Do you want to build a Tower?

Parenting a toddler is like being on a roller coaster. There’s the anxiety that comes with the climb (when a tantrum is looming or an almost slow-motion fall is about to happen). This is followed by the thrill of the ride itself (including some laughing, crying, and the occasional vomit). The ride is both fun and scary as hell. This particular ride just happens to come with many lessons along the way.

One such recent lesson came while playing with building blocks. My daughter can play with these little plastic accidents-waiting-to-happen for hours. Our simple process for playtime with blocks is this:

  • In an homage to her favorite Disney Princess, Anna, I emphatically sing my adaptation of “Do you want to build a snowman?” called “Do you want to build a tower?”
  • She proceeds to dump the blocks out in one, big, messy pile.
  • Daddy is responsible for building the base, as evidenced by the screaming of “DADDA” until the base is constructed.
  • Daughter stacks as many blocks as her little self can physically manage.
  • Like a baby version of Godzilla, she knocks them down when it is no longer possible to go higher.
  • She proceeds to laugh maniacally like a cartoon villain.
  • Repeat (about 20 times).

blocks

As an educator without an off-switch, I can’t help but want to help her. I try to build a base around her stack of blocks. I take blocks from the pile and suggest an order. She, of course as a budding independent toddler also lacking an off-switch, wants nothing to do with any of daddy’s suggestions. Sometimes, I have to tilt the stack, so she can stretch and reach one more. When she’s done, we usually celebrate. When she knocks them over, I want to be frustrated. I wonder how such excitement can come from destroying something you have worked hard at forever (or in toddler terms – 3 minutes). However, my daughter meets the knocking or falling down of her colored blocks with an enthusiastic scream and cackle. I can’t help but, eventually, join her in that laughter.

This whole process and subsequent reflection has taught me something about my work with students. How often do I try to dictate how they build their tower? How often do I get frustrated for them, when they are OK with the result? Maybe my role is simply to build and hold that base, let them build, cheer emphatically, and support them when they want to tear it all down and start over. Many people in helping professions, education specifically, often get too fixated on the end result (passing the test, getting the job, walking across the stage with diploma proudly in hand) and less on the process and the learning that comes from it. Either way, a tower is getting built. Let’s allow students the freedom to choose their blocks and their structure, instead of us carefully handing them the blocks one by one and prescribing to them what comes next. This way, they get the tower that they want – and all the laughter and learning that comes with it.

Finding joy in the mess

Life gets messy. Well, life is usually messy.

I am uncomfortable with messes both of the literal and figurative variety. I like things in order. I am a ENFJ and have Arranger in my top 5. My Outlook calendar is color coordinated. A cluttered desk gives me anxiety. Leaving an issue unaddressed causes me to toss and turn throughout the night.

None of this compares to being the dad of a growing, running, get-into-everything, toddler. If you think life is messy, wait until you have a kid.

Last night after a particularly challenging messy few days at work I was home feeding my daughter her dinner. On the menu: pasta. I know what you’re thinking. Yes, it was messy. Dinner usually is. Sippy cups being hurled across the room, vegetables being dropped on the dog, and thoughts of “how the hell did sauce get all the way over here?” set the scene. I stand ready, armed with paper towels, eager to wipe away the first glimpse of sauce. This is our usual routine.

Thinking my 17 month old can and will understand her dad’s appreciation of order in this chaos, I grab her spoon. I attempt to feed her the pasta, so to make less of a mess. If there is one thing toddlers like more than flinging food around, it is a sense of independence. My wanting to feed her was no match for her desire to now play with the spoon. The spoon transformed into a comb, something to poke dad with, and a paint brush (to add color to her clothes). Then, like a child genius experimenting with physics, she learned how to use the spoon to launch her food in a new and fun way. Once in a while, she would attempt to use the spoon as intended, but that was short-lived. She would go right back to using this simple utensil in other fun ways. I suppose there is a lesson in that, too.

Through my obvious and visual frustration, there came a moment; a special and important one which I will never forget. As I am wiping up the floor, moving everything out of the way so it does not get covered in sauce, I look up in defeat and anguish at my daughter. Seemingly out of nowhere, she laughs. This wasn’t a giggle or a chuckle, but a full on toddler belly laugh. You probably know the kind. The kind that could put a smile on the face of anyone. After a few seconds, I join her. Eventually, the two of us sit there laughing, playing with her food, and enjoying the mess.

