About that Hellish Transition Out of College…

Posted by amy.

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I see it every day, the reality is setting in, and the reality can be brutal. College is over – the good times, the friends, the stimulation, the games, the interesting classes, the free time – all gone. After the graduation parties, the celebrations, and vacations are over, reality sets in. What’s next? Why couldn’t it last forever? And what good is summer if there is no “back to school” on the horizon. September will be like all the other months. The “real world” is at the door and knocking harder every day.

No doubt, the transition for many is harsh. It is a transition for which there is no preparation, no handbook. Programs that ease the transition into college are on every campus. But leaving college? You are on your own, sink or swim, do the best you can with that degree in hand. It can be depressing, discouraging and downright debilitating. We all know this feeling, including me.

Why is the time so difficult? First, the transition is severe and there is no soft landing, it is a cold turkey change. One day you are on campus rejoicing with the best friends of your life and the next day you are home on the couch watching Seinfeld reruns. Maybe there is a week in Hawaii or another adventure in between but that only postpones the inevitable. Life has changed and it can be scary.

The second reason why the transition is tough is that all of a sudden things are missing. So many things are missing that you can’t even describe all of them. Let me help. What is missing?

  • For those who lived on campus, there were scores of friends within easy reach. It was easy to make friends and the possibilities were limitless. You could have friends from classes, friends from intramurals or activities, friends from the residence halls, friends from everywhere.
  • Each term presents an assortment of options for classes and activities. Since you took Calculus last term, this term you might take it a little easier. You have lots of controls over how much you do and when. With a job, that is not as easy.
  • Yes, you know you will have fun again after college but it not as easy to count on. The Thursday nights with friends (and Friday and Saturday and more for many) were predictable and easy. Very little planning was required and fun was guaranteed. The social activities and the events were easy to walk to – they were on campus. Now, Uber is involved.
  • The “one” is gone. That “one” that you have been with for a while with whom you shared so many good times. Now you may have to make a decision about that “one” and whether he or she stays in that vaunted place. Up until now, no big romance decisions were required. This can create big pressure when you least want it.

So many good things are now missing. Will they ever be replaced? Is “this” what I worked so hard in college go become? Aaaargh. It is time to move on.

Whether you have a job or not, the transition is tough. For those who don’t have a job, it can be more difficult. College might be over but life isn’t. You need to move forward because you can’t go back. Maybe graduate school is in the cards but even that’s different than the college experience you are missing.

What should you do? It may sound simple but here it is: Make some decisions, put a plan together, get busy and don’t look back. The plan can be a simple one in your head like: travel for a year, then, go to work or grad school. Or, get a job at a startup right away – even if the pay is low, there will be learning. Or, get any job just to learn what I do or don’t want to do. The possibilities are limitless, if not perfect. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by those possibilities or lost in the shuffle. And watching the Seinfeld reruns is not a plan.

College – for those entering enjoy every minute. For those who are leaving, life is still good; it’s just different.

What to Share in the Sharing Economy

Posted by Richard Moran.

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The sharing economy is booming. Companies like Uber and Airbnb are all about sharing. Uber owns no cars but is in the ride share business and Airbnb owns no housing units but is in the house sharing business. The market for rides and apartments may be saturated but those two companies have created the metaphor for a whole new world of start-ups. Now we are looking at the Uber for dog walkers, the Airbnb for sports equipment. “We are the Uber for (fill in the blank) is the new mantra in the start-up/sharing economy world.

  • It is a wonderful concept. Sharing creates efficiencies and allows markets to utilize resources in an effective manner. The sharing economy will continue to flourish and I am all for it. But my personal concept of the sharing economy at work is a little different:
  • I want to share the big bonus that the boss received when mine was just a pittance.
  • I want to share the credit for all the good things that happen at work and I want everyone to be happy about the sharing.
  • I want to share my ideas about improving the ways we operate because I have some good ideas and I know others do too.
  • I want to share the interview and hiring decision process. It is the best way to ensure we hire the right fit and experience mix and, that we agree on it.
  • I want to share lunches and coffees with colleagues where we get things done as well as enjoy getting to know people.
  • I want to share backgrounds and experiences so that we know who might be the best person to perform a specific task.
  • I want to share the blame when things at work don’t go quite right. The more who share that, the better.
  • I don’t want to share vacation photos or my favorite coffee mug. Nor do I want to share anything that is too personal, especially about the details of one’s love life.

It’s been said many times before but the things we learn in kindergarten about sharing are best applied at work too.

What do you want to share? Or not?

Eliminate All Meetings

Posted by Richard Moran.

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When my son was three years old he would occasionally call for a meeting. He didn’t know what a meeting was but he heard all the adults talking about meetings so they must be something worth exploring. We dissuaded him of the notion.

Some companies are eliminating the performance review process. Why not keep going and eliminate meetings? We like the doughnuts, we don’t like the smell of dry erase markers and the questions like “Can we do a process check?”

Would the world end if we eliminated meetings? What would happen if we just stopped meeting?

  • Communications would suffer. Or would it? Between email, texting and checking out all the posts on social media, would we communicate less?
  • Colleagues would not work together as well. Maybe. It does help to know each other but is partnering enhanced through meetings?
  • Coordination between teams would be limited and we might duplicate each other’s activities and calendars would be a big mess. The alternative could be checking project schedules and checking for intersections. Maybe the projects would get completed earlier.
  • Team building would not exist. I am not sure most people look at meetings like team building activities. Lunch is more likely to be seen as team building time. At a time when lots of people work at home, team building can come when time spent together outside of meetings is scheduled.
  • The alternatives to meetings now include conference calls and actual one-to-one phone calls with people talking. Plus, the daily “coffee” with pals and lunch are now requirements. Things do get resolved in these interactions. People figure out how to get together to solve problems without having a routine meeting.

Think of the money that could be saved – white board markers would never dry up. Conference rooms could be rented out for Airbnb use. Think of the weight we could lose by not sitting for hours and eating doughnuts. Wait, keep the doughnuts, just put them in the kitchen.

Meetings are habit forming. We are trained in how to conduct effective meetings, maybe we should be trained in whether or not we really need to have the meeting.

Big progressive companies have eliminated the routine performance review. Why not move on to meetings. Come on, let’s try it. Or should we have a meeting about it?