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On Memorial Day, Remembering Leaders of Yesterday and Today

My father was a decorated World War II veteran, and Memorial Day is certainly about remembering all of our fallen veterans, but for me, especially my father. He was in Africa, England, all over the European theater during the war – one of the first to ship out, one of the last to return. We have a big scrapbook he kept during the war about where he went and what he did as a quartermaster in the Big Red One. He did not talk about his experiences with us until the end of his life, and even then, not that much. When my sister and I took him to the newly opened World War II memorial in Washington, DC he viewed the friezes along the walls and started to cry. “The war was really like that”, he told me, overcome with emotion. My father was a veteran for peace, and believed in equal rights for all. He lived his beliefs.

As I remember my father, I also remember his quiet brand of leadership. He and my mother were mentors for many people, were active in our community, and were consulted often for their opinion and good sense. Both of my parents were modest people, and helped others see what would work for them, doing so with compassion, good listening skills, and strong advice when needed. They were just my parents, so I did not really realize their leadership qualities or positions when I was growing up. Now I do. Read more

Soft Landings in a Hard Economy

Last week something emerged from my past. Don’t worry. You are not about to receive TMI. But it was meaningful for me.

It was a go-to personal resource book that helped me as I moved from my first to second job out of graduate school. The book has since assisted generations of job hunters and career changers.

What Color is Your Parachute? written by Richard Bolles, has been updated 40 times, has sold 10 million copies, and has been translated into 20 languages. The book and its 87 year old author were recently featured in a Workstation column written by Phyllis Korkki in the New York Times.

What the article reminded me of is how technology has both expanded and closed job opportunities for much of the United States workforce. Korkki points out that “many aspects of the most recent edition would sorely perplex” early readers. “’What is this Google he speaks of?’ they would ask, after reading Mr. Bolles’s admonition that ‘Google is your new resume.’”
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