My prep for the “Future of Work” MOOC

Posted by gminks in #FutureOfWork | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

I’m enrolled in 2 MOOCs (massive online open courses) this spring. This is a journaling assignment for the Future of Work MOOC. The other MOOC is about big data, I’ll post about that one when it starts.

If you are wondering why I joined this MOOC, this is part of their stated objective for the course:

The purpose of this course is to see the future of work through a new lens, which will help you chart your own path through that future with greater confidence and greater ability to succeed.

We live in an extremely chaotic and disruptive period of transition. Businesses and entire economies are struggling to finally leave behind Industrial Age ways of thinking and embrace a digitally-driven world where the rules and what is valued are completely different.

I think this change from Industrial Age to Digital Age is something we’re driving as technologists, but even we are still stuck in the Industrial Age thinking style – so much emphasis on speeds and feeds, not enough on how the systems we are building are driving this transformation. We’ve got to start thinking about how we are changing things, not just how it works and how cool it is to build it…although that is important too.

On to the journaling assignment!

What makes you… You?

From childhood to now, is there an experience (or experiences) that shaped your personal priorities, values, passions or how you see the world?

I think growing up poor in the deep south in the 80s definitely has shaped who I am today. I’m southern, from how I talk to what I eat. I grew up in a military town, so the part of the county I grew up in was not quite as red as the rest of the Florida Panhandle.  I know how do make things happen with very little resources, I work hard and play hard, I’m all about hospitality, and if I have something I’ll share it with you.

I also am so appreciative of our natural resources. They are not things that can be owned by a handful of people. I’ve watched my hometown turn into a developer’s paradise, I have seen people with more money and power try to restrict access to the incredible healing white sands and blue waters, and was terrified of what the BP oil spill could do (and is still doing) to my beloved Gulf Coast.

Me, my sister and 2 of my brothers at the beach

Me, my sister and 2 of my brothers at the beach

Gulf Coasters are very laid back, but we are also extremely passionate. We stick up for ourselves, and the little guy — even if we don’t particularly care for the little guy. We don’t like to see people getting screwed over. We’re not the type of folk you want to cross.

My hometown also had an incredible educational system. I’m lucky, my kindergarten teacher told my mom that they thought something was wrong with me because I couldn’t hold a pencil or scissors correctly. But I could read on an almost second grade level, so they didn’t want to put me in special ed. How crazy is that!

Even though I was in advanced/gifted classes from the 3rd grade on, I didn’t go to college, I got married. I had children very early, and my oldest is on the autism spectrum (she wasn’t diagnosed for 17 years…). Getting married, having children, and getting divorced so early also has shaped my life. Navigating life with an undiagnosed child on the spectrum also taught me that I’m pretty good at sizing up situations (I told her dr she had autism when she was 4, he laughed at me because she could talk). It also taught me that things aren’t always what they seem, and that every person has something important to share with society even if they don’t act they way you think they are “supposed” to act. My little turtle (that’s always been her nickname) has certainly taught me so much about empathy, and giving everyone a chance.

Going to college changed life for my family. Moving to New England, working for a data storage company, travelling the world. All of these things reinforced my view that everyone has something to contribute, and that it is very important to society to make sure those differences are allowed to come forward and be included in the greater society.

From anytime in your life, what tough choices have you made that now guide or influence how you make new tough choices?

Lots of things came to mind, but all of the choices I made were with my kids in mind. I went to college primarily to get a 9-5 job with insurance. Little did I know I’d actually find a career I love. Once I accomplished that initial goal, the goal was to give them stability, and all the opportunities that I could. Now that they are grown, I find myself still making decisions that will keep me close to my family. It is something that is very important to me.

I also feel like I’m very lucky to be in the place that I’m in today. I worked hard, and I’m smart, but I also was very fortunate to be in the right place at the right time, and to have met so many people along the way who have helped me. I feel that I need to give back because of that, to make sure I’m helping others achieve their goals. Because I’ve been given access to various platforms, I also feel that it’s important to use that privilege to give a voice to people who may never get a chance to tell their stories.

What are your top three dreams or goals?

1. I’m writing a book, the goal is to share insight on marketing to help marketers get ready for the change that is facing their industry.

2. I think everyone has something to share, I want to help architect and build systems that help every person in that system contribute in a way that is meaningful to them.

3. I want to be fluent in Creek, and maybe Cherokee. Songs and stories take on different meanings when you can tell/sing/hear them in the language they come from. I think learning the languages will bring me even more ideas for goals.


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