Tuesday Truths 2017 Edition v8

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Spring Training is on its way and we’re doing the same to get ready for the 2017 and 2018 cycle. I’m doing a training in March and will be on the road traveling to 10 other cities so let’s get to recruiting and training! Know of someone who wants to take a campaign management training, hit me up! #RESIST

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • Taking this personality test, I see myself in 3 out of the 4 leadership types. My predominant feature is likely to be the Leader personality with a heavy dose of People personality with a reluctant but necessary Task personality. My nature is more Free-Spirit vs Task but I know to be successful, I need to curb my tendency to be a little free wheeling. Knowing these personality types may help you as your navigate your office and work to resolve conflicts as well as find ways you can shore up your weaknesses.
  • I’ve shared my philosophy on Giving Zero F*cks and who better to illustrate that than Anthony Bourdain (I think he really has my dream job!). He shares his number one rule for workplace happiness. When it’s out of your control to ensure workplace happiness in the Bourdain fashion, you should at the very least be comfortable in who you are so that you can attain success in the way that best suits you. Knowing your values and what grounds you does wonders in having clarity in how you can work towards your goals.
  • So aside from the crazy of work and this administration is life. There will be moments of joy and extreme moments of sadness. To help friends and colleagues who may need you during those moments of profound sorrow, this article gives you wonderful ways to be that friend who can be counted on as well as make life easier. One of my reminders are my friends who have battled cancer. The initial announcement can bring a torrent of emotion from people who want to show their support & the journey that a person takes when they go through treatment can sometimes be a lonely process so I schedule a note to myself to check in and send a card so that they know that they aren’t alone. I don’t need them to acknowledge the card. I just want them to feel supported.
  • More self care tips – this time from Arianna Huffington! Suggestions to how you can stay engaged while taking time to give your soul a break. We need to recharge to go full steam ahead. It’s bad enough that we have the added layer of constant DJT 24/7 so when you’re trying to balance life in general, you need to step away from work so that you can be a more productive and valuable asset to your organization. I did that today when I was feeling particularly anxious. I had already turned down the opportunity to visit with a friend (even though it was technically a holiday) because I was too busy with work, but I saw the sunshine and felt the warmer temperatures and knew that taking a walk with my favorite furry friend would be a good release for some of that anxiety. Trying to take some of the advice I share!

Thanks for reading/sharing! See you back here next Tuesday!

— Madalene







Tuesday Truths 2017 Edition v7

Over the weekend, I was in Baltimore for the DNC Future Forum supporting one of the Vice Chair candidates, Rep. Grace Meng in her re-election to the DNC. Years ago, I worked on another Vice Chair race for the DNC when Rep. Mike Honda was elected to that position and this go around reminded me why I’m a Democrat (not that it really takes much to remind me of my personal values). I hold particular personal views about who I am as a Democrat and my travels around this country have always reminded me that my version of being a Democrat isn’t necessarily someone else’s version, but it doesn’t lessen the significance when we talk about our allegiance to the Democratic Party. We talk about the D Party being one of a big tent: welcoming those from different faiths, gender, ethnicity – the whole gambit. Yet when we talk about how much of a progressive are you, we start towards the slippery slope to having a litmus test. I once worked at the New Democrat Network and was deemed “Republican lite” from my colleagues in Labor and the more progressive wing of the Party. That doesn’t sound very much like a welcoming attitude :/ Every person should be allowed the space to evolve in their views. With education and awareness, people can actually move towards ideas that were once not so welcomed into their personal sphere. Respectful discussion can create opportunities for evolution. Any kind of talk where attack of character or the disdain of geographical difference or industry only leads to more conflict. Understanding each other’s perspectives and teaching one another contrasting stories helps to educate and better understand what it means to be in someone else’s shoes. Just like we can’t expect all of the U.S. to fit a particular model, we can’t expect a Party that has diversity as its greatest asset to be of one particular mindset. We may all share core values and want to promote those values together so let’s also welcome the diversity of ideas that allows all of us to proudly say that we’re Democrats.

