Happy Labor Day, from Victoree


Rosie The Riviter Honor Labor poster

Rosie says…

It’s the last party of the summer. It’s the holiday before we hang up our bathing suits and face the fact that last fall’s clothes don’t fit. After the heartburn from the hot dogs is long gone, we launch into the matter of school–beginning with, “what is school for?”

trinity-knot-clipart-1Whether we in this society state it clearly enough, consider that an active, successful producer in the workforce is the end product of schooling. We go to school to go to work and expect to work darned hard, too. Here’s a twist on that from the founder of Mindvalley,  Vishen Lakhiani. Over the years, industry has uncoupled itself from any responsibility for training and the task floated to education to basically prepare new entrants to the workforce. So, education and industry work hand in hand (or they used to). Instead, Industry and Education became like long-married people who grow apart over the years. This is why companies grumble when they discover they have acquired new hires who do not “come up to spec”. They feel somehow that they have been “cheated” and the schools have “failed” because the product they were promised never shows up. The relationship of school and industry is essentially a provider-consumer relationship. Then, we as a society hope that the schools we release our precious youth to, these educational expert partners we support with our taxes will somehow accomplish this:

  •  turn out good, patriotic citizens
  • caring, concerned parents
  • generally moral people

Yes, I said, “turn out”, because, let me repeat, the unspoken social contract school has with industry is that school will do the workforce preparation and industry will provide the employment. Religious institutions have the job of providing the moral piece. However, something has happened to “the triple knot” of home, school and business.

Whether you will be returning to school, college or work, remember on Labor Day (before the heartburn after that hamburger) that an honest day’s labor is an honorable thing to be celebrated. Work is not a curse. It is a blessing.

Happy Labor Day, from Victoree

 

 

 

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Victoree Takes A Lap!


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51tlCigbjwL._SX295_BO1,204,203,200_My 62nd birthday was this past week and usually, I have an annual personal retreat. That’s when I take a long, hard look at my life and plan the steps for any course corrections and adjustments to honor the past year’s learning on the journey. It’s also a celebration of survival. You can say it’s a “Victoree lap”. This year I am extending this blessed time because it is a major  “passage”/transition point in my life. I have decided to retire early and to complete the career shape shift I have been working on for the past 5 years or so. So, let me bust just one more myth today, namely:

People stop growing after adolescence.

Bull.

Even if we somehow missed Gail Sheehy’s “Passages” and “Menopause…”, we should understand this today more than ever because of dealing with the effects of the boom generation’s now heading into retirement. Growth, development and change continue throughout an entire lifetime. Adulthood itself has several stages. Our generally longer lifespan has spawned an entire new industry centered upon the other stages of adulthood. (hint–it’s not all about nursing homes and cemeteries). Here’s the thing: many places in society are unprepared to use the knowledge and did not heed certain warnings/predictions that were clearly and unmistakably written in bold letters across the sky. We are going to take a little side trip to explore this subject in the next series of thoughts.

As we dismiss New Professionals summer camp we prepare for the reopening of the academic year. Harvest time is just ahead and we must see what is ready to be gathered in.  At last, if you are a “moon child” and celebrating your birthday with me, a very blessed and happy birthday to you too!

Industrial Myth #3:College Teaches All


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2016…S.O.S. (Same Old Stuff)

SURPRIZE!

SOME OF THE MOST VALUABLE STUFF IS NEVER TAUGHT IN SCHOOL.

There is still much emotionally charged discussion about exactly what role education is supposed to play in a society like the USA. Period. Some say college is for training certain youth for their professions. If true, what about the sizable number of college grads who never go anywhere near what they majored in. Again, another group of grads gets into the “chosen profession” only to find out they are a match made in hell.

It was that way with me and classroom teaching. Originally trained as an elementary school teacher–6 years of study and tears–I went off to bag my first teaching job after graduation. In my neighborhood, teaching was a respected profession so smart young women went to normal school. After my first career in Journalism fizzled out, I went to “plan B”.

