I and Thou: Lavender & Time

Hustling, bustling, weary with achy soles,
Massage and soothe our inner souls.

Sprinkle us with lavender and thyme,
As we enter into this sacred time.

Instead of focusing on wrapping presents,
Prepare us to enter a holy presence.

Frail, empty, lost, and weak,
Guide us through another week.

Fill the hallowed, dark hole,
Repair the damage to make us whole.

Restore our hearts piece by piece,
And grant us never-ending peace.

Image Credit: Lankford Associates Landscape Architects

I and Thou: The Labor of a Diamond Part 1.

Photo Credit: found on https://www.thermofisher.com/blog/mining/the-diamond-shortage-the-hunt-for-kimberlite-and-new-high-quality-synthetics/

Diamonds and The Old Boys’ Network

Have you ever wondered about diamonds? Why are they precious and rare? How do they form? And what about the diamond that has been in your family for generations? You may even wonder what in the world diamonds and The Old Boys’ Network have in common. When I was reading about diamonds, it reminded me of The Old Boys Network. Both seem to have been around for eons and each have bonding qualities. It does make a bit of sense, doesn’t it? Let’s first take a peek at diamonds.

Diamonds are complicated. I mean, over the top, engineering complicated because of its billion-year origin. According to The Smithsonian Magazine, “Diamonds are made of carbon, so they form as carbon atoms under a high temperature and pressure; they bond together to start growing crystals…[and]…are formed deep within the Earth about 100 miles or so below the surface in the upper mantle… There’s a lot of pressure, the weight of the overlying rock bearing down, so that combination of high temperature and high pressure is necessary to grow diamond crystals in the Earth.” (2006). 

And how do these diamonds make it to the surface of the Earth? Volcanoes. Fascinating, isn’t it? If any of these interests you, I would recommend researching the topic. It is simply brilliant!

The temperature.

The pressure.

The eruption.

The “pipes.”

As carbon atoms bond to crystals, which in turn become diamonds, I couldn’t help but think of how young men bond with more experienced men through The Old Boy’s Network. I wondered whether it was still alive and well. And if it was, what impact has it had on the labor force?

Frankly, I was surprised to learn Zippia reported a whopping 31.5% of today’s CEOs are female, while 68.5% are men. In 2010 females were at 26.27%. Yet, it is all a bit misleading when Quantic reports that 8.9% of Fortune 500 companies are females. That paints a very different story! I remember from my Stat I & II courses that you can make numbers support whatever you want. However, I will leave that topic for a future post. Men know this network is alive and well, especially at the upper-tier management level. You, ladies, know what I’m talking about. It’s no wonder that diamond relics remind me of the “old boy’s network.”

Stevens Institute of Technology, a historically male engineering school, accepted its first female class in 1971, representing 3% of the student population. In 1982, the first sorority appeared at Stevens; today, there are five. In fall 2021, Stevens enrolled 30% females and 70% males in its programs. It was equally compelling to see Stevens’ enrollment numbers parallel almost identically to CEOs’ male / female ratios. Kudos to Stevens!

This brings me back to the “old boy’s network.” What, then, is at play here? 

Networking

The infamous “they” said that 80% of all job hires came from networking decades ago. A quick browser search shows that the new number is between 70-85%. Quite striking to find out that even after all these years, networking is still a valuable tool in the job hunt. So, what is networking? Networking is a touch. It is a broad-based reaching catch-all phrase encompassing trying to connect with anyone who can hire you or knowing someone who can. It is very much like the Faberge shampoo commercial of 1986…”And they’ll tell two friends…And so on…And so on…And…” A modern-day LinkedIn.

Mentoring

When you speak to women who were trailblazers in their fields, they point to the importance of mentors. Mentors helped cultivate their knowledge into practical leadership skills, formal or informal. That is all well and good, yet, mentorship is not always available to everyone. The most successful businesses today recognize the importance of mentoring programs. In the “old boys’ network,” mentoring took place on golf courses, racquetball courts, or catching a drink at the local watering hole. Again, all well and good, yet are women being included? In my experience, not nearly enough. Nowadays, organizations such as Ten Thousand Coffees ask themselves how they can connect ten thousand leaders with ten thousand more leaders over ten thousand coffees. Leveling the playing field, at last! (hopefully).

Promotions

According to a recent Forbes article regarding research done at Harvard, the old boys’ network is still very much intact. It seems that if a male is working under a male manager, he will be promoted much faster than if he is operating under a female manager. In fact, the study stated, “on average, a 14.6% higher salary.” If we take the average professional salary, per ZipRecruiter, of $50,882 and add a 14.6% increase in salary, the number is $58,310.77. What would you do with an additional $7,423.77?

Elite colleges, ya gotta love them! Danielle Li of MIT “found that women employees were 14% less likely to be promoted than their male colleagues,” despite their higher performance review scores. Again, the old boy’s network is alive and well. This research was reported in 2022. Not much has really changed. Back in 1999, I was passed over for a promotion. My direct report was male, and he promoted my male counterpart. We had equal credentials, including high-performance scores (mine were higher) and an equal amount of experience. I also had seniority. I left shortly after.

Ms. Li talks about how males are likelier to leave a job when they aren’t promoted. “Men who were passed over for a promotion were 35%-40% more likely to leave than females; whereas women were only 10% more likely.” Not surprising. In most cases, females have to work harder, work smarter, and juggle more responsibilities than their male counterparts. In a recent Deloitte post, women who work in organizations that promote gender equality have higher productivity, engagement, and loyalty levels.