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • A common habit that I’ve noticed in people in senior leadership positions is their inability to listen to feedback when having a tough conversation. I totally understand what it means when someone is coming at you with negative criticism. When I share feedback, I do my best to come from a place where everyone involved understands that I want us as a team to do better together. When one piece is dragging, it brings everyone down and if we’re performing at our peak then we’re hitting all the right notes. When you represent a client or a MoC or someone in a hierarchy, your actions also reflect on that person and/or organization. I’m all for nipping bad habits in the bud so that they don’t continue and they don’t spread. When a supporter shares feedback, it’s to help and to figure out how to do something better. When you’re not present or when you try to win the “battle” of this is how we’re doing a certain task, it doesn’t endear you to your supporter. In fact, it can cause them to walk away because you’re not listening. The urge to be right can be overwhelming. OMG – it’s like a drug – the feeling you have when you KNOW you’re right and you want to stomp out your opponent. Guess what, when people are on the same team and giving you constructive criticism, you want everyone to be right.
  • More self-care tips! This time related to not going crazy when you’re following all of the DJT news. On my personal twitter, I keep lists and that allows me to step away from the constant political barrage, but there are times when even on my lists for “fashionista” and “culinary inspiration”, tweets seep in regarding DJT and that’s OK. Just the act of reading something else un-related to work can help soothe my constant feeling that I need to be doing something for the resistance. It helps that I journal more and that allows me to recognize how much gratitude I have for life itself. There are times when I feel some guilt for having fun and that’s not good for me. Being able to spread and share joy into the world is important so I hope that you’ll take the time to do that for yourself and others. Vogue has ideas on how to manage anxiety as we continue to move forward in a DJT administration.
  • I don’t consider myself a fashionista (I can’t tell you from which collection an accessory or piece came from — Spring, Winter, resort etc but I do have a sense of what I like) so it’s cool when my social media feeds gets populated with more fashion news than usual. New York Fashion Week (NYFW) has started so seeing designers weigh in with political commentary through their creations is an added benefit. The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) has partnered with Planned Parenthood of America to create pins. Choosing how to dress as a political statement has been historical with how women have chosen to push the boundaries. Being forced to wear a corset vs being Madonna and doing it whenever you want is about choice & not social conformity. PoliticsxFashion is an interesting intersection.
  • If you had to read one thing in Tuesday Truths for this week, read this! Excellent outline on how to re-shape or course correct your life. It’s not just about today because every action you take leads to something else so that it brings you to your destination. Stop moving long enough so that you can take strategic steps to get to your bigger picture. I find that most people who talk with me about how to move forward in their careers aren’t thinking about the big picture because they haven’t stopped long enough to recognize what they truly want. It doesn’t have to be perfect. You can think BIG and you can work towards those bigger goals when you take the time to reflect.

That’s all for now, folks – looking forward to seeing you next Tuesday! What self care measures are you taking this week? Drop me a note in the comments section! Thanks for reading/sharing!

— Madalene




Tuesday Truths 2017 Edition v6

We’re officially 2 months into 2017 and rolling deep into the 1st QTR. I already feel like I’ve been hit by a MACK truck due to all of the intensity of the year. There hasn’t been any easing up so the mantra is to continue forward by collaborating with others and group hugs with your tribe.

