F2F prevails

I survived my May deadlines. Having capabilities to write this post is a solid proof of this. Although, I almost started with “on the last day of the month” before I realised it is already the 2nd of June.

Nevertheless, on the second day of the month it is good to look back and sum up the past month. In addition to deadlines, it was dominated by presentation skills training: a workshop for improving visualisation and a PhD course in communication.

I learned a lot about myself as a presentor (eg. I love using photos and I wiggle my eyebrows funnily). Moreover, I have one strong take away: In order to create new knowledge we benefit tremendously from face to face interaction. Don’t get me wrong, I have no dislike for reading, writing or virtual interaction. However, meeting a human-being in person makes a difference.

For instance, in the visualisation workshop I met an investment banker who claimed that the business of investing is interaction. First, it was rather surprising as one would think it is the return on investment. Then I realised all investors still in the business are able to provide a customer with a reasonably good track record but all of them might not take the time to interact with a customer.

From now on I promise to respect more all the possibilities offered for interaction with others in order to learn and build on shared knowledge. When doing research, attending one research seminar every week is a good start.

When shit hits the fan

I consider myself as a quite organised person. I respect schedules. I feel responsible to prepare for meetings in advance. I make sure that I will not have to run around like a headless chicken.

As a result, when I have during past two weeks (a) missed one doctor’s appointment and (b) one scheduled massage, (b) gone for a doctor’s when it was not my turn, (d) held a presentation which I didn’t prepare for, and (e) run around like a headless chicken, I can officially declare that shit has hit the fan. And perhaps not only once.

It is all because I miscalculated the safety distance separating the shit and the fan. Here, ‘shit’ stands for obligations and fan’ represents my inability to take care of them. When there are too many things to do, crap piles up.

Even organised people have fan troubles, otherwise they are not human or honest. The surprising news is that I have never felt this calm after (a) fan incident(s). Perhaps becoming a parent means dealing with so much more mess that creating some of my own is a drop in the ocean. Or perhaps my difficulties are these so called First World Problems.

However, in order to save my forehead, which I have face palmed quite many times, I decided to take it easier in June. As in May I have still one deadline left for every working day of the week. Zen.

Today I felt like a turquoise researcher

I attended a workshop about corporate social responsibility (CSR) through Hub Catalyst. It was like coming home, in many ways. Hub Helsinki is a lovely place. Additionally, CSR is something, which attracted me during my studies in a business school and I ended up doing my Master’s Thesis related to CSR and retail sector. But that’s not what I wanted to write about.

In the workshop I realised how hard it is to introduce oneself comprehensively and shortly. Typically, people tell who they are (easy), where they come from (mostly easy), what they do (quite easy) and what are their expectations for the meeting (easy when being honest). It gets complicated when one tries to sum up past experience, as getting older means a high probability of more experience. What to tell and what to leave out?

I realised that when I leave out things, I can portray myself in different ways. For instance, I can focus on my NGO background highlighting my past in the student movement. Additionally, I can refer to my inspiring international experience on Nordic and European level. Moreover, I can point out that I have been engaged with development cooperation issues on top of educational and international affairs. Or alternatively, I can skip the whole NGO history and focus on my research and teaching experience, which is unavoidably gaining growth rings as grass grows.

So in social connections I can choose how I want to present myself. It is like choosing clothes in the morning. What do I feel like today? Turquoise or lime? Cosy or sharp? Do I feel like an activist, a teacher, or a business school graduate? Or a teaching activist with new business in mind? Or simply a PhD candidate with research projects?

Of course choosing my pitch is not enough. People make conclusions about me also from other information than what I say, for instance where I come from or what I look like. And that’s another story. For that matter, today I felt like a turquoise researcher: deep, endless, and lots of thoughts like fish swimming in a sea.