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Three failed classrooms later, I agreed with a teacher mentor in one school and a professor that perhaps my decision was not well thought out. I became depressed when they told me I would not be a very good traditional teacher(I was going to become one of those infamous “bad teachers” politicians have spun into legend). Had I wasted all that time and the government’s money? I did all that research so this would not happen to me!)  Then, I struck upon the idea that just maybe all the exploratory intelligence I had collected on my personality and my passions through professional and casual testing was not totally wrong. Yes, there I do have a teaching streak, but not one colored for the traditional classroom setting.

The knowledge I gained about myself; having a seeking spirit; a hunger to learn: these are things school hardly acknowledges exists at all, but very essential to the life of professionals. I’m through with the angst part, but if you want more of a view of the inside of what it is like to be twenty and in the throes of acquiring wisdom about your self and your profession; questioning everything you ever learned or thought to be real, please take a look over at All Groan Up with Paul Angone on You Tube.

Industrial Myth 1: Career Fail Is Bad Luck


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Good morning, campers!

Today we will start our talk about Industrial Mythology. These are the tales we tell ourselves about working, originally dutifully passed down from generation to generation. Oh, the injustices laid at the door of Fortuna! (an image of the Roman goddess of luck, Fortuna, appears for you)  As if life was a thing that simply happens to people!

Here’s the truth: If you let life blow you around like a piece of driftwood, it will do just that. Yes, you will end up on some beach somewhere.

As a kid, I believed that somehow the winds of Fortune would magically blow me toward my “dream job”.  I believed in the myth of the “career ladder”. Just “start somewhere” and climb up from the bottom. This belief was the driver. All I did was unquestioningly follow lock-step grade to grade winning A after A and B after B. I was an excellent student. I got to the honor society, but I was totally unprepared for life after high school graduation (so, I went to college). By becoming life’s flotsam I handed my fate gift wrapped to the winds. Then, I complained to myself and commiserated with everybody who would listen about how “Life didn’t turn out the way I imagined it” and how all my teachers lied to me about “how things should be”.

The emotional reward was a seething sense of resentment against school which goaded my sense of “righteousness” into high gear. Feeling superior. Nothing like it in the world…The amazing thing is how many people in 2016, in the early 21st century still hang on to this tattered old medieval belief that a human being’s life is in somebody/something else’s control. This is straight out of that basic “crap-app” package that the “social factory”(the culture) installs into maturing mental operating systems (you).By merely “drifting” through life with fingers crossed you are handing your powers to decide what happens to you to Fortune’s tides. Next time, we’ll talk about how to “hack” Luck and make that driftwood into a surfboard.

 

The Ego And Ali


muhammad_ali_quoteMuhammad Ali is gone and now the world has a hole in it. When I was a child my mom and several other adults in  my neighborhood disliked this man who declared, “I am the greatest!” Back then, Nice Colored People never took on the “way things were” barefaced like Cassius Clay did. Then, he disrupted proper social order and changed his name to Muhammad Ali! Surely, he and that Rev. King in Georgia were going to get all of us in trouble in America. Women never talked back to their fathers and husbands either. That was sin in the skin! Until my early teens, I parroted my elders’ 1950’s ideas about race, color and gender as if they were my own. But they were not my own.

You see, being an introspective, wallflower of a girl, I believed that only men had “egos” which had to be dutifully tended like orchids by all the women in their lives–wives, sisters, girlfriends or whatever you were to the man. Oh, yes. Women were a “whatever”. Standing above and apart, I, the Princess Morally Puritan Purest of all, certainly did not have this “ego” that if in any way was insulted, would ruin me for life or something like in “Gremlins”.

Then, one day, click! I looked at the boxer; I listened to the boxer and I began to look closely at the so-called ancient wisdom about who I could never be or do. It seemed there was always some reason I could not succeed based on something I was born with:my skin was too dark; my hair was too kinky; my torso was too short; my feet were too flat; on and on.Then, to top it all off, I was born female. Doomed! Doomed forever to live chained to a man whose ego I had to stoke like a fireman on a steam engine.

Thanks to Mohammad Ali I re-examined all my hand-me-down beliefs and got abundantly clear about exactly what I did believe about race, gender roles, and most of all about my Self. Mirror, mirror on the wall; who has one of the biggest egoes of all? It was an ugly truth that began my journey of soul growth.

