The Goldilocks Dilemma – Final Considerations

I have received many good comments on the Goldilocks Dilemma. I wish to share some with you.

My friend John wrote: “A person who isn’t making mistakes, is not trying hard eneogh. You talk about things as if they are right or wrong. Hurdles come in different sizes, shapes and colors. Your path in life has many bumps, potholes and detours. Stick to your goals, family, work and self. Work on your objectives, don’t let others distract you, learn from them.” John, I really appreciate your insight. I, like you, believe that our life path is not a black and white thoroughfare but a shaded road with many colours and grades of black through white. My personal past life has taught me to embrace change and to appreciate the challenges that come with it. I guess that, once in a while, I need to stop and reflect before I can move forward. Thank you pal.

My long-time friend Bob from California (who worked for Lucas Films Ltd.) wrote: “Ciao Uncle Alby! This time last year, I hit what I might refer to as my Goldilocks Dilemma…stresses at home, and stresses at work. I decided to take a leave from a good job and focus on the situations at home, knowing that my job would not be available when my leave was over. Although I had to persevere four months of unemployment, and accept a new job at 40% less pay, I am certainly much happier and relaxed one year later. I have been able to search other job offers looking for “the right one” while still collecting a paycheck, albeit not yet what I would like it to be. I just have to retain the faith that a certain Higher Power is looking out for me as only a loving Father does.” Bob you know me, I admire you for you what you did and do. Your words confirm some of my thoughts and analysis I laid out in my blog. Continue to persevere.

Jason has offered the following comments: “I heard at a management seminar once that there are 4 progressive stages to career development:

1. Survival
2. Stability
3. Success
4. Substance

The Goldilock dilemna is probably not going to be very applicable to people who are in (or have been thrust back to) stage 1 or 2, however, I have reached a point where I am still hungry but the menu is limited to porridge that is too hot and too cold.

For me the work ahead is to “responde, as best I can, to those things uniquely encombant on me” (or find substance) that drives my appitite. For me the search for meaning and purpose cannot be limited to my work. I have had to make an effort to connect with the humans on a personal level. Many of them like their porridge just right.

This is a introspective process and remains a work in progress.” I agree Jason and this confirms that we are all different and we take our paths in differente ways. This is why, it is important to know what other people think and would do in similar situations. Thank you to you, too. Can you tell me why you want to be called commissioner now?

Steve instead wrote: “In your case, I don’t think I could or should offer you advice except to say that I will support whatever decision you come to.  But I think you understand that everyone needs to have a balance between a work life and home life to ensure one situation doesn’t overwhelm the other.”

Geoff shared some thoughts that really made me think hard:”When you listed your options the only one that didn’t throw everything to the wind was to throw the job security out the window and do what you think needs to be done. Just looking professionally, leaving will give you all the same security issues staying would. Although it would increase the chances of reducing your influence in any new position. This is only looking professionally though, moving, family and religious influence/community would take on there own……………’struggle’ if you will. Finding the balance is a huge cliche. If you asked a child what to do when you’re not getting enough of something and it’s a problem, you can bet they would plainly state; ‘Then just get more of it!’ We cloud decision making with every way we’ve been taught to strategize and analyze and in the end use these ‘formulas’ to avoid the truths we can see coming. Conflict and emotion are the scariest things (hahaha……..scary…….emotion……..cracked myself up!) for planning and direction because of their radical and irrational natures. As I am seeing in my own family’s business, insecurities can grind anything to dead halt. All I can suggest is that you look hard at what you feel are your strengths and if they will guide you through the paths you are looking down. I have found it extremely helpful for myself to evaluate my own level of ‘tolerance’ for conflict and stress. When I know what I am willing to put up with I have always been able to forge ahead confidantly and achieve my goals.” Geoff, thank you. You helped me looking into the glass as half full.

I wish to also thank John, Ken and Vaughan for their insights. They were also very enlightening. I am most thankful for your wisdom and help.

I wish to conclude my thoughts on the Goldilocks Dilemma by sharing some of Dr. Berglar’s comments on how to solve the impasse when we find ourselves in a Goldilocks situation. He introduces a principle called Chronic Diversification, which means that if a person’s self-esteem has mutliple infusions of positive feedback it grows more stable and less vulnerable to the emotional consequences of failing at innovation and change. The first step toward overcoming the anxiety inherent in reconceptualizing your career this way is to understand that the strengths that give you a professional identitycan be reorganized and reallocated just as a broker moves assets among investments.