While this may never be something she remembers, it is one of those parenting moments I will cherish forever. This night taught me something important; to find joy in the mess. Like trying to feed a toddler, life’s messes are impossible to avoid. They happen. We don’t get to choose our messes or when and why they happen to us. What we do get to choose is how we respond to them. We can feverishly try to clean them up, frustratingly so when it doesn’t happen as quickly as we would like. Or, we could pause, take a breath, laugh, and enjoy the mess with those around us.

At the end of the day, the furniture was still its original color, the immediate sauce splash zone cleaned, and the toddler restored back to her normal skin color from the orange-red tone the sauce gave her. The mess was eventually cleaned. Unlike other messes, however, this one provided a memory because we found the joy.

mess

Photo taken during last night’s mess. 

A letter to myself the night before becoming a dad

The following post is my reflection after one year of being a dad. It is written as a letter to my past self the night before becoming a dad. I read lots of books, posts, and articles offering advice to new dads, but none of them seemed to capture it for me. Hopefully at least one new dad can find something helpful about the advice below.

Dear Tim,
You are patiently awaiting the birth of your first child. Emotions are high, but excitement is most present. Well, that and anxiety. You still don’t know if you will be dad to a daughter or son. Looking back over the last year, here are some things you need to know about being Mackenzie’s dad.
You’ve never wanted anything more. You picture yourself as a dad often, but you have no idea what it will really feel like. It’s almost indescribable. The love you have for that little girl is more than you ever thought you had to give. The feeling of walking in the house after a long, stressful day and seeing her smile will instantly make it all go away. You’ve never experienced anything quite like this before. When you are holding your daughter, it’s as though nothing else in the world matters but her. You will be protective, very protective. It’s an instinct you did not know you had. It will be all the things they say; tiring, exciting, hard, fun, and joyful. More so, it will be OK. Daycare drop off will hit you harder than you can imagine. You will sit in the car and cry. Doctor’s visits that bring little scares will shake you at your core. You will feel as though someone is reaching inside your stomach and twisting and squeezing. You’ll also learn that Google is the enemy. Call the doctor. Trust your instincts, but for the love of God, do not ask Google for medical advice. The results will confuse and scare the hell out of you. Similarly, don’t listen to all those preachy parents; you and your wife will know in your heads and in your hearts what is best for your daughter. In the end, it will all be ok.
Don’t let the hard moments frustrate you. Sure, waking up at 2am on a work night is not ideal. You’ll be frustrated and that is OK, but know this; there is no feeling quite like being able to console your child. You will miss those 2am cuddles on the rocker as you rock your baby girl to sleep. One day, you will yearn for them. Cherish these moments and embrace them.  You will stand over her crib nightly, gazing at this beautiful little gift with tears in your eyes. Speaking of tears, you will cry a lot. It won’t take much. In the hardest moments, she will be there to make you smile or laugh…and that might make you sob. Though she can’t communicate, it will become abundantly clear that this little one loves her dad. And there is no better feeling than that.
You will love watching your parents and your in-laws bask in the joy that only grandparents know. You will be more connected with them than ever before, because all of a sudden you get it. You know what it must have been like for them and you appreciate it so deeply. Their love of your daughter and willingness to help will be very important.
Speaking of love, your love of your wife will strengthen. You will be amazed by her strength and forever grateful for what she endured to bring you this precious gift. You will watch her as a mom and fall more deeply in love with her than you ever have been over the last 12 years. Who knew this crush you had in high school would become your person and your partner in life? Tell her she is beautiful. Take her on dates. Make sure you pay just as much attention to her and let her know how much in love with her you are and how much she means to you. You will be thankful, more so than ever, that God brought the two of you together.
There are some small and random, though important, pieces of advice too:
  • Always have the clean diaper in position and ready when changing diapers. You’ll be amazed how far fluids can travel.
  • Speaking of diapers, always put one on after a bath and before putting that adorable and expensive towel around the baby.
  • Don’t buy all the things they tell you that you need. Wait and see if you need them first.
  • You’ll be “that parent” on social media. Embrace it proudly – people who want to stay engaged will.
  • Always bring an extra set of clothes with you everywhere. You will be shocked by how much poop can travel out of both a diaper and pants and onto you, making for an embarrassing visit to the doctor’s office.
You always roll your eyes when people tell you it will “go by so fast.” Believe them. It does. One day, you will sit with her, playing in the kitchen and just cry. You will wonder where the time went and why the hell it won’t slow down. At the same time, you will be proud. You will be excited to see her next steps (literally and figuratively). You can see the amazing person she is growing up to become and it excites you.
No one is perfect, but you will be perfect for her. Being a dad is a learning process. Be patient with yourself. Trust your gut. Know that you will do the best that you can do, and that’s enough. You will love being a dad. It will change you.
Sincerely,
Mackenzie’s dad

