#CollectiveWisdom: Lather, Rinse & (Maybe Not Always) Repeat

Joanne Worden is a believer that work matters and “work is good” – she should know; she’s been an HR executive for most of her career. She is also an alumna of The Collective. You can learn more about her via LinkedInJoanne

I’ve been working since I was 16 years old (and before that, if you count babysitting and odd jobs). For the most part, I’ve loved – or at least liked – every job I’ve had. I found each one sort of fascinating in its own quirky way, and through each position I learned, grew, accomplished, built relationships and, of course, spent some amount of time banging my head against the proverbial wall. Even the experiences that put bumps on my head taught me something – the importance of knowing yourself, knowing the environment, being realistic, and figuring out if the job is a good fit.

And so, for years and years, I was on what I called the ‘lather, rinse, repeat’ cycle.

You get up, you show up, you do your best. Promotions and new projects come your way. You meet wonderful people, and you meet some asshats. If you wise up along the journey, you learn to appreciate the former and manage the latter.

I was fortunate. I had way more good bosses than bad, and colleagues who were patient and kind and giving of their time and talents. We did cool things, we won awards, we got shit done. . . with lots of laughs and, yes, a few tears along the way.

And then, like that (at least that’s what it felt like), I was done. I had the opportunity in the fall of 2015 to take a very lucrative ‘package’ from the company I had been employed with for five years. I weighed all the options carefully and decided it was a good time to pack my boxes and go.

But then what? I figured out pretty quickly that I wasn’t ready to ‘sit’ – and, in fact, chances are good that I never will be. Work and working is woven into my DNA, and I doubt I can be content to be a ‘lady who lunches’. However, I do recognize that I want my second – and third – acts to be meaningful and focused, with the ability to ‘do some good’.

Enter my time in the Collective. Getting connected to this wonderful group of smart, talented, open-minded and open-hearted folks is one of the best things I’ve ever done, personally and professionally.

I was able to bring my semi-blank canvas to our meetings each week and talk to the group about what colors I thought I wanted to paint with. I got lots of affirmation about being sure to use the ‘greens and blues’ that interest me and that are my strengths, and also great ideas about potentially blending those colors to form some new shades. I’m finding out that purple is indeed a beautiful color that belongs on my palette. And while others in the group were so helpful to me, I felt that I could be helpful to them in return. By offering advice at times, simply by listening at others.

The Collective taught me that simply lathering and rinsing is enough – and repeating, without intention can actually be pretty black and white.

I’d rather live a colorful life, creating new and exploring – career adventures and otherwise. One where my story can be of service to others, continuing on March 7 at the Life of Yes Storytelling Showcase – the culmination of my storytelling class with Mac & Cheese Productions. Join me, join us and share yours!