I know for some at UC Berkeley this is a time of uncertainty, but as a self described perennial optimist, I see uncertainty as opportunity and opportunity is super exciting! Some changes in leadership are thrilling- most notably the appointment of Chancellor Christ. I’m so impressed with her five goals Building Community; Ensuring that Students Thrive; Enhancing Diversity and Inclusion; Supporting Transformative Research for the Public Good; and Building a Sustainable Financial Model. How cool is it to be here at Cal at a time like this and have the chance to execute against such compelling priorities for campus? As a result, I resolve to make an impact at Berkeley in 2018.
Like so many of us, I’ve made a lot of resolutions this time of year only to fail before even getting out of the month of January. I like to think big. I might ask myself “In what way can I make the biggest impact?” But what if that’s been my problem? Following through on lofty ambitions is a tough thing to execute. So after having experienced so many doomed resolutions, perhaps the better question would be, “How do I make the best and most lasting impact?”
Having given it some thought, I think I’ll start small. Rather than creating some great new program or initiative, however noble it might be, I’ll start by supporting some of the great programs that already exist. Remembering the Chancellor’s priority that resonates the most with me, “building community”, I think it best to focus on building stronger relationships on campus. Berkeley Staff Assembly (BSA) has a great mentorship program. I was lucky to get signed up as a mentor and be matched with an exceptional mentee. I resolve to make this mentorship transformative for the both of us.
In further effort to build community on campus, I also resolve to make myself more available for informal opportunities to connect. I sit at my desk and eat my lunch way too frequently. Marie Calendar and I have become close friends! Sometimes this is a necessity to be sure, but I think it ought not be the rule. I recently read Work Rules by Laszlo Bock. Until recently, Laszlo was in charge of People Operations at Google. In the book he of course covers the many perks employees get at Google, but he’s quick to point out that the perks are there to be more than just perks. The most famous of their perks is perhaps the free meals. Laszlo suggests that the goal of the free meals isn’t just well-fed Googlers, it’s “…creating community and opportunities for people to generate new ideas.” So while I can’t provide everyone at Cal free meals (sorry friends!) I can create community by getting out of my office, even if it’s just to the lunchroom to connect with my colleagues during lunch. Sorry Marie, our lunch dates will now be a table for 3 or more.
So that’s it, small resolutions with lasting impact. That’s my plan. I encourage you to consider joining me regarding your New Year’s resolutions and ask not “In what way can I make the biggest impact?” but rather “How do I make the best and most lasting impact?” Hopefully we can connect in 2019 to discuss our improved outcomes!
Happy New Year!