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • Maybe you’re not down with protesting – totally get it – maybe you’re a consumer who wants to make an impact with how you spend your hard earned moolah so you decide that you’ll patronize establishments/brands that have your shared values. Recently we saw that with the #deleteUber trend and #grabyourwallet where Uber and Ivanka Trump’s brands were affected by consumers making a statement with their purchasing power. It also works when you have a brand such as travel expert Rick Steves making a commitment to donate to the ACLU if you spent money on his products on Inauguration Day. I’m an advocate for companies to have good corporate social responsibility and when they do, I want to support their efforts. Not all companies are perfect because humans aren’t made to be so I believe that customers can make companies aware of how to improve and if actions are taken, support them for course correcting. What do you think? Do you think about corporate social responsibility when you support brands?
  • Living in DC makes every Executive Order even more acutely meaningful. I also have a life where my professional life is fully integrated with my personal beliefs. I may not necessarily agree 100% with my clients but I know that their intentions are well meaning and a policy disagreement isn’t going to dissuade me from working with them. As a result, I’m keenly aware of my personal definition of living a meaningful life through a professional context. If your professional/personal life makes you want to take action in a more meaningful way then you can create projects or join in projects that align with your own values and personality.
  • I’ve talked about having more headaches lately, but did I also mention that I’ve been feeling more anxiety as well? It helps that I’m spending less time watching the news, although I keep informed with reputable news sources so that I can stay updated on what’s happening around me. Another activity that I’ve been incorporating into my daily life is the practice of grounding so that I can feel my physical being while separating the anxiousness that has bubbled to the surface. There are times when you just want to curl up in the fetal position, but remind yourself that you’re not alone and use these tips to get you back up and ready to go. For those who consume alcohol, a glass of wine also helps 🙂
  • More than ever, we need to look out for one another. Living in DC is slightly different than living in other places because a lot of us work in the political sphere in some capacity so it’s extremely important to remember that other people don’t live in such a politically charged atmosphere. We need to help one another in an intersectional way so think about our sisters and brothers in other places so that we don’t feel so alone. It can be challenging to be in an area where you’re opinion is the dissenting perspective. Reach out to one another and let’s welcome more people who share the same concerns.
  • With the #NoBanNoWall and a myriad of other Executive Orders as well as expressing our opinions to elected leaders, the congressional switchboard has been in overdrive. Making calls can be challenging for those who don’t really talk on the phone, but this kind of outreach is the most effective in swaying elected officials to take their constituents’ opinions seriously. Practice helps which means making more calls (something I routinely tell my clients when making fundraising calls) but it may help to know that psychologists can explain the source of your phone anxiety.
  • With the change in administration and the end of the campaign season, I’ve been doing a lot of coffees with people who want advice on how to transition to their next position. Here are Do’s and Don’ts for going to your next coffee. I would also add send a thank you note (email/written note) afterwards! It helps us to remember who you are and let’s us know that you’re inclined to have good organizational skills and attention to detail.

Thanks for reading/sharing – see you next Tuesday!

— Madalene




Tuesday Truths 2017 Edition v5

It’s been a rough week. I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’m in a constant headache. It has been fast and furious and not in a good way. This has been brutal for the heart, soul, & body. Remember that you have to take care of yourself before you can take care of others.

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • This past week has shown how swiftly the WH is moving on immigration. Here are ways that you can help fight these policies. Share them with your friends and network who don’t live in the Beltway because that’s where we need the movement to grow.
  • CNN Contributor Jeff Yang has some insightful thoughts about the WH for their explanation of the exclusion of mentioning Jews on Holocaust Remembrance Day. Make sure you follow him too!

  • Interesting PBS piece on the stigma of being young, black & Republican. As a lifelong Democrat, I hope that the Democratic Party and the progressive allies that align with our values don’t ever take for granted the constituencies that support the Progressive Movement. Outreach and being welcoming, among other actions are clear indicators in making constituencies feel valued.
  • I work with c3s that are looking into more flexible funding for their organizations because of the changing environment. This piece from Inside Philanthropy is important because we all need to recognize that having the flexibility to address needs quickly will help those communities who are in desperate need.
  • We need more women leaders in elected office, not just because it’s representation but also because women govern differently and as a result, things get done. The 2016 cycle had a decrease in women governors and an average flatline in the US House & US Senate. I’m imploring my fellow women activists to take the reins. We need you!

