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UCF Office of Professional Development

Are you Really “Owning” It?

Every semester I get a slew of students who tell me, after making a mistake in my class, that they take responsibility / ownership of their mistake.  Most then ask me, what “we” can do about it.

Nothing.

I didn’t miss the deadline.  I didn’t do poorly on the quiz.  I didn’t miss my appointment, or fail to make one.  But none of that matters.  Truth is “we” CAN’T do anything about it.

See, taking responsibility for something is more than just admitting you messed up.  That’s like saying sorry to your little brother for hitting him with your Tonka truck even though you were swinging it wildly above his head.  You aren’t sorry for hitting him.  You’re sorry you got caught.  You aren’t taking responsibility, you’re admitting you messed up.

Taking ownership means that you accept the consequences of your action (or inaction) and do something different to not make that mistake again.  It means you learn from your mistake.  You may get a bad grade.  You may fail.  You might not graduate.  But the next time you have to keep an appointment or meet a deadline, you’ll do so with a bit more focus.

I’m not the 13th Doctor.  I don’t own a TARDIS.  I can’t travel through space and time.  So I can’t, and won’t, undo your mistake.  But I CAN talk about your mistake and help you come up with ways to not have it happen again.  You have to be the one to do something about it so it won’t happen again..

And then I’m not taking responsibility for your mistake, you are!

Lonny

The Lesson of the Beast

the-beast

I have a framed record on my wall. Iron Maiden, Number of the Beast.  Most people don’t comment on it.  Every now and then a student will just say, Yea!  I’m guess those that don’t like it keep it to themselves.  But it’s there for a reason…

My son framed it for me after we saw them live. On the surface it was one of those great father / son moments.  Getting to share a piece of my youth with my kid.  But it sparked a really cool conversation that continues to resonate with me.

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No One Cares About Your Underwear Either!

“So, what’s your major?”

College students will conjure an answer to this question millions of times in the 3, 4, or 5+ years that they are in school. Parents.  Advisors.  Classmates.  Faculty.  Creepy dudes at quarter beer night.  They all want to know.  Why?  Well, best as I can tell, because that’s what we’ve always asked.

See, when a student indicates that they are interested in and/or capable of post-high school study, forces descend upon that poor soul to convince them that the most critical decision they have to make is what to major in. Wars shall be waged.  Civilizations built and destroyed.  The entire space time continuum rests upon the satisfactory answer to what courses you will take in school.

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So You Say You Want A Revolution?

Development: The process of developing or being developed

So, if you don’t know my feelings on definitions like the one above, I’ll lay it out for you; smart people don’t define a word using another form of that word. It’s like describing water as being “watery.”  UGH!!  So I looked up “develop” and got, “To grow or cause to grow and become more mature, advanced, or elaborate.”  Cool.  So a better definition of development might be, “The process of growing and becoming more mature, advanced, and elaborate.”  Synonyms include, evolution, growth, maturation, expansion, and enlargement.

Why does this matter? Because I teach “professional development” classes and recently got a comment:  If I were to start a petition to get rid of these GEB classes, or at least make them optional, would anybody join me? I haven’t gotten anything out of them, they take time away from my study and work time, they cost money, and they lower my GPA because the quizzes are misleading. Just venting frustration but these courses are unfair.

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The Three C’s of Networking

job-fair

If I charted my students along an X axis of “Ability to network” and Y axis of “Number of students,” I would probably get a nice bell curve.  For the most part, my students are still learning to network.  Some are outright terrified of it and know that they aren’t very good at it.  Others may suck as well, but are confident in their extroversion!  Some, at the other end of the spectrum, are legitimately good.  MOST, though, are good enough to get by, but maybe not good enough to be extremely proficient.

This was made apparent by the feedback from my GTAs and a couple of recruiters after the most recent Accounting “Meet the Firms.”  Like other events, because I push students to attend events, more than just the awesome end of the bell curve is getting out there and mixing it up.  As a result, not everyone shined.  That’s ok, that’s why we do this.  You’re here to learn and the best way to do that is try something a few times before it gets real.  For those of you who felt like you struggled, here’s a few networking pointers.  Lonny’s “Three C’s” of networking:

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Cookin’ Up a Great Resume

gumbo2

I love to cook. But that goes without saying, I’m from Louisiana.  Cajun men cook!  Seriously, there was even a cookbook put out by a civic organization in Lafayette with that title (https://www.amazon.com/Cajun-Men-Cook-Experiences-Louisiana/dp/0964248603).  When I was in college I honed my cooking skills by volunteering to cook for the offshore crew that I worked with and then leveraged my newfound talents as a way to woo potential sweeties.  I guess you go with what ya got, eh?

Anyway, to learn to cook I watched a LOT of people work in the kitchen. I’ll bet I’ve seen gumbo made almost 100 different ways.  But each time I’d take a technique or ingredient and add it to my process.  I’m now happy to say that I’d put my gumbo up against the finest example you can get in any of South Louisiana’s restaurants (yes, that’s mine in the picture!)  It took a lot of trial and error to get there.  I would get lots of opinions.  Some I used, like adding potato salad when you serve it.  Others didn’t work for me…like adding okra!  But over time I was able to develop a signature dish that was all mine.

The same can be said of your resume…

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They Say I’m Cocky, And I Say, WHAT?

PP

If there was ever an “Alpha Male” it was my father-in-law.  Paul Patrick Stone was the type of man no one could ignore.  He had a big presence; physically and expressively.  When he showed up, things got busier.  Louder.  More raucous and animated.  When he left, things slowed down.  But he had a way of commanding a moment in a way that didn’t steal the spotlight, he just turned up the brightness a few degrees on everyone.

One of the things I loved about my father-in-law was his ability to do things.  Anything!  Seriously, the man could teach himself anything.  He was a self-taught engineer who built stuff; big stuff!  Boats, tanks, airplanes.  He taught himself to weld when his boat was leaky.  He taught himself to lay tile and build cabinets when his house needed sprucing up.  He could fix cars and create stained glass.  He was the rare artisan who was also an artist.

Never one to let his accomplishments go unnoticed, he was also fond of pointing out what he’d just done.

Damn Butcher, I know some s***!

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Workin’ On My Beard

beardOne of the most frequent comments I’ve heard from students this semester is that I have a beard.  After Spring semester finals I let it grow out and after a while I started digging it.  Those of you who know me will not be surprised that I like the contrary nature of growing my hair SOUTH of my nose instead of north of it…

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DO Something, DO Anything!

WTTM1Welcome to the Majors is one of my favorite days in the College.  Where else, in what other college, of ANY KIND, do you have to attend class in person when there’s over 1700 students in the class?!  We bill it as the “largest face to face class at UCF.” I’d argue it’s also one of the BEST!!

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