10 learnings from 2019

Every year is filled with trials and tribulations, successes, achievements, surprises, losses, wins and everything else in between. It is human to feel, so it’s good to know that we’re all on the ride of life together!

As we draw closer to the end of the year, I love pausing and reflecting on the things that have made an impact on me. By allowing myself to be vulnerable, I also reflect on the difficulties and insecurities that shape me too. Yes, they are uncomfortable (and sometimes shameful or sad), but I readily acknowledge that I can learn from those experiences.

So without further ado, here is a small sample of my learnings from 2019… the good, the bad , the ugly and the beautiful!

  1. Change management processes are hard. Full stop. Having been through several significant restructures over the past 3 years, I recognise that change processes are challenging and often fraught with tension. The head and heart is often in conflict and emotions are easily exacerbated or suppressed during times of uncertainty. Change is inevitable, but I fundamentally believe the exhibiting kindness and empathy is important at all stages throughout – people can quickly sniff out hidden agendas and insincerity.
  2. Blunt umbrellas are A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Yes, I am known to be a cheapskate, but boy, do I endorse investing in a Blunt. Remember the times when you’re commuting and the wind blows your brolly inside out, or you end up with something that resembles a bunch of antennas? Well, Blunt has a genius design where the fabric is protected and the edges are covered – it is super amazing in all weather conditions and has never failed me so far. Kudos for having a great range of colours and designs too. https://bluntumbrellas.co.nz/
  3. LinkedIn remains my professional go-to platform. Yes I’ve blogged about it many times but LinkedIn is not going anywhere. It continues to be my online business card and I love how I can quickly add new contacts using the LinkedIn QR scan. With movements becoming more frequent, it is easier to keep in touch with former colleagues and networks using LinkedIn (one highlight was being able to call upon a former Unitec-grad who hadn’t seen for 4-5 years to be a guest speaker).
  4. It is good to have friends at work. Having previously worked as a lone specialist in a school, it become apparent my social being needed to be in a more team based environment, or one where colleagues are more accessible. Of course professional boundaries are important, but I do enjoy forming connections with like-minds at work – we spend 8-10 hours at work each day, so why shouldn’t we be connecting with people who accentuate our strengths! Friendships also allow easier access to personal support, when needed.
  5. I can’t work indoors all day. I am based on an 8-level building on Queen St and it is very easy to stay indoors, especially as there is lots of open spaces and kitchen areas. However, I find this environment a tad enclosed, so I always go out for a daily walk during lunchtime. There’s nothing better than feeling a cool breeze or the warmth of the sun.
  6. I need to bust through perceived technical barriers. I feel comfortable using technology, but get bogged by mass technical detail. Unfortunately my aversion to technical details have haltered my attempts to create blogs and more in-depth video content this year. I will help myself by getting the right support at work to achieve this in 2020. There is simply no excuse not to do it!
  7. The higher education industry is volatile. The reforms facing the ITP sector are significant, posing great disruption over the next few years. In a way, I am glad that change is happening as it felt as through some things were stagnant in the sector. The need to react to changing industries, changing employers and changer learners requires many to be open-minded and flexible in our mindset. Change doesn’t always mean eradication or removal, but can morph and reinvigorate things instead.
  8. I love Microsoft Teams. A big thank you to Anastasia for making me a Teams convert! MT makes organising, sharing information and delegating tasks to colleagues a whole lot easier, especially when using the Planner app. It’s nice to give paper a well deserved rest.
  9. I am blessed to have many caring people in my network. Be it the careers industry, the tertiary sector, CDANZ, Maori and Pasifika etc, I have felt supported by great people this year. There are many to mention, but particular shout-outs to Pepe Afeaki, Riki Apa, Fiona Timoti-Knowles, Huia Murupaenga, Lynette Reid, Hana Lambert, Jennie Miller, Gabrielle Greer, Yolanda Li, Marilyn Henneker, Hana Seumanu, Alison Lawrie, Dee Barron and Julie Kavanagh. I wholeheartedly thank you.
  10. Generation Next. Before I started working at Otago Polytechnic Auckland campus, I had mainly worked with colleagues who were older than me, so it was a real shift when I joined a team where I was the oldest! (to clarify, I am an older Gen Y/Millennial or Xellennial). In a very generalised way, I notice my younger colleagues are all digital experts (they ALL contribute to work social channels), they crave development, they are happy to flex their skill sets, they have no qualms in requesting things NOW, they are open to new opportunities, they are not hesitant to speak up to more senior people. ORGANISATIONS: Pay attention to Gen Y and Gen Z. There is much to learn and much to gain!

Here’s to more great learning in 2020.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Sonny Teio says:

    Kia ora Andrew – I really enjoyed this post bro. I was thinking of doing the same thing as well sharing the highlights of 2019.


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