Thursday, March 10, 2011

So long, farewell....

For the past few months, I have been winding up my business, while also looking for a 'proper' job. The business was officially/legally wound up yesterday. But I am still hunting for alternative employment.

Since I am not currently working in the field of L&D, it strikes me as being somewhat hypocritical to keep sharing my perspectives here. I don't feel as if I have anything to offer the practising L&D professional from here, and I would feel rather like the couch potato yelling advice at the honed athlete on the screen.

Things advance so quickly in this field, that my firsthand experience will quickly be outdated.

So, for now, I am putting this blog on hold. Should the day ever come when I am back in the saddle, you will no doubt see me back here again.

I'd like to thank you for your company on my journey. Particularly those who have stuck by me since the very beginning, those who comment here, on Facebook and on Twitter... and those of you who email me or phone me to give me a blast when I say something you don't agree with. It has all been a rich and exciting learning tapestry.

Happy hunting.

I argue because I care...

If you saw a woman walking down the street with her skirt caught in her knickers, obviously as a result of a post-restroom-visit 'wardrobe malfunction', would you tell her? No? Why not? If the woman was your wife/mother/sister/daughter, would you tell her?

What's the difference?

If you overheard a stranger at a bus stop saying they were going to X place, and then noticed that they were about to get onto the wrong bus, would you tell them?

If the harried mother in front of you drops her child's shoe, do you pick it up and return it to her?

If someone is unknowingly making an absolute prat of themselves in public, can you sit there and laugh at them?

If your best friend's spouse/partner is cheating on them, do you tell them?

If you're in a conversation and someone makes cites a piece of information that you absolutely know to be inaccurate, do you contradict them?

To me it's all the same thing. If you care enough about that person, you tell them. You overcome your own embarrassment, your own distaste for confrontation, your own cultural dictates and you let them know. If they choose to continue along that chosen path, at least you can be sure that they are making an informed choice.

I am often told that I am argumentative. What people don't realise is that I argue because I give a damn. Seriously. I don't set out to be difficult. It matters to me. All of it. I want you to know that we have recently discovered that the earth is round, that it revolves around the sun, that learning styles are bogus, and that your fly is open. I want to perform the Heimlich manoeuvre on you when you're choking and I can't stand around and watch you embarrass yourself in public.

So let's say I make a strong statement and you go off and mutter to your friends/colleagues about how misinformed I am, but you don't tell me how misinformed I am. When I find out about it, I am going to assume it's because you don't care enough to set me straight. To engage with me. To argue with me, even.

Is my fly open?

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

When it all comes together by fluke

You may or may not know that I have signed up for the 365 project this year. The plan was to restore a sense of balance after the disastrous tail end of last year skewed my perspective on the whole year. When I come to look back on 2011, if there is pictorial evidence of the wonders of some days and the total ordinariness of others, perhaps the bleak days will seem less significant. That's the theory, anyway.

Initially, I set out just to capture a moment from each day, journal style. But then I saw the quality of some of the work in other people's projects and found myself trying to emulate their standards, when I had neither the equipment nor the skills to do so. After a few failed days of that nonsense, I reminded myself to 'run my own race' and went back to the photo journal idea. I chose to follow other members with the same sort of approach, to keep things in perspective.

But yesterday, I surprised myself.

I took my dog for a walk along the River Nene that runs through our town, and took photos as I went. If you're a Facebook friend, you can see the whole set. When I got home, I popped the camera card into my laptop to look at the photos and was really very impressed with the result. Even with just a little point and shoot (Kodak DX6490) my first picture of the day turned out to be as near perfect as anything I have ever done.

The water looks wonderful. The swan is beautifully positioned and reflected. The pose is perfect - like something out of a fairytale. There is even, if you look really closely, a single drop of water that has fallen off the end of the bird's beak and landed with a sploosh in the river - that sploosh is captured exactly at the moment of landing.

So there are two ways of looking at this.

Either: I have no idea how I achieved that, so I learned nothing. This is entirely true.

Or: I have stumbled upon evidence that I can actually do good work. Really good work. Knowing that I can, inspires me to try to do it again... only on purpose next time.

A little accidental success goes a long way.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Social media etiquette conundrum

From time to time, I have noticed an interesting development in the space where face-to-face relationships bump into online relationships. In my extensive network are many people whom I know both on- and off-line. In some cases it was online first and then a personal encounter. In others it was the other way around. Some of the relationships are purely personal, others are largely professional. Some have become a blend of both.

I have noticed that some of the people with whom I have both and on- and off-line relationship are competent at conducting a single relationship in two spaces. Others less so. In some cases, there is a strange split. There is one relationship going on online and another offline, and that it seems to be 'not done' to break that wall. So you might have an exchange of messages online in which something deep and tragic is shared, or a disagreement is aired but the next time you see each other, no reference will be made to he online conversation, and there seems to be no enhanced understanding demonstrated offline based on the revelation online.

I recently had an experience that has puzzled and bemused me. Totally by chance, I discovered that I have been 'unfriended' on Facebook by someone I encounter face to face on a regular basis. Her behaviour towards me does appear to have shifted very slightly, but superficially the 'all is well' signals are being beamed bright and clear. She has given me no indication as to what the problem might be, which has left me unsure as to how I should behave toward her.

I recently felt compelled to unfriend someone on Facebook that I have known since childhood, although we were never close. However, before doing so, I made it clear that it was due to her repeatedly aggressive behaviour towards my other FB friends on my page. She might not agree that I had just cause, but at least she knows what it was that caused me to reach this decision.

In the situation where the boot is on the other foot, I am totally clueless, and it leaves me feeling disempowered and slightly bewildered.

My relationship with my husband has many facets, but it is one relationship. We talk on the phone and continue that conversation when he gets home. I forward an email to him from the school, we exchange emails a few times, and then perhaps pick up the phone. We interact on Facebook, as we comment on photographs, one another's status updates and so on, and tease each other about that when we meet up. We connect in many spaces, but it remains one relationship. If he suddenly stopped talking to me, or touching me, the rest of the relationship would be affected. Of course, it would. And I would be looking to find out why. But here we have someone who is prepared to sever one aspect of a relationship and to continue the others as if nothing had changed, without discussing the action.

In cases where people pursue two separate relationships with me, I have come to regard that as a sign of an inability to assimilate an online space into an existing relationship. An indication that there is a level of maturity still to be gained. By and large, this two relationship experience tends to be restricted to those for whom social media tools are little more than toys.

I am struggling to formulate this as cogently as I would like, but I would be interested to learn whether others have had similar experiences.