckets…

Wash buckets, dirt buckets, sand buckets, fishing buckets, “Buckets of rain, Buckets of tears,” (sung by Bob Dylan)…it’s almost October and I am reminded about buckets of leaves and buckets of blessings.  It is definitely fall outside.  36° as I type...

 

Autumn


Crisp smoke-scented air
Swirls in the autumn breeze
Perfuming the fleeting daylight.
The soft wind lifts
Fallen leaves from their piles
And they dance across the spinney
A spontaneous chorus of colour
And metaphor
Reminding me that the
True beauty of this season is
More than its coolness
More than its colour, and
Much less about the falling leaves.
Mostly, it’s about filling my
Senses to overflowing
Causing me to take pause and
Drink in summer’s wine
Anonymous


Ana Marie Cauce

From Sunday’s Seattle Times, on the University of Washington’s interim president, Ana Marie Cauce (rhymes with calamari and then cow-say):

Cauce, 59, has spent nearly all of her professional life at the UW. She has earned a reputation as warmhearted and approachable, a workaholic who never stops thinking about the university and a decisive leader who’s not afraid to take risks.
Six months after she was tapped as interim president, there appears to be widespread support among students, faculty and staff to remove the word “interim” from her title.
Internal candidates hardly ever get the job.  “Their warts are known, they’ve had to make difficult decisions … their enemies are right there on campus,” Block McLaughlin said.
To a remarkable degree, Cauce seems to have avoided those pitfalls. Even those who have disagreed with her say they admire her candor and willingness to collaborate.
Asked how she would address the perception that the UW is arrogant, Cauce paused for a long time before giving her answer.
The fix, she says, will have to come by teaching people that the UW is “elite but not elitist” — that about a third of the UW’s in-state undergrads are first-generation students, for example.
At the end of the day, "it’s not changing who we are, it’s making the kinds of human contacts that make it clear who we are,” she said.

I like that:

“...making the kinds of human contacts that make it clear
who we are...”

 

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Weekly Wisdom

September 21, 2015

 

 

 

When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, "I used everything you gave me.”

                                                                                                      Erma Bombeck 1927 – 1996

“Laughter is like jogging on the inside.”

From Stick a Geranium in Your Hat and Be Happy, by Barbara Johnson

 

“When you are in doubt, be still, and wait.  When doubt no longer exists for you, then go forward with courage.  So long as mists envelop you, be still, be still until the sunlight pours through and dispels the mists – as it surely will.  Then act with courage.”

White Eagle

“Finish each day and be done with it.  You have done what you could.  Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can.  Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.  This day is all that is good and fair.  It is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on the yesterdays.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Read, every day, something no one else is reading.  Think, every day, something no one else is thinking.  Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do.  It is bad for the mind to continually be part of unanimity.”        

Christopher Morley

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September 14, 2015

 

“Someday you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.”                             C.S. Lewis

 

 

School has begun…  Autumn is upon us…  Yesterday’s weather was so typical.  I figure that it’ll get hot again before we finally settle in to wispy smoke from chimneys and hot tea by the fire.  I love the fall!  And I love the fact that we will be back into a routine soon.  I feel safe, in control.  I feel like life is manageable again.  Summer is wonderful with all its whimsy.  We can go off and do whatever we want.  But fall brings a rhythm that we can count on.

 

        There is the great and poignant story of Pat Tillman, the professional football player who walked away from his contract worth millions of dollars to join the Army, in a past Sports Illustrated that I read recently.  He was killed by friendly fire in Iraq.  He knew he was destined to be different at the age of 16 or so he wrote in his journal.  One of the pieces of advice he gave to his friends was:  “Don’t tell people who you are.  Let them find out.”  I love that!  All too often we feel compelled to explain ourselves.  Perhaps we should hold back a bit and let ourselves be discovered?

 

http://www.canowindraphoenix.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/1395364828-autumn+leaves.jpg-original.jpg"Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale." —Lauren DeStefano, Wither

 

“You teach people how to

treat you –

by what you allow,

what you stop,

and what you reinforce.”

-  Tony Gaskins - 

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Does the Early Bird Get the Worm?

Most definitely, because he’s the first to claim his hunting territory, says ornithologist Jim Wilson, who teaches biology at William Woods University, in Fulton, Missouri. In fact, not only does he get the worm, he gets the girl too, says Wilson. “You know the birds you hear outside your window singing as the sun’s coming up? Usually it’s the males, and they’re doing it to mark off their territory. That serves two purposes: To say to other males, ‘Hey, check out my territory. Stay out of it, and don’t hunt bugs and worms on it,’ and to say to the female birds, ‘Hey, check out my territory — come into it, please.’”


The early-bird theory is true for people, too, says time-management expert Julie Morgenstern, author of Making Work Work. “Getting an early start affects the whole psychology of your day. If you start the day feeling behind and rushed, you’re at a disadvantage and won’t be as effective.”

But relax — if you’re not a morning person, you don’t have to force yourself to wake up with the rooster. “The point is, you simply need to wake up on what you consider the early side, so that you have enough time to begin your day without feeling frazzled,” Morgenstern says. Of course, for night owls who like to sleep till 11am, that might mean doing things the night before.

Written by Sunny Sea Gold

Risking

To laugh is to risk appearing the fool

To weep is to risk appearing sentimental

To reach out for another is to risk involvement.

To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self.

To place your ideas, your dreams before the crowd is to risk their loss.

To love is to risk not being loved in return.

To live is to risk dying.

To hope is to risk despair.

To try is to risk failure.

But risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.  The person who risks nothing does nothing, has nothing, is nothing.  One many avoid suffering and sorrow, but one simply cannot learn, feel, change, grow, live, or love.  Chained by certitude and safety, one becomes enslaved.  Only the person who risks is free.                                                         Anonymous

Do Something!

There’s a short ad, probably, that appears on TV once in a while where Oprah speaks with Sister Joan Chittister, a Roman Catholic nun and author of nearly 50 books.  Sister Joan is an outspoken advocate of justice, peace and equality all over the world. The interview include this exchange:

                Sister Joan:  “Each of us must do something, where we are, that changes the attitude of the neighborhood, and the attitude of the office, and the attitude of the boardroom, and the attitude of the bank. Do something."

        Oprah:  “Wherever you see injustice. Wherever you see despair (I used to say this for so many years when I was doing The Oprah Show), once you've seen it and it's come into your consciousness, you can't pretend you didn't see it.

        Sister Joan:  “And you can never not see it again.  Do something.”

 

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