At Public Allies, I often feel like a stone in the middle of a creek. There’s a constant flow of information around me. This is an institution that’s about many many things, but the one that seems most palpable to me right now is continuous learning.
Now, this can mean something different to each person (more on that later). But to me right now, it’s all about the creek. All around me, the institution is at work — raising funds, recruiting a new class of Allies, trying to build an interactive application form, developing new learning tools, launching new sites. Individuals are at their own stages of meeting goals. Work relationships are at different phases of ups and downs. Same as any office anywhere.
I dropped into this particular creek about two months ago. The creek might have shifted a bit to work around me, but mostly it kept moving, oblivious to the interruption.
This metaphor is going to break down pretty quickly and I won’t belabor it much longer, but work with me here. Being new in an organization means a certain amount of time spent letting information wash over you, and absorbing as much as you can. Much like a stone exposed to moving water, the flow can reshape a person.
Public Allies talks a lot about the transformative experience their Allies have when they sign up for 10-month apprenticeships. I’m thinking about the transformative experience I’m undergoing now, the slower kind you have at a time of life when you’ve been kicked around a bit, know a little more, are ready to say no to an awful lot of things and yes to a few very good things.
My new employer identifies continuous learning as a value, and defines it this way:
The ability to question assumptions and beliefs, understand strengths and shortcomings, and commit to continued growth within a community context.
OK, so I’m the communications person here, right? I am not so sure I have digested this completely. Question assumptions and beliefs — check. Understand strengths and shortcomings — check already! Commit to continued growth — check. Within a community context — gotta get my head wrapped around that one.
I’ll let you know what I find out.