“I was ready! In my early 40s, I started thinking about retiring early. I sat through my organization’s mid-career retirement classes and had gotten several retirement estimates (i.e., different retirement years). I had kept myself marketable by continuing to take advantage of career opportunities and obtaining additional education in my professional field. Some co-workers mocked me because they said any scholarly education would not advance my career.
Yet, I felt that professional growth and a continual learning mindset would only increase my value in the market. I had developed an exit strategy. Working with my friend (Dr. Gary Roberts), I had mapped out a future purpose in academia. I could fully utilize my professional experience while at the same time applying my other skill sets. However, things did not work out as planned. The time and opportunities did not align with my plans. In fact, it took 9 years and more than 200 job applications for the exit strategy to work. Because I was patient and adaptable, God opened up a door, which was much better than my initial plan. Having an exit strategy was invaluable!”
Are you happy with your current job? In general, US employees are satisfied with their work life. According to a 2016 Pew Research Center study, about half (49%) of American workers say they are very satisfied with their current job. Yet, 30% of them are somewhat satisfied, and the remainder says they are slightly dissatisfied (9%) or very dissatisfied (6%). Continue reading
We live in a world riddled with risk and uncertainty. If you don’t believe this statement, please check the news. For example, President Trump increased global tension by canceling the US-North Korea summit in Singapore. Too many, canceling the historical meeting between the two countries were no surprise. Columnist Zach Beauchamp put it bluntly, “From the get-go, the Trump administration wanted something North Korea was never going to give: the North handing over its entire nuclear arsenal before the United States gave it anything tangible…there’s a fundamental flaw with America’s approach to North Korea that preceded Trump. That’s the fantasy that the US can somehow convince North Korea to voluntarily give up its nukes.”
President Trump and North Korea’s Leader Kim Jong Un have hurdle insults at each other (especially through social media) for months. President Trump proclaimed about Kim: “The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.” Kim fires back to Trump: “If the American imperialists provoke us a bit, we will not hesitate to slap them with a pre-emptive nuclear strike. The United States must choose! It’s up to you whether the nation called the United States exists on this planet or not.” This rhetoric between the two leaders have many citizens worried about a nuclear war. Continue reading
In June of 1995, the Jury in the OJ Simpson trial announced a verdict of not guilty. The aftermath of dismal reactions highlighted significant conflicts and diverging views in America’s workplaces. In fact, white and black people had a different perspective on the OJ Simpson Trial and life in general. Eighty-three percent of whites stated that Simpson was “definitely” or “probably” guilty while only fifty-seven percent of blacks agreed with this assessment. Rather than carefully assessing one’s own viewpoint when evaluating a different culture, most individuals make assumptions about other cultures definitely.
Sadly, we still have not learned this lesson in the United States. The last several days have been very hectic as I try to answer students’ questions and address my own concerns about a recent Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary gaff that has provided another headwind for others sharing the Good News. Let me say that we have all done foolish things and have suffered the consequences. Most of us have had to debase the impacts of this photo on our popular culture to our students and others.
In the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth (TX), five seminary professors, including the dean of the School of Preaching, put on gangster-style clothing (perhaps dressing like urban rappers), flashing their gold chains and one holding a handgun. Written above the photo were the words “Notorious S.O.P,” which was a reference to the seminary’s School of Preaching and to the black rapper, Notorious B.I.G.
College is a beginning. It is a time and place to begin to learn who you are, what you want and what is possible. College is also a place that the institution can teach you a lot, but what you learn yourself is even more important.
College taught me how to take tests about things I can’t for the life of me remember now in classes I couldn’t possibly see as relevant to my degree.
Yet what my college did not directly teach me, that I learned on my own, was balance. I had a full load, was on the dance team, participated in the theatre and worked a part time job. I had to learn how to balance all those things in eventually earning that degree.
It is also a place that, for many, will serve as the last step before entering the “real world” – after graduation getting that “real” job.
Although many universities and colleges have career centers to help you with that task – and they are wonderful, take them up on all the help offered, there is also something you need to learn in order to help yourself: marketing.
