Last week’s New York Times article The Summer That Never Was got me to wondering how common author Tim Kreider’s experience is: his sense of foreboding and gloom, lost opportunities and lost time as autumn approaches. Pretty common, I’m guessing, based on a straw poll of my friends, and the fact that I felt that way once.
I don’t anymore, though.
To be sure, autumn has melancholy built into it. But there’s melancholy, and then there’s despair.
So that got me to wondering how invested people are in holding onto those bleak feelings. What if it were different? What if you were able to consistently meet the new season with contentment rather than despair?
As a nonprofit leader in need of staff, you may be tempted to hire a contractor (aka consultant) to fill a vacancy. Maybe you think it’ll be easier to get rid of the person if it doesn’t work out. Or perhaps you don’t have secure funding, and you don’t have the heart to let a person go. Temporary positions are a great way to let the candidate check the organization out and to let you check out the candidate. And the 1099s your accountant completes for your payments to an independent contractor are a lot less burden than the administration and cost of new employee hires (e.g., I-9, healthcare and retirement paperwork, unemployment taxes, worker’s compensation fund contributions, FICA taxes, paid breaks or medical leave).
But wait! Don’t do it.
By Vega Subramaniam
The onset of autumn always fills me with a sense of anticipation. I have a visceral response to the changes in the air that come with the start of the academic year. I was one of the lucky ones who experienced the thrill of shiny new school supplies, blank notebooks, new pencils and pencil cases. As a professor, I thrived on the energy and boisterousness of students returning to schools and campuses. And I always hoped that this year, I’d get it right, I’d excel, I’d rise to the challenge and meet my potential.
Even though I haven’t been a student — or a professor or university employee — for years, that spirit has never left me. The autumn air still signals potential, possibility, achievement. And it’s not just me.
When Vega or I tell people that we’ve held our own personal strategic planning retreat every year for the past 12 years, we’re apt to get curious, astonished looks. And as often as not, we’re asked what our secret is and how to get started.
In 2003, our lives were out of control. Besides working full-time, our days were filled with endless commitments to community work, to our friends, to organizing Trikone-Northwest – a queer South Asian space, and more. While we could have said ‘no,’ we often felt like everything was a ‘must-do.’ The consequence? We were not saying ‘yes’ to us.
…and what does this have to do with habit change?
Recently, I decided that I want to eat more vegetables. Actually, I want my meals to be vegetable-dominant. This is a new thing. For most of my life, my dominant food group was fried greasy things. When I would tell people that I’m vegetarian, they assumed that it was because I was ‘health-conscious.’ Um, no. The only thing health-conscious about me was…give me a minute, I’m sure I’ll think of something.
But when I went into business for myself, one thing was clear: if there was any hope for me, I had to make some pretty extreme lifestyle changes. I needed to keep my energy levels up. I needed to change my diet.
By Mala Nagarajan
How would your organization be affected? Are you ready?
Conditions outside your organization can make (or break) you. One systematic way of preparing for pivotal events is to conduct periodic environmental scans.
What is an environmental scan?
Glad you found us. We want to help you and your organization promote a healthy workplace culture and strong teams.
Mala tends to write about what she stays up at night thinking about: human resources, operations, and technology. Her conversations are with …