#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

by John on 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 the incoming group of transfer students and fresh eyed students who are not sure even how to spell “ennui” (take note my younger peeps it starts with an “E”)

Fun times!

For some, this can be a daunting task, for others it’s just another day or week on the multiple calendars that we juggle.

I’m looking at how to engage the unengaged, inspire the uninspired, and ensure that our team, and our multiple stakeholders are going to execute on the crazy ideas and ensure that recruiting targets are hit. So yeah, it’s really fun.

That’s the funny thing about leadership. It’s easy to sit on the sidelines and critique without every rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands dirty. It’s also incredibly difficult get filthy and not want to just throw up your hands and say “No Mas” when things don’t go according to plan.

Call me crazy, but I’m a fan of staring into the proverbial abyss, shouting as loud as you can, and making a difference. One tortured soul at a time.

So as I sit on my deck, cigar in hand, soaking up the humidity and ruminating on the times we fell just a bit short and the times we knocked the cover off the ball, I can’t help but smile.

After all, isn’t that what we are upposed to do?


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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The ides of March are upon us!

March 15, 2017
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CAESAR: Who is it in the press that calls on me? I hear a tongue, shriller than all the music, Cry ‘Caesar!’ Speak; Caesar is turn’d to hear. Soothsayer: Beware the ides of March. Julius Caesar – William Shakespeare Act 1, Scene II Happy March 15th! Go get you some culture and read you some […]

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