In the end, Dr. Berglar gives some simple tips to help us repackage or reorganizing a career:

  1. Relax: you are reapplying your strengths, not reinventing yourself. Your personality usually does not change but adapts. For instance, if you are an introvert you may learn to overcome a fear of social gatherings, but it is doubtful that you will ever be the life of the party.
  2. Be an origin, not a pawn. If you dictate the time and place and place to begin reorganizing yourself, you benefit in several ways: not only you are more mentally equipped to cope with the stresses inherent in such risk taking but you exude confidence to those who may facilitate your success.
  3. Embrace bad news. Never wear rose-coloured glasses when readjusting your career as by doing so you are prone to engage in denial. But anticipating the consequences of your actions makes experiencing a painful outcome manageable.
  4. Don’t forget that Eustress (positive stress) is a cousin of Distress. Remember what Epictetus said in 135 C.E. ‘Men are disturbed not by things, but by the views they take of them’.

And with this, I conclude my few entries on the Goldilocks Dilemma. To all my friends that wish to know if my personal struggle is now over, I would respond: it’s never over if you love a full life. As far as there is a dilemma, there is something positive going on.

Thank you again for all your reading, pondering, and responding. Next on my blog: the fascinatin theory of the Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell.

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About alby59

Alberto has a 25-year plus career in Local Government which began as City Manager in Italy. He currently serves as Chief Administrative Officer for the District of Lake Country in beautiful Central Okanagan BC. In addition, Alberto is Adjunct Professor to the Political Science Department of the University of Northern British Columbia and teaches a variety of local government related courses. He has developed a series of lectures on Leadership and Ethics and is designing a Project Management course aimed at Local Government and public sector practitioners. Very active in both his professional and academic life, Alberto has served as President of the Local Government Management Association of BC and the Association of Records Management Administrators of BC and Yukon. He also served as member of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Tsunami Recovery Committee for the reconstruction of communities and local governments in Sri Lanka and Indonesia hit by the 2004 Tsunami and managed an FCM capacity building program with the City of San Fernando, La Union in the Philippines while with the Township of Langley. Alberto has earned facilitator certifications with Franklin Covey and Cognitive Edge, and continues to foster his interest in personal education and professional development. He is an avid reader, music lover, and science fiction movie aficionado. He plays guitar and piano for fun and sings with his wife and his children. He is also very active in his church and community being a former Rotarian and currently serving as the Second Counselor in the Thompson Okanagan (Vernon Stake) Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. However, his most important interest is his family: his wife Silvana and their two children Victor and Grace.
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3 Responses to The Goldilocks Dilemma – Final Considerations

  1. eva navrot says:

    This has all been very interesting and given me some thoughts to works with, I have worked in many different areas of community building, from front line work to bigger picture stuff and I believe that I am led to where I can do the most effective work for my community. That’s not to say however that I have been mis-led by my own desire for proerty or prestige. This is very tricky, if you have some kind of a belief in a Higher Power there is always a lot to ocnsider before making any changes. Thanks for the thought provocking comments everyone.

  2. MARY JANE C. ORTEGA says:

    After reading your blog, I started looking back to my 68 years trying to remember the stages of life when I had the GOLDILOCKS dilemna. This is especially true for women who have not only what they call ” double burden” but even”triple burden”. Double burden for us professionals who have to balance between home and career and triple burden for us who even involve ourselves in civic organizations or community work, aside from home and career.

    Most of the times, I did not consider these involvements a burden because I enjoyed doing them, but when there is a crisis at home and choices have to be made, then it becomes a burden. But on hindsight, a good foundation on values will make you come to a good decision.

    When youo put the family as a priority, then everything will fall in place. If there is good communication in the family, the family can show understanding sometimes. But when “sometimes” becomes the norm, then, some soul searching is needed.

  3. jason gordon says:

    Good read Alberto – I have realized as part of my own mid life crisis that I will likely never be batman but Commisioner Gordon is still in my sites 🙂

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