A Helping Hand

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When I first started college, I was referred to an alum from my area of study as a mentor, to guide me through the tough years of college life. And she was beyond sweet, such as by sending me fruit baskets during finals. Consequently, I was very thankful for her, especially when I needed perspective.

And with time, I learned to pick my own mentors, especially when I started my career. I usually would choose someone in middle or senior management, or someone who I looked up to. But more often than not, that person would not be in my age bracket, nor be as junior in their career as I was.

But why can we not reach out to fellow young professionals for mentorship, at our place of work?

I am a mentor. You are a mentor. We are all mentors to each other.

This all came to mind when this week, I met with a colleague of mine, where we have very little age difference.

She was sharing her struggles in the workplace, such as managing expectations of your boss, dealing with co-workers who block you, as well as work-life balance.

And it dawned on me, that although I am not necessarily “senior” to her in terms of hiearchy, I have experienced many of the same challenges. It was so refreshing to discuss similar issues and offer suggestions, which I hope were helpful to her. And even though it was her struggle, I shared in her pain because I could identify with it. And by just discussing it out loud, it eased both of our pains. It made us feel less alone in these challenges at work, as she confirmed.

However, it’s rare that young professionals lend a helping hand from a motivational perspective. Of course we often help each other with mundane tasks, or worse, we opt for jealousy and competition for some make belief promotion.

But I don’t often see young professionals forming an alliance, to discuss struggles, and offer tangible solutions to help.

I am not talking about gossiping, or shit talking about your coworkers to each other. We all do that.

Instead, why can we not be each other’s mentors as co-workers? Why can’t the girl who is a star in finance, give some pointers to the girl having a rough week in sales? Why can’t the strong performers across disciplines align?

Imagine if all the young professionals, who are top performers in a company, man or woman, created some sort of alliance, which was not forced by HR or their supervisors? Think of it as a business fraternity. Remember those in college?

Why can’t we have each other’s backs? It’s not a me versus him or her.

Why can’t we vet each other on how to best manage our directors and VPs, so that we meet their expectations? It’s a coalition of strong professionals, to better ourselves, and to also make each other look even better in the workplace.

Why is your win, not also a win for me? It danm sure should be.

Come to think of it, I legit want to start this “fraternity” at my current job. And you should too because it’s a win-win.

We need to live life OUR way, and although our approaches tend to be unconventional as young professionals, we have so much to bring to the table.

We should collaborate by mentoring each other, and together be better, braver, bolder.

 

Be The Change

Sunday July 8th 2018 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Riots have been happening all weekend and many of us spent our Friday evening sleeping at work because there was no way of getting home safely. Rocks are being thrown, businesses raided, cars  burnt, tires and rocks barricading the streets. A total mess.

Finally home and thinking about the situation ,amidst gunshots just across the street. The alleged reason for the riots, is a recent  increase in gas prices by over 40% which impacts food and transportation costs significantly, since we import a majority of what we consume. The local government subsidizes fuel, and this is the end of the subsidy.

But it’s strange because within 30 minutes of the announcement, the entire city was blocked. This was well organized. Of course, the population was not thrilled about the price increase, but the reaction was too sudden and too structured. This is not really about gas, but is rather a political issue.
Sure enough, after the President released a message last night, to reinstate the former gas prices, the protesters changed their objective to demand that the President leave office. Ding ding ding!

Riots are not new to Haiti , but this time the younger generation is in the majority. When you speak to Haitians between the ages of 18-35, we are upset to see our country in such a state. What’s more is that with the help of the internet, we see people like us, living decent lives in the US, Europe, or Latin America. It’s no wonder, that many of us flee to Chile, Brazil, Miami, you name it.

We want a better life. Who wouldn’t? But we are not asking for much, we only want the opportunity to learn, to work, to eat, to prosper, to love, to be happy. We aren’t even asking for a giveaway because the minute we go abroad, we aren’t afraid to be masons, cleaners, factory workers, and other manual and unsexy jobs.

We just want the chance to live.

It’s time for us to make a change. Young and old, rich and poor, men and women, we must as a people finally say no. Let us not sit home whispering our disagreement with the situation, but be bold enough to no longer accept that politics destroy our country, while falsely claiming that it is done in the name of the people. It doesn’t matter which party you favor, or if you are not political at all.

We are Haiti, and it’s up to us to fix it.

Even if we cannot economically handle price increases, what benefit is there in not being able to go to work, or in stores closing down due to vandalism resulting into further unemployment? What good is there in people being stopped in the street and being mugged while trying to go home? The people did not ask for this.

Violence is never the answer.

We have to make our country progress and not rely on government.

We, the people of Haiti, are the only ones who will save Haiti.  There will be no messiah.

Let us not rely on politicians. We cannot hope for one person to make the change for us, we must do it on our own. It starts by caring about the welfare of the community rather than our own.

We have to learn to give a shit about our country. That’s the clear mindset difference between ourselves and many other nations. We don’t love our nation.

There is no perfect nation and we are not inferior. We just do not love ourselves and our country enough. We put ourselves down, and don’t mind hurting each other for personal gain and that is not loving your country.

I am saddened, ashamed, and exhausted of the situation in Haiti this weekend. I can also see the situation from different perspectives: the protestors paid by the opposition because they desperately need the money, the uninvolved yet silent citizens who hide at home for safety reasons, the politicians in power worried of the situation they have created due to poor planning, the opposition proud of their chaos in hopes of gaining power of their own, and the international community watching the barbaric scene on television.

I choose no side. I choose Haiti’s side.

What now? Now is the time to work on a mindset change. Now is the time to develop a change management program to get every Haitian to  understand, that changing himself or herself, is the only way forward. Let us stop hoping for miracles that will not come true. Let us stop looking at each other for change.

We are each responsible. Let us be that change.

Chasing THE Dream

I keep being asked, “what do you want to do when you grow up?”

The problem is that my answer is never conventional. First of all, am I not already all grown up? I mean life is full of challenges, and adulting is not fun. In fact, I could use a refund, but it also comes with the freedom to eat what I want and travel to cool places when I can afford it, so life is also good.

Now back to THE question. My answer is usually one of the following :

  1. To be happy
  2. To eat delicious things
  3. To travel
  4. To write, out of  a cool apartment as an office, then go home to my real house
  5. To be a motivational speaker, and my favorite….
  6. To be Oprah

Yes, Oprah. I want to be a talk show host, despite the fact that I live in Haiti. Even in a time where talk shows are less popular, I want to talk and get paid for it. Writing is also fun, but I think talking takes the cake.

Unfortunately, that often doesn’t fit in the corporate org chart. But we all know that I am unrealistic, but that side of me is my strength, and I refuse to let it go. This sense of adventure is what makes life exciting, enjoyable, and thrilling. And it’s perhaps the reason why you keep reading my random thoughts.

So, I spoke about THE dream to one of my friends, and she tolerates my lack of realism and I love her for it. She encouraged me to start a podcast, and I am strongly considering it. I was in fact just googling the “how” and of course, it’s not as simple as it seems. But it also seems very exciting. I want to do all the research and be sure to commit with regular posts.

Would you be interested in listening to a podcast version of my blog? Send me comments. I’ll try to use my “sexy” voice.

I think it would also be called “Tasting It Like It is”. Food will surely be a core topic, but I was also thinking of mixing topics, from work-life balance, to motivation. But more importantly, it would be very honest.

I want to inspire, and make you realize that you don’t have to fit the mold. No matter how absurd your dream seems, chase it!