It has been many years since I have had to listen to detailed stories of trauma. In my research and clinical practice things have moved along in such a way as to remove me from much of the crisis and direct service work into a greater level of administration and management. So when I attended a conference recently wherein I learned some innovative ways of working with staff who have high rates of burnout I had an experience that reminded me the power of having skills, even when you don’t need them in your everyday work.
Having signed up for all the organizational related topics I was a bit unprepared for the impact of the video used to demonstrate a realistic job preview (RJP) for a child protection worker position. For the rest of the day, as I learned about how to use content mapping to evaluate mission oriented training I couldn’t stop thinking of some of the troubling details of child abuse shared during the RJP video. I was having trouble staying in the moment, distancing from negative emotion, being patient with myself as I processed the emotion that needed to be processed. After all, the details were true, had really happened to real children, and could not be ignored. In short, I was having a hard time using the techniques I had advocated others use for the past decade and a half.
While I was busy learning new techniques in RJP and content mapping what I really needed was a refresh in mindfulness and emotion regulation training. And eventually with time, perspective, lots of exercise (which resulted in this stunning Triathalon Finish!), I was able to get the desired perspective I needed. It didn’t happen within the day of the conference, and it did take up more space in my head than I wanted it to for more time than I wanted it to. What it didn’t do is paralyze me, make me unable to tolerate reminders, or continue finding joy in the simple things. And this is the point, isn’t it, of learning skills throughout our careers? We may not utilize all the skills in our day to day, and we might not acquire them for our own benefit. We may have learned them intending only to share or train others in them and yet, when we need them, there they can be found. Ready, able to be accesed, and resulting in tangible differences in our ability to do the main tasks of our role.
It is worth taking stock of the skills we have picked up along the way and to determine whether we have empowered those we lead with similar tools. We may not see them using the tools in their day to day, but when most needed they could be there ready and waiting.
Besides the links above, you may want to read up on RJP. If you need help with these, or other talent development needs, let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org
*Effects of Realistic Job Previews on Multiple Organizational Outcomes: A Meta-Analysis Jean M. PhillipsThe Academy of Management Journal
Vol. 41, No. 6 (Dec., 1998), pp. 673-690
Loretta L.C. Brady, Ph.D., APA-CP is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Professor, Entrepreneur, and Diversity Columnist.
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Loretta L.C. Brady, Ph.D., APA-CP, 2011-2014