Friday Letter, 10-21-16

It’s only October and I have the sense folks are feeling overwhelmed. To be frank, I am.  I am currently in Olympia attending the monthly president’s meeting.  As I write this letter on Thursday night, we have so far only talked about two topics.  We have considered what we are going to ask the legislature for and how we are going to do it.  As well, we have had a fairly animated conversation about ctcLink.

Each president, as we enter the room, always asks “How are you?” Being the honest guy that I am, I explain that my bucket is full and give a laundry list of things going on at Cascadia.  In turn, I have heard the same response from almost every colleague.  Everyone seems to be at the max.  Why?  Is this self-imposed or is this something more conspiratorial?

I shared this feeling with the Trustees this week, as I have with my colleagues and now with you, because I think it is important to be self-aware. It is important to know when you are reaching your limits of effectiveness and that as a leader you care about those you work with in the same way.  I recognize that our campus is pursuing multiple initiatives and the executive team as a whole is extremely concerned about pushing people passed the red line and into exhaustion, especially so early in the year.  Why are we feeling this way?

We are passionate people in pursuit of serving our students well and improving our service delivery.

  • ctcLink is driving people insane around the system. Our campus has a team of about 12 people who are working hard to get us prepared, even though we won’t launch until next year.
  • We have a small team working on delivering our inter-cultural competency initiative and a hope that our campus will engage. That takes time.
  • My.Cascadia is in the process of changing. Another team is working on that.
  • We have promised to engage the entire campus in how we will spend our better-than-expected allocation and the Budget Council will have extra meetings to help prepare the campus for that process.
  • Our emergency management team got into full action for the storm-that-never-was, which also illustrated things we need to continue working on this year.
  • Rosemary tirelessly leads a group of folks in our year-long assessment of the strategic plan…a process that never ends.
  • Campus committees are in full swing attempting to accomplish goals set last year.
  • In January we hope to launch a campus wide discussion on parking, and those discussions will need your attention.
  • And, among other things, many of us are dealing with staff vacancies. The faculty is missing Cathy Baker; I am missing Dede. Almost every one of us is somehow experiencing extra workload because we have a staff vacancy or are in the process of training new hires. This is a normal part of the Cascadia process, but it doesn’t mean it’s easy.

I ask that you rest and care for yourself. Get your flu shot, drink plenty of water, and take care of your body’s needs. Enjoy time with family and appreciate them. Find a way to let go of the stress and pursue it relentlessly. Say “no” sometimes. In order to get through the current wave of activity, we will all need to stay focused and support each other. If you haven’t received your Fall Pumpkin on one of last week’s green bucket visits (or if you have no clue what the Green Bucket is), stop by my office for a moment of happiness.

I have confidence that we will survive and Cascadia will be better for it. Have a great weekend.

3 thoughts on “Friday Letter, 10-21-16

  1. None of us do this profession out of greed.
    We do it out of the joy of being a facilitator for the success of others.
    When I find parts of my work to be overwhelming, I go looking for joy.
    Family and friends do this, but we need it in our work to sustain what we do.
    I find joy in watching the collaboration of my students in class, or seeing things “click” in a successful lab, or writing a recommendation for a former student.
    Take time to remember what brings you joy and take time to go get some.

  2. Your advice about rest, taking of ourselves, enjoying family time, and especially saying “no” sometimes is well-timed. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed and bogged down with work this quarter, and I think this is just what I needed to read right now. Thank you for the considerate reminder.

  3. I agree with Dave Reichgott, look for the little celebrations, find the joys happening all around us, even with the on-going stresses. I always feel better when I can celebrate and focus on good things. To add to the stated value of self-care I have a reminder for an on-campus option through the relaxation & meditation sessions offered by Samantha (Mondays and Thursdays from 12:25-12:50 in CC1-221). I always leave feeling so relaxed and ready to tackle the rest of my day. Thank you so much to Samantha for leading those, and for the powers that be for allowing her the time to lead them, my life would be much more frazzled without that little mid-day refresh-sesh. I look forward to it every week! 🙂

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