Back in the day, I was a environmental organizer for the PIRGs. I worked in Massachusetts, New Jersey, a stint in Maine and Pennsylvania, Maryland, and a bit in Colorado. Yes, I know, I got around a lot. This past week I was nominated by my supervisor to take a training called Stepping up to Supervision. It was a course designed to give folks a glimpse into what supervision is about since EPA is expecting a huge turnover in the next few years as people finally begin to retire. At first, I was confused about the training, actually expecting to be trained instead of discussing what it's like to be a leader. I began talking about how discussing is great, but really it's all about roleplaying, something I learned ad nauseum from my time w/ the PIRGs. We roleplayed and then we roleplayed and then we roleplayed some more. We also talked about how it's hard to deliver criticism, which I also learned to accept w/ open arms from the PIRGs. Every roleplay, every evaluation was a structured strength/improvement. Every improvement was paired w/ a strength. It definitely helped you take criticism and accept it.
So, throughout the discussion I'm telling folks about all of this stuff and after one of our breaks, this guy comes up to me. Now mind you, EPA is quite large. We cover 16 floors in our regional office, so it's no surprise that I don't know everyone. So, this guy asks who I organized for - I told him. Turns out, he was hired by CalPIRG back in '96 and was at organizer training w/ me in Boston. After further reflection (the next day), he told me that I did look familiar (amazing since I had long, straight, hippie-like hair and dress at the time). Makes sense since I was leading breakouts and such by that time. Funny how your past mixes w/ your future.
I thought this was interesting. As part of that training we had to do this 360 evaluation where folks evaluated you as a leader and in your job in general. Much of it was to be expected. All of the people oriented questions had high marks. At the end, folks could add their own anonymous comments. One commenter wrote, something about "when will Robin figure out what she wants to do when she grows up. Not that she has to, but I was just wondering." Too funny! Do I have to grow up? I don't want to, that's for sure. I like that my life and my career are constantly changing. Most folks have 5 careers in their life. I'm all about where life takes me. Of all the comments I received, that had to be the best one. Thanks!