📫 #29 - On Being a Therapist

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Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant? - Henry David Thoreau

Photo from nappy.co
Photo from nappy.co
On Being a Therapist
One of the many, many things I didn’t expect to do when I became a manager of people, was to become a therapist.
Not in the traditional sense of someone visiting your office for 45mins and lying on a couch (unless you actually have an office with a couch - lucky you) and not in the sense of when your best friend visits and you drink a glass or four of wine and take it in turns to complain about your parents or significant other.
No, when I became a manager I also become a therapist in the sense that once I’d gained and maintained the trust of my reports and once we’d hit a rhythm of talking about work in a purely functional manner (because it just, well, worked), one-to-ones become an opportunity for people to open up to me about non-work things.
Now, my default mode is a fixer. If I have an idea that I think will work for your problem, I really need to tell you. I shouldn’t and 99 times out of 100 I won’t (which has been a hard skill to master letmetellyou), but I want to. However, as your manager, I just need to listen. I’m not a trained therapist or counsellor, but I am a trained listener and, if I was going to get fancy about it, then I can behave like Freud and be a tabula rasa onto which you can project yourself.
Most of the time, that’s all people really want. Someone impartial to listen. Saying things out loud often takes the edge off of something painful, or allows you to see things differently from the whirlwind of noise inside your head.
So whether you manage, or you’re managed, it’s OK for one2ones to turn into a therapy session from time to time. It shows there’s a level of trust between colleagues that is often hard-won and should be nurtured.
Just be mindful that they don’t go too far - getting things of your chest is one thing, getting involved in other people’s personal lives is another. Remember, you have two ears and one mouth.
Apps and Things
After the last issue, Tobias Talltorp got in touch and sez: “You asked for apps that we like, so I actually need to plug one of mine. It’s called Short Break From Work and does what the name says; gives you a short break. When you need it.” It looks pretty useful and stands out from the myriad of other Slack and web apps by only taking one minute.
I use this web and mobile app nearly every day. It plays AI-generated background music with binaural noise and SCIENCE. Basically, it helps me focus when I need to get into some deep work:
Our science-first approach creates music that sounds different–and affects your brain differently–than any other music.
(Got an app, site or something that you’re excited about? Hit reply and let me know and I might feature it here!)
Recommendations From
This week the recommendations come from a good friend of mine Elissa Wood. She’s keeping things from catching fire as a program manager at an org that looks after the Christie’s online auction platform (where they sold an NFT for $78m! 😱).
What are you reading right now?
Four thousand weeks - Oliver Burkeman - It takes a philosophical perspective of time management and invites us to accept and come to terms with our finite existence.
What’s your favourite app, or website?
Teach my monster how to read - it assuages my guilt about my 4 year old’s screen time
What quote inspires you?
“Don’t settle for the crumbs, demand the whole Cake.” - I heard Mandu Reid, leader of the Women’s equality party speak recently and she was really energising
What’s your favourite recipe?
Spag Bol. Can’t go wrong.
Bigger Brains Than Me
The web is chock full of people with much bigger brains than I have. I stand on the shoulders of giants:
(5 min read) At work, we’re different people to the people we are with our friends. It’s a constant balance and one that just adds to the anxiety of going to work. This piece really nails it.
We are likely to be a group of almost random strangers of varied ages and backgrounds who have only been temporarily aligned in the determined pursuit of money. But we are nevertheless, in the few minutes before the start of proceedings, called upon to treat each other with a high degree of tolerance, kindness and empathy.
(2 min read) I’ve been an advocate of remote work for decades now. Starting with a ROWE at an SEM company I worked for. My desire to treat people with trust and respect in this area has never waned.
(4 min read) Hiring is REALLY hard. Fraught with gotchas and speed-bumps. This article hits home in a discussion about what attributes actually are important for a candidate to possess.
Those of us who have served time in companies know what it’s like to have the waves of work repeatedly knock you down. You get back up, sure, and in doing so, you learn what to do next time — or, more importantly, what not to do.
Classifieds and #people Jobs
Bit of a plug as it’s a sponsored link, but I’ve been using hired.com on and off at a number of organisations. If you’re looking for top tech talent, then hit the link!
Get instant access to a curated pool of responsive top tech talent actively seeking their next role.
Giftpack is looking for Gifterns (Love it!) They’re looking to fill these roles: Business Developer, Giftern Operation, Giftern UI / UX Designer, Giftern Frontend Engineer Giftern Backend Engineer, Giftern Data Engineer, Giftern Content Marketer
Shopify are looking for a seasoned DEI leader, talk to Melissa on the #people Slack channel
Recruitment Strategies for Scale-Ups Webinar “Hear from the fantastic Andy Clarke, CTO & Co-founder at Evidenced and our own Director, Recruitment, John Hazelton as they discuss the nitty-gritty of recruiting tech people and share their actionable strategies.”
#End Post
Thanks for reading. Any feedback is warmly received, hit me up at mike@hashtagpeople.co.uk.
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Mike Pearce
Mike Pearce @the_peoplepost

The #people post

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