Whose interested in getting together for a group hug? At the very least we can give one another some moral support but we can also do a daily action together! Thanks for reading/sharing & let me know how you’re doing! See you back here, next Tuesday!

— Madalene






Tuesday Truths 2017 Edition v4

I hope you’re energized after January 21st. Seeing all of the fierce women & feminist men from around the world in my social media at the Womens March has been heartwarming & gives me hope for having allies in the challenges ahead. I enjoyed being in New Orleans because I got to meet one of my Tulane/Newcomb Institute mentees in person & help her with her professional goals. Sharing my experiences with future generations of women leaders allows me to welcome those who are willing to share in the struggles & the work towards equity for all women. Minh Ngoc Nguyen was gracious enough to introduce me to wonderful people from the Vietnamese American community who bring resilience & add vibrancy to the New Orleans community such as the co-owners of Drip Affogato Juley Le & Anh T Vu & community leader Anna Nguyen. I’m thrilled to see how they are using their talents to bring awareness to issues important to all members of society. I have The Mister to thank for taking time to the Bywater area so that I could take this pic (if you have the time to read it, I highly recommend it). It reminds us that it will take sacrifice to protect those whose rights are trampled. Civil disobedience and calling out individuals/groups who think that we will stay silent is necessary in creating equality for all of us. We rise together.

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • I started journaling more so that I could better recognize emotions from my day and better understand how the root of my emotions affects my work. Described as emotional agility, it allows you to be more productive so you can assess the meanings behind your emotions. Here’s where you can evaluate those emotions and take necessary steps to increase your chances for wellness.
  • I’ve had to go on a news detox because it was just too much. I’m pretty vigilant about the news sources that I read/watch so when I share materials, I try to vet them before I share any links. The uptick of fake news got me wondering how they were able to get so far in spreading non-facts and luckily, Melissa Ryan not only shares how these “news stories” were used as a form of attack but also how we can use their same tactics to spread legitimate stories.

Thanks for reading/sharing. Got a tip that you want to share? Send it to me! See you here next Tuesday!

— Madalene

Tuesday Truths 2017 Edition v3

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We’re in the last days of the Obama administration. My husband and I went to a reception at the White House on Monday night to celebrate the work of those who served in the Administration for 8 years. My husband, who I call The Mister, was one of those faithful public servants. It was a wonderful way to start the week, acknowledging all of the energy spent in improving the lives of the American people on behalf of President Obama. The President addressed the crowd and gave thanks for their endurance for sticking it out for those 8 years. I do the political side of things, so it’s nice to see policy in action. Can you tell that I’m super proud of The Mister? He has served in 2 Democratic Administrations so this isn’t his first rodeo when it comes to ending one Administration and transitioning to another where the opposing Party is coming in – the last time we had to do this was in 2000 and since then, he has learned a great deal in his management skills and how to motivate his team. As the Chief of Staff of an agency, he has had to deal with crisis management, personnel issues, as well as working to help improve peoples’ lives. Because isn’t that what we really strive towards, those of us who work in politics or policy? To help bring public policy to the people in an everyday way.

As we head out of DC, there are those who are coming into town for the Womens’ March so we bid you good weather, a safe place to express your views and the spirit of camaraderie. We’re in this together and for the long haul. We’ll see you for the next go around.

