Inverse Learning…

I do a lot of my work by telephone. Actually I do most of my work by telephone. If I were to combine one-to-one calls with teleconferences I would guess that 80% of my average week at work is spent on the telephone. That’s scary.

When I am in the UK, I always reserve mornings to talk with colleagues in UK or Asia. And leave afternoons to talk with colleagues in the US. This works pretty well most weeks. Last week though, was a ‘double whammy’ – nicely and confusingly.

I was able to work from home most of the week. The first time in 2 years. I wanted to and needed to. I was away from home last weekend on personal business and I had to spend some time with my family this week. I was able to take make breakfast. To take my son to school. Have lunch with my wife. And savour every second of a weekday family evening meal weekday. It was so nice. It’s those little things that we all take for granted that I miss so much.

And last week also coincided with the US ‘springing forward’ into Summer Daylight Savings. Strange as it has been so cold in the US. Strange since the clocks don’t move in the UK until the end of March…and even stranger as this week has been so ‘spring-like’ in the UK.

Somehow that one hour less time difference between US and UK managed to make my work day shorter- shorter as in it felt like I had less time to do more. Can’t quite work that one out really…but that’s how it felt. I seemed to be on the telephone from 9:00am through to 6:00pm each day last week. I talked. I listened. I interviewed. I worried. I advised. I learned. I commiserated. I laughed. But always on the phone.

And in the midst of everything one thing struck me. And resonated. Two things in fact. One personal. How much I miss my family when I am not with them and how much I enjoy them when I am. One work.

The work one came about in a call with someone I didn’t really know. We were talking communications, and generations – how different the needs and methods of communication are for different generations. His idea? Reverse Mentoring. Intriguing.

We all have mentoring programs of course. And I have always enjoyed and benefited from either being a mentor or being mentored. Both are great and both are different. In one I am the more experienced and more senior partner, and in the other I am both less experienced and less senior. But neither of these are close to the concept of Reverse Mentoring as described to me.

Reverse mentoring would involve me being advised and helped by a colleague who is much younger than me. Someone who would come with a fresh pair of eyes, an open mind, and instant links to modern technology. Someone who actually uses social media, who knows what younger people are thinking about, doing and care about and who knows how younger people like to be communicated to.

I have never tried reverse mentoring. I have never thought or even heard of about reverse mentoring until that call last week! But it sounded a good idea. Maybe I was thinking of how many times I ask my children for advice on my ‘technology’. It also sounded highly energising and very enjoyable.

I am sure it will take some sorting. But I will try this. Maybe next week. I have the feeling that I will need something energising and enjoyable.




About Steve Street

I have worked in R&D within the Pharmaceutical industry for over 30 years. Up until April 2012 all of my career had been with one company, but that has now changed. I left that company and took up a new role on May 1, 2012 - still very much within the Pharmaceutical industry and again based in the UK. I have been blogging every week now for over 10 years but only on an external site since January 2012. Email updates of the blogs can be requested using the ‘follow’ option within Wordpress. The blogs are only ever my personal view of what I see, think and feel. I am delighted if you agree and find value; happy if you disagree with my views and overjoyed if you feel motivated to comment. Most of all I am simply grateful that you read. Cheers Steve
This entry was posted in Personal and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s