You all know I’m “nomadic” with my ideas, my career, my life choices and my parenting styles. I used to feel ashamed about the number of roles I had, concerned if people would whisper all the little garbage statements that one assumes are being said (when in truth, no one really cares THAT much about what every person on the planet is doing, so probably a little more insecure than I really should be). Anyway, I moved companies in late January/early February and have earned, what I consider to be, a “life altering” opportunity. This role has enabled me to see different regions of the world, meet dozens of new clients, take part in a business that I have loved for years and my new employer likes the fact that I’ve been nomadic, which is a plus.
I spent last week in New York City, the week before that in Cleveland and the two weeks before that in London, so needless to say, I’ve had a bit of time to do what I’m best at…THINK.
As I left NYC and came back to Detroit to see my family (in preparation for a trip to California next week), I began thinking about ways the work world has changed since I started my career in 1995. We have iPhones, Blackberries, Droids (which give us Google maps, Words with Friends, Facebook, etc) and it also gives us email, conference calls, report reviews and business decisions in multiple time zones and in multiple regions of the world. As my friends at PwC used to say to me, work is now a thing- not a place! How true they were.
My new professional world is filled with 5am calls to Manila, 9pm calls with Singapore and we’ll squeak the US and the UK into the middle somewhere. This is when my psyche whispered in my ear… “Don’t ever forget about how you got here”. A bit sentimental, my psyche, so as I thought and thought about the importance of that statement, I remembered watching a documentary on the American author, Fran Lebowitz. Fran is 60+, lives in NYC, doesn’t own a Blackberry or iPhone or Droid and she has made a living doing something I try to do (entice people to read and incite people to debate) with the power of words.
Fran stated that she noticed we are a generation and a society that is now everywhere at the same time. I think she was referring to how the incessant use of smart phones, conference call lines and other technology is taking us away from basic human to human interaction. She noticed people walking the streets of NYC, buried in their devices, and not taking in the sounds, smells and activity of one of the greatest cities on the planet. Yes, we might be enjoying dinner with our family, but are we really enjoying dinner with the family or the funny ecard posted on Facebook? Are you really giving your best thoughts to your clients and colleagues or are you more focused on clearing out your inbox? How many times have you entered a local “watering hole” and noticed friends enjoying “happy hour”, but none of them are talking to one another? See…aren’t we everywhere (restaurants, vacations, meetings, golf courses), but nowhere too (Facebook, Words with Friends, email, etc)? I’ve done all of the above, so I guess I’m a bit everywhere & nowhere too.
I don’t want to be that way (plain & simple). When you talk to me, I want to give you my attention and listen. When I talk with you, I want healthy debate and discussion in return, so please get your nose out of the “cloud” for a few minutes. Even though I feel like technology has offered us some of the most amazing advances known to man (one amazing, but selfish advancement…wireless hot spots, which enabled me to work from Manistee, Michigan and stare at Lake Michigan while discussing the latest in Recruitment Process Outsourcing strategies with my colleagues this weekend). My point brings me back to that crazy little voice I tend to hear 4 or 5 times per day (nah- I don’t think I need meds yet, I rather enjoy talking with and to that voice). Let’s spend some time and focus on the reflection that takes us back to how we got to where we sit. Who were the people that helped shape us, mould us and form us into the people we are today (and the people we’ll become in the future)? When one starts to think about this list – it becomes an emotional, humbling, overwhelming, and, for me, very spiritual exercise. After all…I believe that we are on a journey that isn’t one we map, it has been mapped for us and we’ll keep making choice after choice until we arrive at the destination intended for us. Let me use the rest of my typing time to thank those people who have shaped me. Some of you might know each other, some of you may be strangers, but ALL of you have played an instrumental role in my life.
The reality is, and as much as Fran Lebowitz might laugh, we’ll keep on using the advancements we receive from the technology world. My point here is…let’s not forget about how important it is for people to pay attention to the other people who have helped them achieve through life (and for God’s sake, if you happen to be with one of those people- right now- don’t text them, hug them). In short, GET OFF THE TECHNOLOGY and think for a few minutes about those who have impacted you and then, of course, pick up that technology and text a few people or post a few kind words on Facebook to let those around you know that you are thinking of them.
Mom, Dad, Josh, Seth, Deena, Chuck McShane, Kevin Fisher, Tony, Judy, LJ, Aunt Janet, Deanna Ayers, Sharon, Sharon I, Mark Penrose, Jeff Bugg, Eric Snow, Randy Nickel, Brad Dzon, Pam Berklich, Debbie Robbins, Joe Wiesner, Brad Peters, Molly, Jeff Joner, Keri, Amy Casai, Steve Liverance, Margaret Hunter, The Hollis and Cyndi show, John J May III, Tiffany Leiter, Adam C, Georgie, David, Aaron, Katie, Adriana, Wendy, Deanna, Kimberly, Meg, Lydia, Andrew, Father Ozzie, Braeden, Brecken, Jillian, Rob McShane & Steve Ali, Amy Bush, Jerry Collier, Tanya, Jillyan, Forbsey, Chiacchia, Mike Murphy, Aaron Sikora, Cleb, K. Rubis & Al Lewis, Lori McColl, Balestrieri, Buck, Campbell, Thorpe, Pieknik-Lybik duo, Kathy Schmidt, Eleanor Josaitis, All the “grandpeeps”, Arends clan, Miss Julie, Paulo Coehelo, The kid in Catcher in the Rye, Viktor Frankl, Hannah, Rachel Kristensen & your hubby, Norm, Kim Knapp, Bjorn & his wife, all the dudes who lived in the basement of DX-and all of your wives too.
It would take me a full day to type the individual ways each of you has helped me (and like my wife would do…please don’t focus on the order in which you appear -you are all very important to me). You inspired me, challenged me, coached me, were patient with me, stuck by me, beat on me, hazed me and the list goes on…regardless, you have helped me and I feel like I owe it back to you and all those I meet in the future, in spades.
And getting back to technology- If you really want to know how you impacted me, shoot me a text or drop me a note on Facebook and we’ll have a “hug it out” moment… TTYL, LOL, #ireallyloveyoutechnology.