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • Saturday’s a big day so planning ahead on what to wear is equally is important as planning what signs you’ll be carrying. You’ll want comfortable shoes and layers so that you can shed layers if the walk gets your temperature rising. Here are additional tips that can be helpful when you’re planning what to wear for a protest march in winter, not only for comfort but also to make it easier should there be random security sweeps. Good luck!
  • I recently commented on a post of a friend/colleague who shared her long history of work within the progressive movement as well as within the Democratic Party. I acknowledged that she was a mentor and role model for so many women organizers because since she was in a senior leadership position during a time when there weren’t that many women leaders, she helped to amplify and elevate our voices. I’ve lived through 2000 when the Democratic Party was astounded to find itself back in the desert after experiencing 8 years of the Clinton Administration and prior to that 12 years of being locked out of the White House. We are at a place where we need more mentors not only lifting fellow women voices but also teaching the next generation how to survive the desert. When women come to me for advice, I try to give them a perspective of what their actions mean not only to their personal goals, but also how it affects those who come behind them. Why? Because I feel that I have a responsibility to them just like they have a responsibility to those after them to make it a bit easier and that domino affect reverberates to not just women of our generation and ethnicity, but to all of us regardless of those factors. Melissa Harris-Perry calls it activist mentoring and she’s got a list of inspiring women who have done just that for others.
  • I love brainstorming and bringing ideas to reality. Trust me – this sh*z is HARD. There are times when the most brilliant of ideas never make it because the execution is so challenging. Remember when Barack Obama (the dude with the funny name?!?) was running for US Senate? It takes a lot of belief in the idea or of oneself to get others to believe and to convince others that it’s more than just pie in the sky. When you’ve got a great idea, here are the things you must do to make it real.
  • Instead of managing your time, how about managing your energy? I really enjoyed reading this article because it reminds me so much about the link between the alignment of company and staff values. I run a small shop but we can get extremely busy which results in directives and not a lot of time for explaining procedures or the Why (an idea of which I’m a big proponent). To counterbalance some of that crazy, I established a weekly staff lunch so that we would remove ourselves from our work and take the time to get to know one another and to ask questions about why we do things a certain way and learn new ideas. It allows us to get re-focused and re-energized on projects. If we have a late night due to work events and if we don’t have early morning fundraisers then we have a bit more flexibility of coming into the office. When organizations align with the values of the individuals who work there then you have more committed staff. Being able to bring body, mind, emotion and human spirit together equates to a more better performing individuals. Happier, healthier & more focused employees – who doesn’t want to be in that kind of environment?
  • We talked a little about being healthier in previous posts regarding 2017 – how about bringing some hobbies back into your life? What’s that?? Yeah, I know – I’m doing an awful job in committing to my own hobbies (maintaining French lessons) but there are 8 creative hobbies that you can do that are fun (French is fun, I promise!). Embroidery and cross stitch were 2 things that I used to do when I was a teenager. Maybe I can add it to my list again!
  • If you’re planning to hibernate this winter, why not include some SHEro documentaries into your playlist? Get streaming and get inspired!

Thanks for reading/sharing and if you get a minute, LIKE Arum Group on Facebook! See you back here on next Tuesday (I’m going to need a group hug – it will be the start of the new administration).

— Madalene








Tuesday Truths 2017 Edition v2

The 115th Congress has been sworn in and we’ve started another year of legislative business. Which basically means, fundraising for 2018 has started as well! For the new members, it means hosting Meet and Greets to introduce themselves to the government affairs representatives and to the DC insiders who see this ritual quite often. For those more experienced members, it means call time to start booking events that will tally toward fundraising goals for the quarter. With a new administration and newly sworn in Congress, the Players may have changed but the dance has stayed the same!