It seems that men and women can equally do well or fail in a job. Finding the diamond in the rough should not be that difficult. Managers need to, once again, level the playing field, and provide promotional opportunities as part of a specific career plan with achievable goals for all employees. Each person brings unique knowledge, skills, and abilities to the table. Let’s do a better job creating more diamonds to sparkle throughout the workplace.

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References

Facts and Statistics – Stevens Institute of Technology

Diamonds Unearthed | Science| Smithsonian Magazine

How Many Fortune 500 CEOs Are Women? And Why So Few? – The Quantic Blog

This Mentorship Platform Connects Young Professionals To CEOs In More Than 40 Industries (Forbes. com)

Professional Salary ($50,882 – October 2022) ZipRecruiter

Women are less likely than men to be promoted. Here’s one reason why | MIT Sloan

https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/insights/topics/value-of-diversity-and-inclusion/strengthening-women-workers-loyalty-after-the-pandemic.html

I and Thou: Forgive Me

Art Credit: A Forgiving Heart by Fania Simon

Forgive Me

Forgive my crushed spirit.
Forgive my loving eyes.
Forgive my hurtful words.
Forgive my lack of attention.
Forgive my different wavelengths.
Forgive my trivial treasures.
Forgive my unmet expectations.
Forgive my passing judgments.
Forgive my lengthy inaction.
Forgive my jealous thoughts.
Forgive my coveting of others.
Forgive my impatience.
Forgive my open wounds.
Forgive my sweet gaze.

I and Thou: Yom Kippur

Photo Credit: Ruth Walton

Yom Kippur is the day of atonement. According to myjewishlearning.com, “Yom Kippur is when God seals the Books of Life and Death for the coming year.” The overall theme of Yom Kippur is repentance. It is the most solemn day in the life of Judaism.

Yom Kippur, “is the day…to divorce ourselves completely as humanly possible from the mundane world in which we live,
in order to devote ourselves with all our hearts and minds
to our relationship with the Divine.”

Myjewishlearning.com

It is my belief, that the Divine requires us repent. To repent to our fellow humans, and to repent to the Almighty for thoughts, deeds, or words we may have or have not said. Repentance is required for renewal and reconciliation.

If I have offended any of my brothers or sisters, I apologize from the depth of my being and hereby ask for forgiveness of any unkind word, thought or action I may or may not have had or done.

G’mar chatima tovah. Wishing you all to be sealed in the Book of Life.

Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu, melekh ha’olam

I am flawed. I am human. I have made mistakes. Forgive me, oh Lord, for I have sinned. Heal my festering wound, so I can start anew.

Amen

My prayer

http://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/yom-kippur-101/

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I and Thou: The Labor of a Shell

Do you ever wonder about seashells? How they form? How critical they are to our environment? After reading a few articles, seashells are very important. They are mostly calcium with a sprinkle of protein and form from mollusks. Who knew? In fact, they are so vital that it is against the law in some countries to remove them from the ocean. When I think of a seashell, I can imagine the length of refining it took for what it became rather than how it began. And that sure sounds like labor.

A friend recently posted on lifelong labor, retirement, and the meaning of life. It was a great post – so feel free to check it out.

https://www.facebook.com/robertmullinswrites

Photo Credit: Carol Leigh, “South African Turban Shell” fineartamerica.com

I commented “life is about finding meaning and the worth of existence. The word retirement needs to be thrown out the window and replaced with refocusment (I made the word up) or, perhaps even better, refinement?

Which got me thinking about what refinement might look like. Could it possibly be the process of discovering ourselves in the bigger scheme of existence in relationship to others? If we put others first, a basic tenet of Christianity, perhaps labor would feel less like labor.

As I muddled through life, I performed an array of odd “labor.” I cut lawns, lifeguarded, and babysat so I could pay college tuition. I worked at a sporting goods store for three years too. Then, I was lucky enough to earn a college degree and start my first full-time professional job. What they didn’t teach in college was that a degree in psychology and working in education would never afford you to have any real discretionary income. But it was enough to provide food and shelter. Then, I found my knight in shining armor, or so I thought.

I had been blessed as a stay-at-home mom for nearly ten years while I raised my two boys. Most honest parents will tell you that raising kids is no picnic. But not having to dress in a corporate suit and wear heels every day was lovely. Then, I hit a rough patch of another ten years where it seemed that working was all I was doing. It sure sounded like Joseph telling the Pharoah that seven years of famine would follow seven years of abundance. (Genesis 41). I worked at a grocery store and taught pre-school to pay bills and have food on the table. At the same time, I was trying to launch a consulting firm. I did manage (by the grace of God) to pick up a few consulting gigs at fascinating places – and the best part? I didn’t have to wear heels. And then the money started to flow. My college degrees were finally paying off. I can’t imagine people who have to work to survive over the long haul.

During this almost penniless, having three dollars and forty-three cents to my name timeframe, I had to work with little time to refine. Yet perhaps that whole time spent piecing together four part-time gigs was part of the refining process. I certainly would not be the person I am today; had I not had the experience of being thrown down into a deep dark tunnel only to climb myself out of it with the help of others. Not that I wish that experience on anyone, but it was undoubtedly a testimony to my grit.

It took a village to support and encourage me to take a leap of faith—a leap to Arkansas, where I found peace and my tribe. And, if you are being pulled in a specific direction – take the leap of faith! I miss my tribe dearly – but I know they are all within me and part of the refining process. Kind of like the shell, taking years to form from cells, calcium, and proteins floating in the ocean. Yes, it takes a village; sometimes, it is one person, and at other times, it may be many people. What does your village look like?

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