Posts Tagged ‘future’

Once upon a time, I met Tiffany Von Emmel on Twitter. A few tweets and meetings later, I am playing with her and the rest of the  Dreamfish team. Tiff’s got a great blog about women, and coworking, and social innovation, and the future of work. I like what she had to say today:

Women are talking… Tara Hunt wrote a blog post about the future of work involving this pattern of bridge-crossing domains. I heartfully agree. The future of work is all about transforming the box into networks.

For most of my professional life, I have struggled with THE BOX. I am sure many of you, men and women, can relate:

– Long hours spent in soul-less offices – Apologizing for my endless curiosity – Trying hard to be ‘professional’ – Wearing a suit – Juggling being a parent and working – Pleasing the bosses, and acting like one – Clocking it – Ignoring my body’s plea for a mid-day gym break – Working on meaningless, ‘important’ projects – Worrying about results first, people second – Feeling boxed in – Dreaming of a different life – 

Even more oppressing than the outside box, was the box inside, that part of me inherited from an old men’s world, that shrunk my feminine self:

Bye Bye Box
Bye Bye Box

Recently the box has given way to a more supple container, one that conforms to all of myself, and let me BE, at work, at home, out in the world. Fittingly, I changed my Linkedin profile to make room for my new liberation, proudly opening with a ‘Don’t try to squeeze me into a box. I won’t fit.’

Others are taking notice, and starting to react accordingly. Being themselves, and playing with me. I can’t tell you how good it feels. 

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Beth Kanter alluded to ‘reciprocity’ in her comment on yesterday’s post about micro-donors. The concept of reciprocity in the general area of social good, is one that has been on my mind for quite some time. A few weeks ago, I participated in a discussion on The Huffington Post, in response to Craig Newmark‘s post on “A Craigslist for Service”. In my comments, I drive home some key points about the old volunteering model, and what I see as the future of  ‘doing good’:

Marguerite – While it is true that service does increase individual happiness up a notch, it is, as you point out early in your post, not an option for the increasingly large, disenfranchised segment of the population. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is an apt framework. As times grow more and more dire, I would like to suggest another twist on the service idea, that relies on the trading of services, rather than traditional volunteering. I see a huge opportunity in the service enabling infrastructure space, to facilitate such bartering of goods and services. This is why Craigslist is such a great model. I also like the mutuality involved in bartering of services, a model that it is inherently more respectful of each individual’s need to be valued. One psychological aspect of the volunteering model that has not been looked at enough, is the subtle negative effect of being on the receiver’s end. We all need to feel that we have something to give. I may be homeless, but give me a job to do, like working at the city recycling center, and I will gladly accept a hot meal and shelter in return. I may be a single mom with four kids, barely making it in the poor part of town, but ask me to participate in a babysitting co-op so that I can have time to go to school and get the skills I need to get a job. You get the picture.

DragonMama – great minds think alike – i suggested to my local democrats club at the first meeting after the election that what we need are “childcare co-opts for change” or at least playdates for change. i have so many friends with small children who just can’t afford to pay a babysitter so they can participate in the civic/volunteer engagement things (tho my personal preference is to bring my kids – ages 4 and 1 – with me whenever possible… how else are they going to learn to be good citizen participants?). people who were school-aged during the Regan administration seem to have been very strongly indoctrinated with the “asking for help is a sign of weakness or failure” mentality, to the point that we almost need to hit rock bottom before we ask for the smallest bit of help, and we have a hard time accepting it even when it’s freely offered WITHOUT our having to ask for it. I’ve grown up physically challenged so I got over it, but even I tend to wait too long to ask for help or even delegate a task. I know very few people under the age of 45 who are any good at delegating tasks or other forms of cooperative effort. It’s a skill we desperately need to learn, not just for the good of the country but also for our own mental health.

Loria – DragonMama,
That is a great idea. I am fortunate. My kids are in school and old enough to take care of themselves. I work, but not fulltime. But, I have friends who want to volunteer, yet they have young children. A coop for volunteers is a good option for them. You are right. It will also teach their children from a very young age of the importance of giving back.

LaurieR – Some wonderful points, Marguerite. A “handout” often diminishes the person it’s meant to help. People in “reduced circumstances” need to feel like they’re a part of the world around them, not invisible… or even worse, a liability. (Geez, I think I’ve been possessed by the spirit of RFK today. Which is hardly a bad thing!)

Marguerite – It is time to reexamine the values handed down to us, from well-meaning, patriarchal organizations, that are relying on hierarchical, top down, them vs. us, type of model. Language is important, as is the – often implied – transactional framework that’s being used.

Thanks DragonMama, Lorie R, and Loria, for chiming in. From now on, let’s give everyone equal opportunity to do good.

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I am learning lots from email exchanges amongst our green mom bloggers’ group. This week, the question was raised of how to cast the greening of Thanksgiving under a fresh new way? I latched on to the ‘fresh’ part of the question and voiced that we were past the “10 Tips to a Greener Thanksgiving”. One of the moms disagreed. 

I agree that it’s boring, but I think people still need to hear the basics sometimes.  Repetition might be the only way to help people realize they are capable of making small changes.  It may take years of hearing this stuff for my husband’s family to realize that buying “local” doesn’t mean running out to the nearest Harris Teeter for their prepared turkey and fixings all packaged up in nice little plastic containers!!!

Our exchange highlights a much bigger issue. Three years since the release of “An Inconvenient Truth”, what are the most effective strategies to spread the green message? As green communicators, are we to continue as usual, with our various how-to bits, or are we to adopt radically different approaches?

The advertising people tell us we are to pay attention to the following factors for effective communication:

  1. First is recall, or the ability for people to remember the message
  2. Second is persuasion, or the effectiveness of the message in persuading people to change their behaviors
  3. Third is repetition, the number of time a message is impressed upon people’s minds; we know repetition contributes to recall
At stake in our green discussion, is the issue of persuasion. If we are going to drill a green message into the reluctant citizen’s mind, what should it be? Realizing that the same citizen is currently up to here with worries about his or her financial future. This is why I no longer advocate green admonitions. The way to go in my book, is through the connection with economic concerns. In other words, do not talk green. Instead, explore ways to save, and to survive in our dicey economy.

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Chaos is scary. When faced with uncertainty and doom, our first reaction is to want to control. Imagine for a second, that we are still masters of the universe. And can, will whip our climate and other natural phenomena, into shape. Dammit!

Maybe now is the time, to stop deluding ourselves. Like the addicts that we are, shouldn’t we admit, finally, to our powerlessness. And embrace the reality that is being thrown at us. Oil, more and more elusive and out of our range. Food, no longer so abundant. Water, soon to become like gold. Bees refusing to pollinate.  Angry mobs rising all over, because life is not fair.

I imagine a future when we will be in charge of our destiny, again. Until then, let us surrender, and let go of our addiction.

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