Here’s Tuesday Truths…

  • I always believe that you don’t need a certain date to get started so if you have goals that don’t seem to stick, look to your future self to break the cycle. Small steps each day will create the accountability that you have to yourself to change your perspective of self-control.
  • The only place where I have absolute organization is my kitchen (!!). I could tell you where every single item is located with my eyes closed and when I’m cooking, I am fanatical about cleaning as I go so when I’m finished, my kitchen isn’t a hot mess. Now, if I can do the same with my desk….here’s to going back to my previous post!
  • We know that the Inaugural is almost here and the security blanket that was the Obama administration is coming to a close. Having lived in DC when we had a Republican administration seems like a world away but we’re about to live in a different kind of circumstance. If like me, you thought 2016 was a sh*t year and want to make 2017 better, we’re sharing recommendations on how you can make 2017 better politically.
  • We’re just in the beginning of transition, where people may be taking this opportunity to change jobs (willingly or unwillingly). Should you find yourself in a pro-longed job search situation, you may want to bookmark these tips so that you can stay positive while you’re searching.
  • I have a lot of people in my network who are starting new positions creating teams in offices from scratch. That’s a great feeling when you have a fresh start. How you use it can determine how effective the team will be to weather crisis and be as productive as possible. Here are ways that you can create harmony in the office regardless of whether or not you’re starting fresh (you can help course correct too!). I feel this every time I start with a new client and especially when I worked on campaigns, you create an immediate bond because you know that your team has one another’s backs. That camaraderie pushes offices to innovate and to kick out some killer ideas.

Thanks for reading/sharing and if you haven’t subscribed, what are you waiting for 😉 See you next Tuesday!

— Madalene

Tuesday Truths 2017 Edition v1

I hope you were able to end 2016 on a high note! I’m ready to kick start this year so let’s get blasting into Tuesday Truths…**pew pew**

  • I think it’s pretty well known that I gravitate towards strong women even when they think that they’re not strong. Acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses is very empowering and that recognition, allows people to take their strengths and use them to their greatest potential. One of the things that others have commented about me is that I tend to give zero F*CKs and I don’t normally have FOMO because I tend to live my life the way that I want. I choose to not regret my choices and that means that every decision that I make is made in consideration in how it furthers my goals (sometimes that means, I share those goals with others and that brings others into consideration). I’m willing to collaborate, be a team player, and live an authentic life that’s true to what I want to accomplish. I really do believe that life gets better when you stop giving a f*ck.
  • When you’re in need of advice, it’s a good idea to check in with people you admire to get clarity on where you’re headed aka networking. That may mean talking to someone who isn’t necessarily a buddy/pal. To really make progress, you need to network smart. You don’t get brownie points if you have 100 coffees (although if this was fundraising and you were strategic about coffees, I would give you a gold star for every coffee you had that equated to $$, but I’m digressing). This is an exercise of quality over quantity.
  • Back to my random thought about fundraising from my earlier post where a mix of quality and quantity work to make fundraising successful or for that matter, life. I read this awesome article about rejection. Most people fail at fundraising because they’re afraid of that sensation. Life becomes much more fruitful when you disconnect/desensitize the negativity associated with rejection. Fundraising involves a bit of psychology because we research what motivates prospects to give and it’s the same when you think about asking for something. Jia Jiang – you’re a ROCK STAR!
  • One of the best gals around is Tanya Tarr (I’ve talked about her writing for Women@Forbes in the past) and she was recently interviewed by Morra Aarons-Mele on her negotiating checklist. She’s got an incredible guide for resources and walks you down the path to clearly mapping out your conversation. Game changer for sure!
  • Because I want you to start getting active along with pursuing your professional goals, I’m sharing 7 tips to help you keep your fitness goals. I’ve talked about recognizing what your body tells you – get enough sleep, drink more water, exercise when it’s best for your schedule and whether you like it or not, being healthy really puts you in peak condition to do more with your best muscle, your mind. I skipped out on exercise for the last few months of the 2016 election cycle and my body feels it! I lost a lot of my strength and I’m trying to get myself back to pre-election fighting form. To be perfectly honest, I use none of the tips that I shared with you in this post (do what I say, not as I do!). I do regularly schedule classes and make myself exercise when I don’t have a class – all with my work/travel schedule in mind. I’m jazzed when I compete with myself and knowing that I’ve kicked ass on those pistol squats and I have muscle definition from doing weights is what motivates me to keep at it. I’m hardly a fitness guru and I’m fine with knowing that I’m challenging myself physically every day. Getting old is a B*TCH!

What tips do you have to share? Thanks for reading/sharing!

See you back here next Tuesday!

