via Daily Prompt: Collaboration
For a so-called introvert (and even times of shyness) I sure have been a lot of times having to (and I do mean having to) collaborate. The fact that I am an accomodating person with a good sense of humor helps.
On evenings like this though, when I am over tired and over due for a vacation I admit I am longing for some solo time.
Just in case I decided to double check the definition:
1. The action of working with someone to produce or create something.
Or its opposite meaning:
2. Traitorous cooperation with an enemy.
Hmmm, well this word brings to mind what needs to happen or worse might be happening in Washington D.C. Well never mind.
Growing up in a family of five kids I learned collaboration early. Although I admit among us siblings #2 definition was often neck and neck with #1.
I often preferred solo pursuits growing up like reading and drawing but also found myself in group efforts such as:
Fast cleaning around the house when my father was bringing a client or associate home. I still have this skill set.
My time in the Girl Scouts, especially camping trips. Less said the better.
As the non atheletic member of the family, attending lots of swim meets and ball games. What’s the point of playing without a cheering section?
My time on the high school newspaper and being willing to take on job of business manager. Your welcome.
Double blind dates as a teenager.
Later as a young parent trying to get my very different daughters to share and clean their room. So in collaboration are the rewards intrinsic or do you need something overt? In any event my daughters figured out when they needed to give each other support especially when life became difficult and this loyalty and love carries through to this day with their own family life.
My college and work life have been riddled with diverse experiences in collaboration.
In grad school group work was an annoying requirement. This idea spread from Business Schools to every type of grad school, including Social Work. (By the idea a Community Organizer is often a type of Social Worker, so I felt that President Obama was a former Social Worker). Picking groups brought back traumas of being chosen for teams in PE. Group discussion forums were….not useful. Group projects? Well since writing was my thing I would often do most of the work. All of this was fine in theory, but most grad students have tunnel vision, as what can I do to finish this in one piece.
My years working in advertising and media was almost always collaborative work, even if it meant going crazy with client demands and making sure all the moving parts ended up in one piece. My favorite collaborative work was brain storming at lunch, and seeing how fabulous alcohol triggered ideas would survive the under the sobering sanity of the next day.
My current work as a therapist in an intensive program, ER, and my own practice for people with mental illness is nothing BUT collaboration. Meetings and more meetings, especially the Treatment Team Meeting. The groups I facilitate are most successful when everyone contributes and feels a sense of belonging. My individual therapy NEEDS to be collaborative, between me and my client, although sometimes it might feel like voices crying in the wilderness or lost in the fog. However while I value the feedback I still don’t really love meetings. Fortunately we don’t have to usually endure Powerpoints because who has to create them, and in our line of work they are usually…well, pointless.
Of course nature has many great examples of collaboration.
I am typing this on my new IPad Pro, which I received today on my 30th wedding anniversary. A quiet Tuesday evening, I am tired, my husband is still recuperating. We are watching the TV show Scorpion, it is 11:00 at night, I am sitting next to my husband and the dogs are getting sleepy. I suppose marriage is one of the most adventurous collaborations you will ever do.
When he is out of town I admit I relish the down time, but I love knowing he is coming back soon. Because real collaboration brings out the best in all of us, to care, to learn, to share, to belong, to trust and to love.
However first thing in the morning don’t ask me to collaborate with anything unless its a cup of coffee.