It’s just Twitter

Without fail, the annual “how should we use Twitter as student affairs professionals” conversation started again yesterday. Call me a curmudgeon, but I am tired of this conversation and here is why:

It’s just Twitter: I have written about this before. Twitter is not the end all be all when it comes to conversations in our field. It is not representative of the field as a whole. I find that much of the conversation lately has been new pros and grads, which I think is fantastic. However, don’t fall into the trap that it is representative of the entire field or indicative of the pulse of the field.

Some of the BEST pros I have worked with are not on Twitter: I bet this is true for you two. This statement speaks for itself. Also, can we stop telling grad and other pros they need to be on Twitter? Show them the value, but let them make their own decisions.

Trolls will be trolls: I elicited a lot of responses when I tweeted this yesterday:

I used the word challenged: not bullied, judged, or trolled. The latter does indeed happen. However, it comes with the territory. I am by no means condoning the behavior. You can try to make Twitter something it isn’t, but it won’t change. It’s like sticking your finger in an electrical outlet: you know what will probably happen. You decide if it is worth the risk. Twitter has its own equivalent to the childproof outlet cover: it’s called the block button.

All of the things I just mentioned happen in other places too: Like in meetings, offices, and conferences. It is easier to see and to talk about on Twitter. Let’s have a conversation about how people feel invisible at conferences or are shamed in meetings. Let’s talk about how many professionals do not have a safe space at work. Let’s talk about this because it starts there. Let’s not mask the issue by trying to make a public social media that space.

Whatever happened to discourse?: The underlying and troublesome tone in parts of the conversation yesterday were about feeling and being supported. Want to support me? Challenge my thoughts and ideas. Cause me to reflect and change my perspective. Don’t ditto everything I say. I am better because people challenge my perspective. Why are so many seemingly afraid of this? The more we challenge perspectives and push each other to think differently, the better off we all will be.

Twitter is a fraction of a piece of your personal/professional reputation: Your work is most important. Tweets won’t get you a job or help you get promoted. Lack of a Twitter presence or voice does not make you a bad professional. Use it how and if you want. You do you.

I often reflect and ask those in my inner circle why I care about this so much. After all, is this very post not hypocritical? I am critiquing the way we talk about Twitter and our expectations of it by saying it is just Twitter, yet I am spending the time to write about it. I want people to feel heard. I want people to feel like they have a safe space. I want people to connect. I want people to share ideas. I want people to feel like they can be their true selves. However, I do not think it is reasonable to expect all of that to happen all the time on Twitter. Use it for what it is; one method of communication (albeit a really good one). Have realistic expectations, be prepared to challenge and be challenged, and know when to disengage because after all, it is just Twitter.

Dear #sachat, we can do better

My fellow student affairs colleagues,
We (myself included) can need to do better. The time has come, my friends, for us to lead the hard and important conversations about our work, our field, and higher education as a whole.