— Madalene






Tuesday Truths 2016 Edition v52

This is it – the last blog post for 2016 – thank the heavens because 2016 was hella rough! I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we make it to the other side unscathed and we kick off 2017 with some good energy.

Happy to See Ya 2017!

We’re doing a recap of the articles that were most read on the blog so some of them may be new to you if you recently joined the Arum Group community! Hope they continue to serve you on your professional and personal journeys.

Here’s the BEST of Tuesday Truths!

  • We’re looking for success in our lives and sometimes we’re our biggest obstacle. We form bad habits and it stops us from reaching our potential. Most often, the simplest of things can be the most complicated. Here’s the most read article of 2016 – 25 simple things to give up if you want to succeed.
  • These 2 articles tied for the 2nd most read: one relates to improving your resume (8 common resume mistakes to avoid), the other is about how to earn your manager’s respect.  A great read for those who are getting ready to jump into the job market and for those who may be looking to improve their work situation. Either way, great tools to get you in tip top shape for your professional portfolio.
  • It seems that readers care about their appearance because the next article deals with Dressing Like a Leader: Style Tips for Women in the Spotlight. Women get ridiculed for looking a certain way, regardless if they’re in leadership positions or not. Men have a pretty basic uniform and can convey their personality by a change of accessories. The cut of a suit can bring a certain swagger and that is a part of the brand image that you want to project. An ill fitting suit negatively impacts a brand – it doesn’t look professional if things are too tight or too loose. You want to own your image. If that means silver lamé or a hoodie w jeans combo then go all in and be comfortable with your choices. I like fashion as a statement of who I am so I take the time to think about the aesthetic. Others may not want to spend the time to think of what to wear so having a “uniform” that makes you comfortable in your power is what will bring your self confidence to the surface.

I hope you find inspiration to start 2017 and no worries if you find inspiration later down the road. My belief is you don’t need a calendar or a specific date to start – do it when you’re ready even when you think you’re not prepared (there’s only so much planning and researching you can do – dive in!) You’ve certainly inspired me to share these kinds of articles and I THANK YOU for keeping me accountable. See you next week, next year!

— Madalene



Tuesday Truths 2016 Edition v51

We’re in the throes of Winter Break and it’s a time to be spent with loved ones. I’m still in the midst of getting my office holiday cards done and writing proposals for potential clients, but I’m taking time to re-charge and to harness my energy for 2017. I’m truly an optimist. I believe in taking a pragmatic approach to life: assessing risk, looking at the different avenues for outcomes, and believing that there is good in the world, even when it seems like everything is falling apart. There are a few key people in my life that hear of my concerns and complaints because life isn’t always rosy, but I like to believe that I’m a messenger of positive thinking. There are times when I’m forcibly surrounded by negativity and I get defiant when people want me to go down that path with them. I like to find people’s strengths, especially those people who I consider to be friends and give them something positive to hold onto when darkness appears. I refuse to let anyone drag me into gloom. Let’s be real about the future and utilize one another’s strengths to get through it together.

C’mon the sun composed of French fries – no gloom doom here!

In the meantime, Tuesday Truths!

