Nina Spencer

Working Wisdom 2007

Five Professional “Outlaw” Gifts to Give Yourself in 2007

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Ever felt as though you were an “outlaw”…out-of-step with your work colleagues? Ever felt as though you should have been doing something else for a living all along, but now it’s too late…the golden handcuffs are well in place and your original passion for your profession has long since waned? Maybe you should be looking elsewhere–only you really know this for sure. On the other hand, perhaps that out-of-step workplace “outlaw” feeling that percolates to the surface of consciousness for so many–especially at this time of year–is only a seasonal anomaly. You know…that blah feeling many experience come January and mid-winter…once all the holidays are gone, the bills are arriving, the weather is grey, a little “muffin top” is billowing over the top of your pants or skirt waistband…and on top of all that, there aren’t any more gifts to receive or give?

The Sanjaya Factor

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Well here’s one of my dirty-little secrets…I watch American Idol. Yup–Religiously. It started off as something that my daughter and I could sit down together and watch and have a laugh and be entertained, chat, etc. And then she got bored and abandoned ship (weeks and weeks ago). What became of me? I’m hooked–even try to schedule my evening social life around it. Pathetic, eh? A couple of weeks ago I spoke in three time zones in four days and had to laugh at myself as I mildly fretted that I’d miss Idol because I’d be in the air getting to my next destination, only to realize in each case, when I hit my hotel room, that I was “saved” by the magic of flying westbound into earlier time zones and was therefore still on time for Idol — Brother! I need to get a life, but don’t tell anyone, OK? I figure once spring is really here–here in Toronto we’re starting to wonder if it will ever arrive–I’ll be just fine). But I digress…back to Sanjaya.

Workplace Lessons from the Freeway and Beyond

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I just returned home from a road-trip speaking engagement in the Ottawa Valley–helping the fine nursing professionals of Renfrew County celebrate Nurses’ Week. Wow! What a terrific group…and what a fabulous journey, too! Since reaching this location was a bit arduous by air, I decided to drive the 5 hours instead–solo. That’s a nice chunk of time (2 times over and within 24 hours!) to sit alone, moving through time and space, to contemplate life and just see what springs to mind. Here’s what I observed, learned and realized…that can so easily be applied to one’s daily work life experience, too:

The Party’s over: Back to School/Back to Business

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G’bye summer. Yes, it’s true, summer’s not really over until September 21st but who’re we kidding? We all know that once it’s “back-to-school”–whether or not it’s been 3 or 30 years since you had to do that–summer’s O-V-E-R! But, rejoice…perhaps now you can get really get some “stuff” done around your workplace once again…receive timely responses to your emails, voice mails and who knows what else.

The Charisma Count:

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How likeable are you? What is your charisma count? What evidence can you cite to confirm your response to these questions? Do you possibly suffer from “Dangerfielditis”? Or, how about that old Girl Guides and Boy Scouts song, “Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, I’m going to the garden to eat worms…(yum yum)”? George Bernard Shaw declared, “In the right key anything can be said. In the wrong key, nothing”.

Appreciating Staff, Colleagues and Yourself!

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I’m turning the big 5-0 in December and have spent this whole past year declaring, “I’m 50, I’m 50”, when, in fact, I was 49 all along…and still am, for that matter! Now, however, with December 6 looming close, I have regrets. My 21 year old daughter has admonished me these past 10 months (what does she know about aging, anyway???) for not appreciating that I’m still 49 and should acknowledge that truth (to both myself as well as others); but I didn’t listen. Somehow, I thought…

December: A Time for Leadership in Action

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On the brilliant, unseasonably warm early afternoon of November 21st, 2003, I found myself travelling 5 hours homeward-bound along Ontario’s Highway 401 from a speaking engagement near the Ontario-Quebec border. Since that weekday marked my father’s 75th birthday, and since his chosen rural retirement community was located in that part of Eastern Ontario, I decided to surprise him with a birthday visit. He hadn’t expected me until the following weekend, but I just couldn’t