Maintaining professionalism in the age of black death

Please be mindful of what our black colleagues are going through. Shenequa Golding’s “Maintaining Professionalism In The Age of Black Death Is….A Lot” is a good place to start to nurture your empathy.

Here are a few excerpts:

I don’t know who decided that being professional was loosely defined as being divorced of total humanity, but whoever did they’ve aided, unintentionally maybe, in a unique form of suffocation.

If I am to perform my duties for 40 hours a week, it’s asinine to assume that the life I live outside of those 40 hours won’t rear its head. Whether I’m a sleep deprived single mother of two or a struggling college student who really needs this internship to graduate, the belief that only the part of me that fattens your bottom line is allowed in the workplace, is stifling.

This is magnified for young black professionals who are recruited for their culture, but told, in so many words, that their blackness and the struggles that come with it are to be left at the door.

A black man went for a run only to be ambushed by two white men, shot and then killed. A black female essential worker was asleep inside her home when police serving a “no-knock” warrant shot her eight times. A white woman, enraged that a black man asked her to follow the park rules lied to cops about being threatened. And a black man died face down on the ground because a white cop suffocated him.

But yeah, I can totally have that presentation for you by end of day, Ted. No problem.

black lives matter

We’re biting our tongues, swallowing our rage and fighting back tears to remain professional because expressing that hurt caused by witnessing black death is considered more unprofessional, than black men and women actually being killed.

So if you can, please, be mindful. Your black employees are dealing with a lot.

[Photo by Sticker You]

A friendly reminder

We’re not working from home. We’re at home in the middle of a crisis trying to get work done.

Look after yourself… and others.

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Post-covid19 job interview

Hiring manager: We’re just about done here. Do you have any questions for us?

Job candidate: During the 2020 pandemic, how long did you keep your employees on the payroll? And what was your rationale? What specifically did you do to keep your employees safe?

 

(photo by Headway on Unsplash)

Finding humor amid the challenges of working from home

As countries are now enforcing some form of quarantine, many of us are (re)discovering the travails of working from home.

You might remember Robert Kelly on the BBC from some years ago. I’m sure he didn’t find the episode humorous as it occurred…

but he certainly did later.

Stay healthy… and keep smiling!

A subtler, more intangible, but vital kind of moral consensus: Comity

[It] exists in a society to the degree that those enlisted in its contending interests have a basic minimal regard for each other: one party or interest seeks the defeat of an opposing interest on matters of policy, but at the same time seeks to avoid crushing the opposition, denying the legitimacy of its existence or its values, or inflicting upon it extreme and gratuitous humiliations beyond the substance of the gains that are being sought.

The basic humanity of the opposition is not forgotten; civility is not abandoned; the sense that a community life must be carried on after the acerbic issues of the moment have been fought over and won is seldom very far out of mind; an awareness that the opposition will someday be the government is always present

(source)

Here’s a 10-point audit to help you assess your stress level

Manfred Kets de Vries at KnowledgeINSEAD:

Consider your life today and answer the following questions:

  1. Do you feel that your life is out of control and that you have too many things on your plate?
  2. Do you often feel confused, anxious, irritable, fatigued or physically debilitated?
  3. Are you having increased interpersonal conflicts (e.g. with your spouse, children, other family members, friends or colleagues)?
  4. Do you feel that negative thoughts and feelings are affecting how you function at home or at work?
  5. Is your work or home life no longer giving you any pleasure?
  6. Do you feel overwhelmed by the demands of emails, messaging tools and social media?
  7. Do you feel that your life has become a never-ending treadmill?
  8. Are you prone to serious pangs of guilt every time you try to relax?
  9. Have you recently experienced a life-altering event such as a change of marital status, new work responsibilities, job loss, retirement, financial difficulties, injury, illness or death in the family?
  10. When you are stressed out, do you feel that you have nobody to talk to?

If you have answered “yes” to most of these questions, stress might have started to build up. If you feel close to your breaking point, it’s high time to take action.

 

We are verbs, not nouns

In conversations with managers, I often hear people say something like “Well, I can’t help myself, that’s who I am, I’m” an engineer / a finance person / a lawyer, etc.

I share Stephen Fry’s consideration in The Guardian:

“We are not nouns, we are verbs.

I am not a thing – an actor, a writer – I am a person who does things – I write, I act – and I never know what I am going to do next.

I think you can be imprisoned if you think of yourself as a noun.”

A first-person account of switching from engineer to manager

David Chua on Medium:

“Don’t do it if you consider it a promotion. (…)

Also don’t do it if you want to micromanage or control your team members, or want the authority to correct bad behaviour. There are other ways to solve that problem that don’t involve switching your day-to-day work entirely. (…)

However,

If removing blockers, helping others to grow, building alignment across cross-functional teams, and resolving conflict is more fulfilling than writing code and solving technical challenges, then the management track is something you might enjoy”.

“The mindset of improving how your team functions, rather than giving up and trying to do everything yourself, is a key trait of a leader and team player. Having a fancy job title doesn’t make you a leader, and being the manager can in some ways make it harder to lead as people tend to build some distance between themselves and their managers.”

View at Medium.com