I do not agree with all Muhammad Ali’s ideas, but I certainly thank him for helping many of us de-mythologize our beliefs and de-colonize our minds. May you rest in peace, my brother. Salaam.

The One Skill New Grads Will Use Most


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My English teacher told me in high school that I probably would not make a living at all as a poet, though pithy words on paper sprang like a primal spring  out of me. That was the day I purposed to go into journalism, the left-sided sister of poetry. All I knew in my heart of hearts was that words on paper was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. How was I going to get it done? What I did not know was what I did not know. The one skill everybody will use after formal classroom days are done is seeking: mining sources for information on which to base the decisions we make in life.

Upon graduating from high school, unlike Malia Obama, I went straight into university intending to grow my embryonic career through acquiring the explicit skills necessary to become a professional writer. I considered Columbia Journalism School because the place is literally enmeshed in the publishing industry. Back then, before I knew anything about networking, I had an inkling that whatever profession you wanted to be into, it was a good idea to be where its denizens were rife. I was a quiet, dreamy soul who thought I was channeling Ida B. Wells. I had no idea what becoming a professional journalist meant in real terms except from television and radio. I had no idea what people like Barbara Walters suffered as a woman in journalism. Back then, blacks in journalism were almost unheard of. I had serious knowledge gaps and I had to fill them myself.

The nearest and dearest do not always make the best sources of information. Nobody warned me away or opposed my burying myself in researching best journalism schools on the east coast. Nobody I ever heard of in my neighborhood ever escaped “the ‘hood”to become anything other than homemakers, teachers or preachers. Education and the gospel ministry were good, solid professions. Broadway, The Washington Post and NBC were not. My Sunday school teacher told me point blank that the theatrical stage was not a good career choice for a Christian young lady. My high school guidance counselors never suspected that the newspapers and broadcasting was behind all that “looking it up”. They probably just figured I was just being my personality test-perfect bookish self. Perhaps they were thinking to recommend to my parents that I be  submitted to therapy to treat my introversion.

Did I go to journalism school? Yes, but not to Columbia. One of the reasons for this “fail” was not having information enough to make a strong case before my parents.

New professionals; dearest readers, information rules.One of the skills any new grad will use most often after formal classroom is  this: where and how to access and extract needed information from the mounds of information dug up. You will use this information to make the billions of little decisions every day such as where to work, political affiliation, diet, personal style, and how to create a life.

 

 

Skills You Got In School Worth Gold


 

new-college-grad-quoteNow that you have graduated from formal education, campers, all kinds of advice will be flying at you from all directions at light speed.

What you learned in school, at home and anywhere else is not the “whole truth”.

No one source on earth can ever be the sole font of truth. You have to test for the truth in all things for yourself. I have always made this a rule of thumb: Don’t believe everything you hear and half of what you see. In fact, right now, you may be questioning everything you have ever heard and doubting the validity of everything you have ever learned anywhere. You may even be disillusioned about the value of it all. Good! 

You are now synthesising knowledge for practical application to your life.

It’s a flashing headache! Don’t blame yourself for not understanding that life is like a 2 thousand piece puzzle scattered all over the floor without even a pencil drawing to guide you in putting it together.  Up to now, you probably learned math for math class and writing skills for English class. You were so busy earning good grades to pass the test to pass the course to get to the next higher course that you never thought about how to make a sensible whole of apparently unconnected information. School just crossed their fingers and hoped you would “get it” bye and bye–about the time you graduate. However, certain things you picked up in school are essential to the rest of your life. Such as…

  • Research: gathering information from many sources
  • Decision Making: justifying making a move based upon the results of your research
  • Focused attention: the ability to stay with an idea over an extended period of time until you get results. Focused attention is the one skill you will use to become an expert at what you do for a living. It is also the basic skill you will use to create what is called, “flow” –closely tied with cultivating a happy, satisfying life.