We spend too much of our time in conversation on Twitter arguing about things like the value of handwritten notes when significant injustice is happening in our country and on our campuses and to our students every single day.
We complain about being busy and our right to not have to answer email past 5pm when so many are without jobs and a decent wage or our students are struggling to work three jobs just to afford their education.
We pay way too much attention to the behavior of professionals at a conference on Yik Yak and not enough about issues happening around the world that are impacting our students.
We spend time lamenting that faculty don’t get what we do, when they are the least of our worries. We are in for a fight to defend our worth and the value of a college degree altogether.
Our students and our academic colleagues do not care about your favorite icebreaker. They don’t care about what you think “professionalism” means. They care that you show up to work, do your job, and do your damn best for your students and your campus community.
When articles comment on the inflation of administration – they are talking about us! Yet, we are too busy talking about other things to notice. It’s not my job tell you what to tweet or how to think. I am also not saying that conversations about the nuances in our field are not important. I also get wrapped up in these conversations. I have even started them on occasion and for that, I’m sorry.  To have these difficult, bigger picture conversations, we need to be willing to talk about things that are hard, challenging, and likely to polarize us a bit, but are topics that matter and need to be addressed. The echo chamber is deafening. It’s time for that to change. There is a whole lot of support happening in this community, which is wonderful, but where’s the challenge? Of course, these discussions are already happening, but they are not as loud or as frequent as our usual topics of Twitter conversations. Imagine if we used our collective voices for a greater good instead of how professionals use or misuse social media at a conference? Imagine the power of collective advocacy we could have.
I’m not calling for rogue chats. I am not blaming any one person, blog, or hashtag. This is on all of us. If we can’t talk about these things with each other (on Twitter or on campus), then how can we talk about them with our students, with our academic colleagues, and/or in our communities? Let’s use our precious time and energy together for this and not seemingly small topics that are more about internal bickering and less about advancing our field. Let’s take ownership and leadership in promoting the importance of our work, fighting injustice on our campuses and in our communities, and continuing to advance the educational experience for our students in ways only we know how.
Who’s with me?

Loving your work

This post was co-written by Kristen Abell, Monica Fochtman and Becca Fick after a lengthy Twitter conversation topic. You might find it cross-posted on their blogs, too.

Lately, we have been noticing several folks tweeting things about “reasons I love my job.” It made us think – are we setting up the expectation that you need to love your job to be good at it? Why can’t we say we enjoy it or like it or find meaning from it and that be enough? It all comes down to false expectations of what we should get from work and what we owe to it as a result. It seems like a very unhealthy relationship. Tim threw the initial question out on Twitter, and a conversation has now bloomed into a blog post.

When/Why did we start treating work as something that could be loved? And is this only something that’s happening online? We wonder whether this professed “love” has more to do with how someone looks online, their personal brand, than their true feelings about work. Maybe some people feel like they have to profess their love for their job in order to be taken seriously as a student affairs professional – as if they have to prove their dedication to the job and to the field.

It’s not a person, it can’t love us back. Why do we put so much into something, and what do we get back from it? This can set people up for failure and/or heartbreak. No job will LOVE you back. You can get fulfillment from it, and you can make an impact, but those do not equal love. It seems that some of us, as higher education professionals, have unrealistic expectations about how our employers and institutions will receive our efforts, our “love” for them. We seem to hear, “Love your job! Be passionate. If you do this, then all your needs will be fulfilled and you will be rewarded.” In reality, a job is a job. Yes, some can be more fulfilling than others, but it won’t love you back.

When you treat work as work, you tend to be a better self-advocate when it comes to promotions, time out of the office, saying no, etc. You also tend to take less of that home with you, knowing it will be there when you go back tomorrow. Are newer professionals even taught this? And who do we look to for our models?

When you are all student affairs all the time, you do a disservice to yourself, to your friends and family and to your students. That’s right – we said your students. Do you think they care if you were thinking about them at 2 a.m. if you can’t help them now because you’re completely exhausted and burned out?

So what do you think about “loving” your job – is it all it’s cracked up to be?

Hacking professional development: one year later

#suedle drawn by the talented Sue Caulfield

#suedle drawn by the talented Sue Caulfield

One year ago today, I launched a seemingly simple idea based on a single tweet:

If I had the $ and time, I’d go on an #sachat road trip. So many friends I’ve yet to meet in person.

— Tim St. John (@timstjohn) January 14, 2014

What has resulted since has been the most important, helpful, and meaningful year of professional development in learning in my entire career. The best part: it was completely FREE.

It seems like our community has been talking a lot lately again about professional associations, conference rates and the lack of accessibility that comes with ridiculously high fees. Here’s the thing – professional involvement and development is about the people, not an acronym, program, or conference in a fancy hotel with high profile keynote speakers. We learn from each other in presentations. We build our network through connecting with others online or in person. How is a Google Hangout any different? I have learned over the last year it is not much different, but a whole lot better.

When I started this project, I thought I would maybe chat with a few people. I did very little reaching out. I put this out there for the world and was at the mercy of people interested in taking the chance on an agenda free chat with a person they maybe had met before, never met but seen on Twitter, or never heard of at all. I was overwhelmed by the response.

