Today is Day One

I was laid off yesterday.  Higher ed isn’t immune to changes, especially when a new boss comes in and wants to bring in his own people.  But I’m using this as a learning experience for me and about me.  It’s time to truly reflect where and how I can do the best work in executive education, learning and development that I can.  And I’m going to use this blog to share what I find as a way to help you find your signature path, as Geoff Bellman wrote in his book of the same name (Your Signature Path: Gaining New Perspectives on Life and Work).

Today I’d like to write about choices. Where do I start?  The tendency is to want to do everything at once: unpack the boxes, revise the resume, find a job.  According to Abraham Maslow (’s_hierarchy_of_needs), I should be starting with my physiological and safety needs, which in today’s world translates to continuing my insurance, making sure my retirement funds get rolled over, and immediate financial needs are OK.

Then I’m faced with a dizzying array of choices.  What do I want? What do I say to people?  Am I restarting my business, one key thought right now, or do I want to find another position?  In higher ed, associations, or corporate?  Do I want tall, vente or grande?

In today’s society we are not only faced with an array of choices that make it more difficult to make decisions (The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz), we need to have confidence that the choice we made is the right one.  And one of the best ways to do that is through taking an assessment to learn more about yourself. Again, a dizzying array of choices, both free on the net and ones you pay for.  For starters, I’d recommend Strengthfinders 2.0 by Tom Rath or Now Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham.  Know and build on your strengths is a great way to get started.  For me, I’ll review the dozen or so assessments I’ve taken over the past several years and see what they begin to tell me (or confirm) what I know about myself.

So whether you are looking for a job or in one, my advice for day one: get to know YOURSELF.  What are your strengths?  Are you using them?  How can you build on them?  Make today the start of your journey to a more happy and productive life doing what you are best at.  I’ll let you know what I find out.  Feel free to do the same.




About hprager

Father, husband, brother and son. Delighted to be friends and mentor to so many wonderful people. Passionate about: leadership, learning and development, education, nature and the environment, youth, music, jazz, the tuba, Israeli dancing, networking and helping others, humor, laughter, swimming, hiking, the Cubs, Northwestern athletics, theater, musicals, concerts, traveling and making new friends wherever I go. Helping the world be a better place when I leave it.
This entry was posted in Behavior Change, Growth, Learning, Self Development and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Today is Day One

  1. Jean Pudlo says:

    Don’t forget eat well and exercise as part of that base level of needs! And regular contact with others, including friends in other states. Build your support net for the process. Good Luck, Howard! I predict a thoughtful and strategic process, with some surprises, ahead.

  2. Jenn Dudley says:

    Hi Howard — Thank you for starting this blog and sharing your story. I am on week 3 of my post-corporate gig adventure and can definitely relate to the potential inertia created by the ‘dizzying array of choices’. I look forward to following your story. — Best, Jenn

  3. Rex Davenport says:

    For what it’s worth, I have been there–laid off that is. It was bad at first, but very soon it became a great adventure. Twenty years later I find myself thinking about it as one of the best things to happen to my career. Good luck.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s