Blue Sky Update – April 2022

April, the month I finally succumbed to Covid, I was beginning to think I might wriggle through unscathed, but I came down with it over the Easter period. I am thankful it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. So, here, as usual, is my review for April as a career coach, writer, and human being.

Bullying at work

I have had some conversations in recent months about bullying in the workplace, the effect on people and how and why it might occur. When it started, how it might have crept up on someone.

When does a comment, a look, a particular behaviour, or name-calling cross the line?

One shocking story, which I can’t share in any detail for obvious reasons, prompted me to write this post. If this is something you are currently struggling with, look at the attached article by the Mix. It is aimed primarily at the under 25s. But regardless of age, no one should have to go through this period.

The Drop

Who else is watching BBC Three’s, The Drop? About street style, entrepreneurship, design and branding. It is brilliant, stuffed with creativity and innovation. It has opened my eyes to a whole new way of doing business.

Like the Apprentice, the creatives participate in weekly challenges around branding and design. The person judged to have not delivered on the challenge is then asked to ‘close their shutters for the last time. There is no pointy finger.

I am following some of these creatives on Instagram, not because I want to buy their clothes; I am not in their demographic, but because I am fascinated to see how their brands develop.

This show has been a revelation, a real highlight of my week, especially while recovering from Covid.

Roleplay and slugs

I am currently working on some new career-related workshops and thinking about the value of roleplay and experiential learning for the participants. I think it’s a bit of a marmite area, as people either love or hate them.

But it reminds me of an improvisation course I attended some years back. The course leader was busy explaining the role of juxtaposition in comedy – how a comedian can bring two contrasting things together for comedic effect. And the course leader needed a volunteer to demonstrate his point.

I can’t quite remember whether I stepped forward or the others stepped back – but in any case, on hearing that I worked as a career coach, the facilitator told me that I was to improvise attending an interview. Fair enough, but then he told me I would be a slug, and I needed to take the whole exercise entirely seriously.

Then I had to dig deep, but maybe not too deep, to access my inner slug – bring it forth. Hence, Brian was born who was highly competent, able to answer the questions put and whose only concern was around salt.

So, there you have it, and no, I won’t be asking any participants to access their inner slugs. But I will be asking them to take it seriously because the more you put in, the more you get out. And if you want to learn what happens to Brian, take a look at my updated short story.

The Power of journaling

I only started journaling in 2017, but it’s only in the last eighteen months that I’ve completed a to-do list as part of my daily practice – what gets written by hand, gets done. Everything goes into one book, thoughts, ideas, projects – I prefer not to use different books for different projects. I use Trello to track projects, as I need only reference the relevant notes from a numbered journal. I am spinning a few plates at the moment.

The only exception to this is my client notes – which are kept separate from everything else.

For me, there is something both powerful and wonderful about regularly and consistently putting your thoughts down on paper rather than having them rattling around inside your head. Today, journaling still plays a big part in maintaining my general well-being; far better to get my frustrations, resentments, and annoyances out on the page and the more positive stuff ????.

 And for those of you who are interested, here is Nancy Olson’s article on the benefits of writing by hand.

Until next time.