Sunday, November 10, 2013

gender and the workplace

Two worlds are converging.  Work and TED.  The words sounds funny to write, even funnier to say out loud.  Work is busy, chaotic, scheduled.  Beyond scheduled.  Add to this busy, chaotic, and over scheduled work life, I am speaking in classes.

Lots of awesome classes.  Talking about jobs, looking for, finding, what you need for, how to interview for, how to follow up on, and great resources for - the job.

We have GREAT students at Calvin College.  I would never skip talking to students.

At the same time, I am on a huge TED kick.  I fire up my Kindle HD, plug in some ear buds, and watch some amazing videos.  Videos on leadership.  Talks on happiness at work.  Presentations on the end of the world.

What I love most are the TED talks on women and leadership.

Sheryl Sandberg.  Amy Cuddy.  Susan Cain.

If you have not listened to these three TED talks, quit reading right now and go watch and listen.  They are fantastic.

So back to work.  I present in classes.  I talk to students.  At the end of every SINGLE PRESENTATION, I offer two things.  One, I offer to connect with ANY student on LinkedIn.  I tell them that if they see anyone in my connection list, I will provide an introduction.  I will do anything possible to help each and every student connect and find meaningful work.

Many students take me up on this offer.

I make a second offer.  I offer to MEET with any student who wants to come talk to me.  For one hour.  And do anything possible to help with the job hunt.

I do not have time to do this.  But I feel so strongly about our students that I will give away my time.  I don't give my time to too many people.  But I will give it away to our students.

Very few students take me up on this.   Like five students.  (It's probably a good thing).  The students who do?  All women.  Not one single male student has taken me up on this offer.

Curious.  And wonderful.  And interesting. I love that these young women I see are comfortable enough to ask for time, help, and resources.   They follow up.  They send me thank you notes.  They ask good questions  like - who else should I talk to?  what other resources are available?  are there questions that I should be asking?

Crazy smart.  I am thrilled.  And encouraged.  This generation will hopefully be leading our businesses, corporations, and schools.  We are fifty percent of the population.  Let the leadership reflect this too.

As you go to work tomorrow, is there a woman you can help progress? Small steps, big changes.  Bring it.

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