What followed was 23 one hour chats, either through Google Hangout or in person (photos below). Many of the colleagues I met have become friends. Many of us still chat regularly. Folks I chatted with ranged from senior level to an undergraduate interested in the field and covered all functional areas. My trip took me from Canada to Texas, from New Jersey to Colorado and everywhere in between. We had no agenda and the topics ranged from the value of a PhD, how we recruit in our field, innovative educators, the trouble with how we overvalue social media in our field, running, family, starting a new job, and so much more. I am not exaggerating when I say that no single project has impacted my network, learning, and sense of belonging to my profession as this has.

Amma visits Clark!

Amma visits Clark!

10460508_732323780707_5027253013883632244_n

Hanging out with Courtney and Amma in Boston!

10521530_10100297500124745_1031232211622601609_n

Dinner with my #sabestie and queen of #sabullshit, Mallory Bower

It also led to some pretty amazing opportunities to be a guest on a podcast, contribute to an online course, and write for a prominent student affairs blog (the blog post I am most proud of).

What I have learned from this experience, above all else, is that we are a field of good people with incredible ideas that will are changing the course of education and the lives/experiences of the students we touch. You can only see this partially through Twitter or a conference meetup. These hour chats were everything that is great in a presentation, tweetup, informal coffee chat, and roundtable all in one.

My goals for year 2 of this continuous journey are as follows:

  • Pay it forward: help others see the potential in taking a hold of their own professional development and taking the steps to do so
  • Write more about the amazing people I have met and the profound impact they have had on my learning
  • Do more outreach and ask some people to connect
  • Bigger and better: take this to the next level by hanging out with an entire department, grad class, or even feed into a conference.

Who’s up for joining me on year two of my journey?

Reflect, relax, and just do you

We are under pressure as student affairs professionals like never before.

You can thank me later for the Queen ditty that is stuck in your head right now.

We are on information overload. As if the pressure for new grads to get a job is not enough to make one’s head explode, there are now added pressures in our field.

To write

To read

To be published

To have a side gig

To be professionally involved

To go to this conference or to go to that conference

To be on Twitter (and use it often)

To always be in the know for fear of missing out

To have a sponsor

To always be able to answer “what’s next” for you even if you have just started the next phase of your journey or are perfectly content with where you are.

To start an #sadoc program

To do research

To be a Vice President (and climb that ladder quickly)

Where does this pressure come from? I have struggled with this question for a while. Perhaps, it is largely internal – the drive or want to do the things these folks you admire,want to be like, or are (gasp) competing with are doing. I appreciate that our field is small. I love that I have a strong network of professional colleagues friends because of it. I know some people who are doing some amazing things (like Sue, Mallory, Matt and Valerie, or Paul Gordon Brown for example). I both admire and envy these people.

Or maybe, we pressure other people into this through social media, classes, and actual pushing (i.e. Hey you should really start a blog. Seriously. Start writing now. – kind of “advice”). I worry even more that we do this, albeit unintentionally, to our students. Join this club, apply to be an RA, go to grad school, run for this position, go to this workshop. We create this pressure  to compete – to do or fall behind.

We are a field of generally good people who want to help. We have taken that need/ability to want to help to a new level. Let’s slow it down. You do you, I will do me. More importantly, take it easy on yourself. Do what is important to you. Do your job and do it well. What else you choose to do with your time and how else you choose to engage in the field is up to you. After all your blog, digital identity, side gig, etc. etc. etc. is all for nothing if you are not good at your job or are generally miserable.

Let’s be ok with giving each other a gentle nudge now and then framed in a compliment, but back off when that person is not interested. I owe this site to the gentle nudge of Ed Cabellon, the voice to write this post to Mallory, and one of my best/most favorite ideas to Sue. Their advice was based on a foundation of knowing me, my skills, and my interests and not based in an “everyone is doing it” kind of approach. The distinction is of profound importance.

Let’s make 2015 the year to reflect, relax and just do you.

Parenting and a new perspective on balance

We live and work in a culture where our work defines many of us. Vacation days go unused, parental leave is worse than in most other countries, we are connected to work 24/7 with mobile technology, and the 9-5 is no longer the norm.

I am currently in the final stages of building a house, am still less than a year into a new job, and have a 1 month old. These are, as they say, 3 of the top 5 most stressful things a person can endure during his lifetime, yet I am the least stressed I can ever remember being. Here’s why; it all comes down to perspective.

