I have been in middle management for about a year and a half now, and there are still times when I wonder if I’m doing this “managing” thing right, or if I’m really cut out to be a manager. But I guess the day I stop wondering how to do things better is the day I stop improving (and there’s always something that can be improved on).
When new people start work in my department, there are a few things I tell them, regardless of their role or their previous work experience:
A friend of mine shared an infographic on Instagram a while ago. It illustrated the difference between fixed and growth mindsets with regards to race issues. Instead of just thinking that you don’t know what to do, or that you won’t make a difference, or that you simply don’t have time to get involved (all fixed mindset thinking), it encourages people to seek new information, learn about how to help, and have the courage to take part in something that has far-reaching implications (growth mindset).
It’s easy to think that a singular person cannot have much impact on greater issues, but if every person thought that, nothing would happen, nothing would change, and nothing would improve.
As someone who attended their first protest last month — for Black Lives Matter — it really reinforced this notion of “yes, I’m just one person, but together we can be a force to be reckoned with”. It was incredible to stand amongst so many others, all assembled for the same reason.
And yet, the realist in me keeps wondering what will be the true outcome of this — will there be lasting change, or will people just settle back into “normal life”, and grumble about other things?
The same friend who posted the infographic has also been sharing resources for how to support the cause further, how to support indigenous Australians, and how to just be a better human. I’ll admit it’s a lot to keep up with, and I haven’t read everything she shared, but every step in the right direction — no matter how small — equates to progress, and it’s further than I’d gone before.
For several weeks now, I have been thinking of this quote from Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations, and I’ve been meaning to find it so that I could blog about it, but I either haven’t had time or, when I did have time, I just couldn’t find it.
During my first reading of Meditations (now a few years ago), I used some scrap paper to jot down some notes regarding noteworthy passages. For some of these, I copied out the passage (if it was short), and for some I simply noted the book and chapter numbers. I kept these scraps of paper as reminders — some within the pages of Meditations, and the rest on my bedside table. I had hoped that the quote I was thinking of would be on one of these but, alas, no luck.
But, no matter, I thought, there is a helpful index in the back of the copy I own, which can be used to find passages relating to various subject matter and concepts, so I tried this next. I pondered over words that might lead me to the passage, but these either did not take me to where I wanted to go, or they did not exist in the index.
As a last resort — or perhaps just a despairing effort — I flipped through to random pages, hoping to find it by pure luck or coincidence. (Keep in mind that I didn’t do all this searching in one day; it was spread over several weeks, whenever I thought of it and had time.) Unsurprisingly, this tactic proved fruitless too.
Last night, however, I was really determined to find it. I was so determined that I resolved to go through each entry in the index that was even remotely relevant, starting with A and working through the entire index to Z.
Almost exactly four weeks ago, I returned home from an interstate trip.
My brother-in-law dropped me off at the airport, at a drop-off zone that was usually congested, but that time he had no trouble finding a spot to pull over.
Inside the airport was much the same — at the bag drop kiosks, there was only one other woman. I only passed a handful of people on my way to the lounge. Continue reading
I’ve been avoiding this, but I think it is inevitable that I would write a post about the current pandemic situation. Almost every blogger I follow who is actively posting on a regular basis seems to have written about it or at least mentioned it in passing. And even some who have been inactive for a while have re-emerged to write about it. (Perhaps for something to do during lockdown? Perhaps to help process it all?)
Anyway, I’d been avoiding writing anything about it because there’s so much material circulating. People keep sharing articles and videos and whatnot on social media, and it’s rare to enter into a conversation with someone without the pandemic also entering the conversation.
But I suppose that’s just how it is. I don’t resent that people are talking about it so much. I only lament that it is, indeed, happening.
I think it’s incredible that things can change so quickly. At least, they seem to have changed very quickly. At the end of February, I went interstate to meet my then barely four-week old niece, and to spend time with family. At that time, the virus (and news of it) was spreading, but life was more or less “normal”. I was away from home for three weeks, and the situation evolved so much over that time that I felt like I was returning to a completely new world.
I don’t want to add much more to this because I feel like there’s not much more to say on the matter that hasn’t already been said. I suppose I really only wanted to write about this in order to mark this point in history on my blog, separating pre- and post-pandemic times.
The conversation that was the inspiration for this post actually happened several weeks ago (maybe even months, it has been so long I’m not entirely sure). This is one of those times when a seemingly ordinary conversation lingered in my mind a lot longer than I would have expected (if it was in any way possible to independently consider and speculate on how long a conversation might linger).
But the conversation didn’t necessarily produce the epiphany or realisation itself. Rather, it served as a kind of impetus for me to put the thoughts I’d previously had into words. This will (hopefully) make sense later. Continue reading