Congratulations on your graduation. Now, nobody but you have the responsibility to make wise decisions on your own about everything from maintaining good health to keeping a social life. Digging for and handling all kinds of information from unbelievably diverse sources is an essential life skill you will use the rest of your life. You see, formal education was just imbibing what society is obligated to hand down to you. That’s just background. You now stand at the place of the beginning of your real education.

 

 

 

Free At 18! 6 Ideas To Rear Kids For Success


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Campers, this is the part of the program where The Administration makes its statement of the main idea and the “purpose driver” of this intercession.

In the summertime of my life, I was doing motherhood and at the same time preparing to teach elementary school. In those days, I struck upon the idea that bound my child rearing methodology together like a strong cord in a single statement: free at 18. This is what it means:

As “On Children by Kahlil Gibran “The Prophet”” by Kahlil Gibran says,

“Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you,

And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you”.

  1. A parent’s job is to help the souls they bring into the world  to recover their heaven-given mandate and encourage their highest development before they depart from your immediate influence or “leave home” as it is commonly called.
  2. Progressively deepening, age-stage appropriate, positive life lessons in all areas of being human should be taught by example and by precept  using direct instruction, modeling and other ways and in several modalities. This is a parent’s mandate.
  3.  At specific times and at the end of life, an accounting of the satisfaction of the responsibility for this mandate will be required.
  4. The child has the right during their lifetime to question how she was reared and why.
  5. Educational systems exist as “experts” in  the intellectual training  portion of child rearing, acting as assistants to parenting. Schools should never be seen as taking the place of parents.
  6. Your children are spirit beings just as you are and have come to the earth with their own heavenly mandate just as you have yours.

 

 

 

 

Summer Camp:Welcome To The Workplace Jungle!


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Hello, Campers! Today is New Career Day.

Here’s an intergenerational conversation starter. Do you want to survive the first 90 days of your first job? Do you want to be tagged as “has potential”? Do you want not to be “firing fodder”? First, let’s talk about your head:

Get this: You are now just one more jobless adult.

If you did not get recruited into a job through those campus recruiters you met last month (will meet this month)you now have an identity situation in this society. The day you pried those cute but impossibly uncomfortable new shoes off your swollen feet, you became a grownup.You are not a student anymore. You are a grownup–an unemployed, jobless grownup. Go to “finding and keeping a job”, our next class. Suppose you did get recruited? Congrats! You are now a  first job, bottom-of-the box, new employee.

You are a newbie. New employees are paid newbie money.

I hope you did not expect to get the salary your supervisors get. Yes, they have been out of university  so long everybody on Facebook looks like kids to them. You look like a kid to them. Your business now is to prove yourself to them. You have to work a while (a year or so) and get successive positive performance reviews to get pay raises. It’s called, “paying your dues”, “longevity” or “tenure”. Oh, and yes, when you were quoted your salary, you were introduced to a few other new words: “compensation package”, for starters. That includes your pay, your perks, and your “bennies”(benefits), not just your adjusted pay. If you look at your check you may note that your take home pay is what you get minus Social Security, state, and federal income taxes taken out of your gross pay.

The Office of Personnel takes care of your issues now. 

Notice that  you are a new employee as opposed to an applicant. You may or may not have been informed of all this means except in the short orientation where you got all those pretty brochures and smelly papers to sign. I hope you were not asleep. Another thing–watch what you sign and what you check off on those forms. Read all that stuff about your insurance plan, payroll savings plan, profit sharing, union dues and the like very carefully. Ask Personnel questions about anything  you do not understand because they affect your check too.

Welcome to The Work Place Jungle!

Finals Are Coming! Graduates Ready?


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Welcome to Victoree’s Workplace Summer camp!

It’s the middle of April and that can only mean one thing–finals are coming.  This little season just after spring break and before final exams is dedicated to the fine art of “life readiness”. The next several posts will be dedicated to the flood of newbies coming to the workplace who will find out soon enough exactly what school never prepares young people for. Mama is going to “break it down” to optimize the chances of workplace survival. It’s a mimi cram course–sort of like an “interim semester”, so keep what you need and toss what you don’t.

Welcome to Life Skills Summer Camp–the early edition.