I had the fortune of speaking with a man named Mikey. He'd offered some of his time to people seeking mentorship in tech and design through the Out of Office hours initiative. Prior to our call, he'd asked me to answer a few questions to ensure our conversation was productive, I found it a useful exercise to clarify my intent and needs. You can see the questions and my response here.
As I was reorganizing my notes from our chat and feeling gratitude for having access to someone who cares to speak to strangers and invest some time in their development, I started to notice the word ship at the end of mentorship. So naturally I looked it up and your instinct and mine were right, it has nothing to do with the vessel that's floating in your mind's eye.
The suffix was common in Old English, and is ultimately a form of the ancestor of the Modern English verb shape, in the sense 'to create; form'. Cognate suffixes are found in many Germanic languages; a form occasionally encountered is the German Wissenschaft 'science', from Wissen 'knowledge' and -schaft '-ship'.
On -ships and the things that seem to require the most work.
Relationships, bipartisanship, citizenship, leadership, mentorship. -ships need work, so below you'll find items I'll be focused on for the remainder of the month of June. Included are tips and tasks I'd discussed with Mikey that will allow me to get ready for my return to D.C. and to create a way for myself to communicate my skills, the things I want to work on, and the things I can offer, as I dive deeper with an awakening world.
I organized this list in order of things I felt the least resistance completing to the highest resistance.
Create a to do list
- See Randah's method if you need ideas.
- Build credibility by writing week notes.
- They are weekly recaps, choose the day you'll publish, Mikey likes Tuesdays, write out the things you've worked on, read, appreciated, or reflected on. Mikey had someone reach out and tell him that they appreciated his post and it's candor, it was also one of the reasons for this person applying for and joining his organization.
- When I used to publish daily, a friend of mine always reached out and I remember feeling super grateful that she read what I had to say. Even though I felt it to be inconsequential.
- In summary, pick a day, write and post weekly.
The three minute Pitch
- The question Mikey had was, "How can I introduce myself to a group of people," whether it's 5 people in a room, or 500 in on a Zoom. I appreciated that he shared his struggles with me, it humanized him, and allowed me to relate, and maybe figure out ways he could solve for this. Incidentally, it was something I am also challenged by.
- At facilitators hangout called Facilitators Backstage, I learned about a presenter who at a moments notice was able to share profound and moving stories to any audience. The secret it seems, was that he carefully selected and crafted 20 stories drawn from the wealth of his life experiences. From these 20 stories he would remix and present a story to any audience.
- This begs the question, what are my 20 stories? and what are their themes?
Writing down my process for problem solving.
- This sounds onerous, but my mentor pointed out that it's something I likely do reflexively without giving it too much though.
- One way to do it as well, is to initially focus your writing on the things you like about the work that you want to be writing about.
- He's challenged me to write it down and then speak about it out loud. So you'll find me writing about it here.
Don't talk like a designer.
- "If I'm working and someone uses a designer word, i'll call them out and ask them to explain it."
- What I heard here was, simpler words can be used to convey complex ideas, so you're really only fooling yourself if you use jargon, it's just a matter of time before you realize it.
Build two CVs/Resumes
- The current CV/resume
- Here I need to write all the things I currently do now.
- Then reduce it to 7-8 bullet points max.
- The 3 to 6 months CV/resume
- edit Randah of Randah's Method called me out on something I just said I shouldn't be doing the following bullet was edited to remove acronyms.
- Here I need to look up roles I'm interested in, in my case it's:
- Information Architecture (used to make a website's information hierarchy accessible in a way that makes sense to the majority of people),
- Product Management (used to track a product from it's inception to it's delivery in an iterative manner),
- Service design (what allows a product to fit in the overall picture of a task),
- and User research (a way to understand why a task is important for a person) roles.
- Then I take the skills or responsibilities I like and add it to the future CV/resume
- 2 bullet points are all I need, especially if it's a skill that's not related to my existing skill set (e.g. Data science), it just needs to be something I really want to have progressed towards when the 6 months have passed.
- The next step is to work out what I need to do, and that will require the help of someone who can objectively speak with you about your work.
That's it, nice and easy, luckily, our client has come out of hibernation so I can start writing down my problem solving process since I've forgotten what that felt like.
Feel free to ask me any questions on anything that stood out, I'm sure I'll have a link or two that will help with anything you ask.