Risk-taking is a scary matter especially during recession. If you get stuck in a job you dislike, this might not be a good time to switch jobs. Yet, I was asked to mentor a group of young Asian American professionals last week on Sept. 10 on the subject. They were taking a leadership class sponsored by the Executive Development Institute (http://www.ediorg.org)
So the challenge of my speech is to move my audience from fear toward wanting to take more risks and feeling hopeful about their life situation. That’s the intent. Not an easy task in this economic climate!
It turned out the speech was the easy part. The difficulty began in the small discussion session when the students shared the reality of their working environment. The layers of fear and pressures overtaking them are so thick that they are hard to dismantle. They worry that they would be laid off. They worried about repercussions from speaking up and the inability to develop relationships with coworkers due to competition, personal failures affecting work, immense pressures to succeed, unrealistic goals from above, and bosses not telling the truth.
I felt like I was a counselor that day rather than a mentor. It’s very stressful in the work place due to the recession. We look at the unemployment statistics and sigh over why America cannot create more jobs. Perhaps, we should also take a look at those who are now employed and help those to cope better with this crazy recession so they can function productively in any given organization. ♦