this blog is a copy of my 'official' blog posted on the internal company intranet
I'm in Uganda. I'm working for PACE. I'm living an adventure. I've met Irene who made it the 40 kilometers across the potholed dirt road to reach the clinic where she got at least basic medical care, and gave birth to her son. I'm helping Irene, and those mothers who are unable to get care, those who don't know, those who can't travel, those who can't afford. These mothers are Sara. My adventure is my work. And Sara is who I work for.
Lesson 1 -- Adapt
We're on the phone, myself and my three adventuring fellows, talking with two of the PACE team: Hanna the person coordinating our activities locally, and Zacch the executive director. They lay out the scope of the fellowship. Seems clear -- adapt some previously developed training material for the local market, and roll it out. Now for our introductions. Patrick, Julie, and Rose all have marketing, and training backgrounds, good fit for the work.
My turn. "Hi, I'm in IT, working on strategic planning, guiding our IT investments to ensure we achieve our business objectives."
"That's exactly what we need!". Thus spake Zacch. And thus did the scope change. And thus did the adventure begin.
Lesson 2 -- Move
Six weeks in: orientation, field trip, clarify objectives, stakeholder socialization, gather information, panic. That's the work sequence so far, and already it feels far behind schedule; with hindsight, panic should probably have been earlier. This, I'm assured by Chris, my fellowship mentor, is a common feeling. My goal, now clear, is to refresh the existing business strategy, and to develop an IT strategy ensuring IT investments drive the business strategy. This clarity was some time in its evolution. A path of many turns, to an elusive and hazy destination. Strive for clarity, but know that sometimes you just have to move.
Lesson 3 -- Live
When you apply to become a fellow, you express a preference for one of many projects. Some are domestic, based in the USA; others are international: Europe, Africa, Latin America, Asia. You arrive at your destination, regardless of country, things are new. People are new. Culture, food, travel, language, colleagues. All are new. It is your job to experience, to choose adventure. That will to power, that striving for achievement, that singular ambition to reach for the next step. Be not timid, but enter into the waters. Think, be cautious, but don't hesitate. Say yes. Greet strangers, laugh in their stories; make your own. Find Sara, hold her child. Go to the weddings, dance, eat the grasshoppers, run the slums, learn the language and the thousand hellos. Make new friends. You have three months. Live it.
Lesson 4 -- Seek
Your values have the power to move; use them. For those we help, this is no adventure. Saras is a reality we work to smooth, a reality of lives lost to lack of basic care. We work, but as we do we hear her stories, we hear her laughs, we feel her tears. We work, so Sara's children can seek their own adventures,
and laugh their own laughs. I found my adventure, yours is waiting. Within the uncertainty of work, find your Sara. Tread new paths. Find your adventures. Seek them out.
Oh, and eat grasshoppers.