My perspective on balance changed a month ago when my daughter was born. I quickly have switched from living to work from working to live. My job, though it provides me with tremendous meaning, pales in comparison to the sense of joy, responsibility and meaning I get when I am at home with my family. Parenting as taught me to be selfish. I say no, regularly. If it is outside the scope of my job and/or it takes away from my family, it is not important enough for me to say yes to. You would think this makes me less available and “worse” at my job. However, the opposite appears to be true. I am overall happier, more focused, and better at prioritizing because my time is more precious. I no longer live for my work, which really helps me to see things more clearly, not take things too personally, and to set healthy boundaries. These all make me a better professional and a better dad. I don’t bring my stress and problems from work home the way I used to.

Before I was a parent, I lived for my work. It is what gave me my greatest meaning. Working with college students, I feel that my work matters. The growth and development of my students came before my own needs and caused me many late nights, long weeks, taking things too personally, and lack of sleep. The crazy thing is I did not seem to mind. I was driven by this sense of being a part of something bigger than myself and by playing that important role in the lives of students. I am still driven by this, but it’s different now. I have a new found drive at work. I work with some incredible students who will one day change this world and impact it in profound ways, all of which my daughter will be the beneficiary of. I get out of bed and leave my family every morning to work with these students, so that they can grow and develop into future teachers, psychologists, activists, researchers, doctors, etc. that will make this world a better place. Not only has becoming a dad taught me how to be better balanced, it has also reinvigorated my sense of purpose for working in higher education. The two things (work and home) are mutually beneficial to each other and are firing on all cylinders.

I think working parents are often accused of having a “convenient excuse” and that expectations of parents in terms of balance may be unfair in comparison to those of non-parents. I can’t definitively say that either is or is not true across the board, but I can say this: balance is as much, if not more, about the person and not about the system. You are in control of much of your own balance. Don’t believe me? Look at your calendar right now. How many of the obligations (especially outside of “normal” work hours) are necessary for the successful fulfillment of your job duties? Struggling? Try this question instead: “Will I be fired for not going to this?” I am willing to bet that you can eliminate at least an hour or two of obligations by taking that perspective. It should not take becoming a parent to see this. I should have learned this a long time ago. Being overtired and busy, because I chose to, did not make me better at my job; it made me worse. When we are healthy and balanced, we are our best selves at work.

10672397_759557184747_303040982103584893_n (1)

What could you eliminate from your schedule and what would you do for yourself with that time?

Permission to brag

I’ve written about this before: we have a branding issue in Student Affairs. We are misunderstood, and it is largely our own fault. We spend a lot of time in the classroom, on campus, at conferences, and especially on Social Media talking about this. How do we talk about what we do? How do we articulate and demonstrate our value to the academy? How do people outside of our field come to better understand what we do? I don’t have a solution, but I may have stumbled upon something, perhaps a starting point…

This morning, I was perusing my Twitter feed in the short few minutes I had before my next meeting and I stumbled on a particular tweet from my friend Jason Meier at Emerson College. He was talking about how proud he was that they addressed and discussed mental health at Orientation to begin to destigmatize asking for help. I immediately responded asking him to share what they were doing.

This is just one small example of many posts I see throughout this time of year; pictures of RA training, stories of move-in, Orientation program highlights, excitement for the start of the year, interactions with students, etc. I too find myself mostly posting about work this time of year. I do it to connect with students, but also, I am damn proud of what we do. I am proud of my team, my institution, and myself for what we accomplished during our Week One program. Here’s an example: I have posted several times about our new Consenting Communities workshop that was designed and led by students to begin to discuss the real issue of sexual assault. This program was created and led by students, with staff support. I was proud and felt the need to brag. Why does that not feel OK?

consent

Here’s my takeaway: we need to be better at ok with bragging. Jason’s tweet and my post are small examples. They show people outside of our field that we are more than just party planners or chaperones. It provides ideas and motivation to those within our field. My plea to all of you, my colleagues, is to keep these posts coming. Don’t let this just be an August thing. Make it an all year round thing. Let’s continue to talk about issues within our field, the future of it, and share ideas, but let’s also (and especially) be OK with showcasing our work. If it feels like bragging, embrace it. You do meaningful work – share it! At least in my mind, this will go a long way towards increasing the awareness and respect of what we do.

Let’s brag: share what you are proud about from the last few weeks!