Before you graduate you need to begin to market yourself because once you are out in the ‘real world’ you are going to be thrust into sales. You are the product and the company. You have to learn to sell yourself to potential employers and pretty much anyone in a business sense that you meet in order to secure a position. That last part is called networking. Continue reading
We just had to go on Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee, the place was known for great blues music. We stopped at one of the famous blues hotspots on this strip. We were directed to our seats; the house was packed with people. The band was playing with great passion. My wife and I walked in the room to celebrate with others the love of good music. The music was carried across the room slowly as blues music permeated the atmosphere like smoke covers a house on fire. Everyone was excited. People were all over the dance floor. These folks were no amateurs to blues. Interesting enough, my wife and I were the only black couple in this crowded location. Blacks created the blues. Yet, many blacks have either abandoned this genre or have forgotten the roots of this music. I hope that dance in America will not falter like this.
As my wife and I have danced ballroom in various states and different dance studios, we have not seen many black people doing ballroom dancing. African-Americans have made significant contributions in all walks of life, dance is no exception. Black History Month gives us a time to remember the pioneers of dance, including Josephine Baker and the Dance Theatre of Harlem and glance at the future. When you start talking about ballroom dancing, everyone thinks about the ABC’s hit show, Dancing With the Stars, that pairs up celebrities with professional dance partners in an intense ballroom competition. There are a few African Americans involved with ballroom dancing in the nation. In this session, we will examine how dance studios can better target African American communities by reaching an untapped market.
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Amidst turmoil across the world, there is still good among us. Living in Tennessee, I had the opportunity to witness the exemplary character of Coach Pat Head Summitt, former head coach of University of Tennessee Lady Vols. I would like to pay my own tribute to this special leader in our community. Most people affectionately called her ‘Coach Pat.’
Coach Summitt lived a life of purpose from a humble beginning. Her success in life was incredible: Coach Summitt achieved 1,098 career wins, the most in NCAA basketball history. She won 8 NCCA championships – and the Lady Vols never missed an NCAA tournament under Coach Summitt. In one NCAA tournament, Summitt posted a 112-23 record, achieving a Division I record with the 112 wins. Additionally, she won two Olympic medals: one as a coach and one as a player, alongside numerous awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.  Continue reading
In 2012, Desmond Hatchett, a Knoxville resident, made a big impression in the news. At the time, the 33 year old man was requesting relieve from his child support payments. According to news sources, Hatchett had 30 children by 11 different women. However, Hatchett struggled with his financial commitments with his children due to his low paying minimum wage job. For many people across the nation, this story struck a moral cord. Continue reading
Line of multi-ethnic mothers holding their babies
Here’s a tribute to all good mothers this month! I want to especially thank my mother, Annette Green Elias, and my wife, Estraletta Andrews Green, for being two godly women in my life. [I want to share an excerpt from one of my 2012 columns.]
With the media bombards us with unrealistic expectations for mothers, it is any wonder that today’s mothers feel under huge pressures to be perfect. Stay-at-home mothers feel guilt of not provides financially as it takes two people to make ends meet. Working mothers feel the guilt of attempting to balance a career and a family at the same time. Any person worth any salt would recognize that mothers are often the glue that holds families together. Continue reading
Global affairs are often unstable. This month, Japanese stock market falters again, capping its worst single-week performance since the global financial crisis in 2008. Japan is not alone in its underperforming markets. Yet, globalization has connected countries through various elements. Financial markets are not an exception. This article explores issues of change in a global environment and discusses the merits of change agents in today’s organizations. Continue reading
Helen was a highly successful career woman. Her star shined bright in her corporation. Yet, in spite of these corporate accomplishments, Helen had no meaningful relationships. Her husband was distanced due to Helen’s businesslike approaches to her. Helen’s three children resent her because she was emotional absent in their lives. On the dark days when Helen was alone and uninterrupted, she longed for more meaningful relationships.
During a Christmas banquet, Pastor Nathan Wilson was the keynote speaker and led a lively topic on All I Want for Christmas Is You. In his speech, Pastor Wilson harked on the true meaning of Christmas as the birth of Jesus Christmas instead of the commercialization of the holidays. Continue reading