Thankful 2017

by John on November 22, 2017

I’ve been in a funk for the past few weeks. Who am I kidding, it’s been a few months (but we’re friends, so who’s counting). I’ve been doing some reflecting and trying to ascertain just whats causing my angst and what I can do to fix it. I mean you can only fight the funk so much with a funky Spotify playlist, sooner or later you’ve gotta get out of your own way.

I realized that one of the things that helps me is to realize how lucky I am and that I cannot take anything for granted. Since it’s the thanksgiving time on the calendar, I figured I should genuinely and publicly say thank you. Here’s my list for 2017:

  • I’m grateful for my girls. They keep me grounded, keep me on my toes, and while they try their hardest to drive me crazy, they make it up with unconditional love.
  • I’m thankful for the people who take my phone calls when I’m genuinely needing counsel. I probably don’t call to shoot the breeze as much as I should and I’m working on that, but it’s not easy to appear vulnerable and I’m glad that you never hold that against me.
  • I’m thankful for the ability to work in a profession that I absolutely love. I worry about my colleagues, my students, and the future, but hey you already knew that I was a worrier. I am challenged It makes me a better colleague/co-worker.
  • I’m thankful for the people who come to me asking for counsel and advice. I still don’t think I’m an expert, but I am opinionated and passionate about stuff and when asked, I do share.
  • I’m thankful for the kind (and funny) responses when I do my series of “Random Texts from Johnny Nyk”. You are awesome and I always smile when people reciprocate. Makes it all worthwhile.
  • I’m thankful that I’m getting better, albeit, slowly.
  • On a cheesy superfluous note, I’m thankful that Spotify has The Beatles, and that I can share my love of music with my daughter. She’s also teaching me a few things about the new pop artists and it’s always fun to discuss music with her.
  • I’m grateful that we survived hurricane season this year. I’m also glad that it’s almost over (just eight more days…)
  • I’m humbled to participate in Leadership Miami. This is leadership learning on steroids and the formula is quite interesting. Put a bunch of Type A’s in a group and have them work on a project to better the community. It’s an awesome feeling to be humbled, it helps to purge the personal hubris.

Finally, there are too many people to mention, but I want you to know that I’m still reading all the blogs, following along with all the stories and article that you put out, and I root for each and every one of you. There are several peeps that I miss, and I don’t know when you’ll be back, but know that I’m in your corner, cheering for your success.

Thank you for indulging me. Now I need to go and have a discussion with my wife about how my soon to be seven-year-old already has an international lawyer on retainer (true story).

Makes me proud, but then again, I’m not surprised, I mean she is her father’s daughter.


#7Songs – Number Four

by John on October 10, 2017

I have been away for a while. It’s been an incredibly busy summer and fall, and one of my colleagues reminded me today that I needed to get back to my writing. She was right, I have been neglecting my voice and what better way than to jump back into the fray than by writing about my songs. Here’s number four in my seven-song series

The Song: Freedom ‘90

Why this one: I graduated from senior high in 1990. I spent my summer working at The GAP and it was one of my first “real jobs”. I was part of a team, trying to learn how to work with others and surrounded by that crappy soundtrack that was constantly playing in the background while I was trying to sell the “outfit of the day”.

One of my co-workers was an English ex-pat (at least that’s what he told everyone). He used his charming accent to rack up the sales from all the cute girls and I was amazed. OK, I was jealous.

He managed to get a copy of George’s album “Listen Without Prejudice” and invited a few girls over to his apartment to listen to the CD. I was invited to join him, another dude that worked with us, and I was completely out of my league.

Talk about life changing moments…I was transfixed by the whole experience.

Where it takes me: This song brings me right back to that in-between time where I was struggling to find my voice, my sense of style, and my desire to not wind up like my parents. I could feel the future. I was scared to register for selective service. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing in college, let alone doing at work. I realized I was part of a group, but also alone. Dissonance was normal, confusion a common feeling, and the desire to grow up quickly was constantly tugging at me.

When I watched the video for the song I saw a world that I hardly knew existed outside of my world in Miami. Models, technology, music all intersected in a way that I could barely comprehend.

Sure, I was somewhat into fashion, if you could consider 90’s GAP fashion (chambray shirts, khakis, denim, and horrible chunky sweaters). Seeing the black and white images of Naomi, Christy, Linda, and Cindy were burned into my psyche. I was hooked, even if I couldn’t figure out how to cinch my jeans and tie my belt just right.

Parting Shots: Yes, it’s campy and cheesy, but the bass line was thumping along and I knew that I was standing alone at the beginning. Trying to figure out how to live alone, trying to do better than my peers who had just graduated, trying to become a person.

Years later, those feelings all come rushing back, but rather than overwhelm me and cause me pain, I now just quietly smile. I can now recognize those same feelings in the eyes of my undergraduate and graduate students. This time around I can be that reassuring voice of experience and help pay it forward.

While I’m still on that path, painfully aware of my shortcomings, I’m comforted by the thought that I can make a difference.

Maybe that’s the true meaning of Freedom!


Mad Dogs and Englishmen

June 27, 2017

The humidity has returned to Miami with a vengeance. For me, it’s a sign that the long days of summer have returned and I’m moved to a time of introspection and semi full time sweating. We are in full prep mode for our fall recruiting season, asking ourselves what’s new, how do we connect with […]

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My #SHRM17 interview with Sara Noll Wilson

June 12, 2017

With the annual SHRM conference just around the corner, the time has come to start planning what sessions you’d like to attend. As part of the blogging teams continuing coverage of the annual conference, I had an opportunity to interview Ms. Sara Noll Wilson, Talent and Development Manager for ARAG North America. My curiosity was […]

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Dear KitKat

April 21, 2017

My Dearest Katherine, Today was an interesting day for you and for me. Today, when you told me that some random boy said that you were “hot” it was not an easy thing for me. You’re growing up and I’m not ready for that. I don’t know if I ever told you this, but when […]

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