  • I know that there are a lot of you brushing up your resumes to prepare for transitions. You’ll probably want to do a triple spell check (I often try to get fresh eyes to read for grammatical errors because my fingers sometimes likes to type something else than what my brain is telling them) and you’ll probably want to confirm with your references that you’re using them as such (in advance please! I sometimes get calls from employers before I get the call from the person putting me down as a reference). It helps to know what kind of skills I should emphasize to help YOU get the job. If I’m talking about skills that aren’t that important to the employer, it doesn’t really help (just saying!). So don’t make these common resume mistakes!
  • Oftentimes, looking for a job when you’re unemployed is a full time endeavor. You work from home or if home is too confining, you work from a coffee shop or some other space to get out of the house. I’ve been on my own for 14 years without an official office and people ask me, “How do you separate work from home life?”. My easy answer is that I work certain hours just like I do when I used to go into an office. I don’t get distracted by home activities because I’m too busy with my to do list of work items. Procrastination doesn’t come in the form of doing laundry but if you follow me on snapchat (madalene.mielke) or instagram (madalenemielke), you’ll see that I sometimes do cooking during the work day. I have the flexibility to do that and I also know that I’m not cooking when I have a deadline. My work schedule during the work hours takes precedence and everything else fits around that schedule. You have to be disciplined to not let the distractions destroy what you really need to do (when there’s a Star Wars marathon, can you still do your work or do you know that you need to leave so that you can stay focused?). Creating habits and a routine will establish your work productivity just like having an office because now your home is your office!
  • December is generally filled with holiday parties and gatherings, which are opportunities to network. I’ve heard a lot of people during this season talk about how they really don’t want to hit up these functions because they hate the networking aspect but they know they have to because they’re about to be unemployed. It’s hard to get into a festive spirit when you’re going to these things because you feel the pressure of being “on”, you don’t really want to be there and you need to tell people of your situation so that you can ask for help. Let’s rewind to when you were employed and you went these functions because you actually enjoyed hanging out with people. You were probably approached by others talking about a similar situation. Networking should be viewed as constant communication and maintenance of your current network so that you can meet new people and expand the network. It’s a process that should happen ALL. THE. TIME. Not just in the times you need it. As an introvert that sounds totally and utterly PAINFUL. It really isn’t because when you think about how networking SHOULD work, you’re really planting the seeds for the future. Networking is about not getting anything in the immediate return. You want to connect people to one another and you want to help people who are in the room. The holidays are a good excuse to get into people’s faces so that if you ever find yourself in the “unemployed” situation, you actually will have a lot of people who will want to see you and help you.
  • When we talk about the realities of the job market, we recognize that there will be thousands of political appointees flooding the market come January 2017. Some have plans to go to graduate schools or fellowships, others will be moving back to their non-government jobs, while there will be those who will be competing in every type of government/non-profit/political sector job. Stay with me…this is giving recognition to the landscape and realizing that you are GREAT and it’s your self-confidence that needs a boost to power through this market. If you believe in yourself, you will be successful. Do not feed the doubts. Take care of your mind, soul & body because it’s the vessel in which you convey your confidence. You know your strengths and you know how you could be an asset to an organization so even when you think it looks bleak, your confidence will help you shine differently from the others.
  • I’m a non-practicing Catholic, meaning I was raised Catholic but as an adult I’ve made my own decisions on what parts of Catholicism I choose to believe and practice, one of them not going to church but participating in Lent. With that context, I usually give up meat every Lent because it is a choice that makes my life less convenient. It’s not that I enjoy meat so much that taking it away is a sacrifice, it’s more that it’s no longer a choice for me to have it becomes the sacrifice. Instead of giving up meat this year, I’ve decided that I don’t want to “sacrifice” anything because honestly, it’s a #firstworldproblem and I want to do more to give of myself. So I’m in the process of researching places where I can be a part of something bigger and volunteer my time and/or my skills to help those who are disadvantaged. Kindness may seem in short supply and I want to be a person who can learn from those who offer it freely as well as demonstrate it myself. Life can be cruel and the more I learn to be kind, I think it will help me to be a better leader in my work.
  • With the increase of hate crimes and outright physical attacks, it’s difficult to decide if you should intervene. Of course, you say but are you taking on more than you can handle? We all have good intentions and when in the moment, the person who is being affected should be made to feel safe and you as the intervener should help to defuse the situation, not escalate it. You would think that being in a crowd that people would jump to the aid of a person being attacked, but studies show that individual responsibility lessens in that kind of situation. Here are things that you should consider before you intervene so that everyone involved comes out safe in the end.

Wishing you all the best for this holiday season. Thank you for your continued readership! See you next Tuesday!

— Madalene