Impermanence: “the state or fact of lasting for only a limited period of time.”

For many of us these last few weeks have been new and unchartered territory. Moving students out of residence halls, transitioning courses to on-line formats, making decisions to cancel and postpone events–recalibrating how we work and how we see our communities have all challenged us to be our best.

As we exercise the patience that we all need to see this through, we hope that you will take the time to pause, regroup, and consider the following.

  1. Take care of yourself. Clean your desk, office, and immediate surroundings and don’t forget your cell phone, computer, keyboards, screens, and desk phone.
  2. Pull out those articles, blogs, and journals that you have been planning to read but haven’t had the time.
  3. Clean out your email inbox. All those emails from six months ago, that had been flagged as needing immediate attention, may not be as important now.
  4. Nominate your colleagues for new leadership positions!
  5. Review and update your resume. Identify any gaps you have in your skill set and make a plan to acquire the skills needed to close the gap.
  6. Write that blog you promised your colleague that you would write ages ago. It is okay—they really still want you to write it!
  7. Update your on line profiles and add to your connections.
  8. Attend a professional webinar. With so many professional conferences cancelling, it is a good time to explore online options that allow you to still connect with colleagues and get inspired.
  9. Email your students, staff, and colleagues- individually and collectively. Check in with them. Encourage your colleagues to do the same. This new normal is awkward for all of us.
  10. Be patient with the unknown. In higher education we talk about the need for our students to become resilient. As higher education professionals we need to remind ourselves to follow our own recommendations.

“Thanks to impermanence, everything is possible” ~ Nhat Hanh

Ellen Heffernan

President - Spelman Johnson

Ellen Heffernan graduated from Smith College with a B.A. in economics and government. She joined Spelman Johnson in 1996, after a ten-year career in higher education that included positions at Smith College and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is also a national speaker and writer on topics related to recruiting and professional development in higher education and serves as faculty for several national higher education association professional development programs. Ellen also currently serves on the executive board of the National Association of Executive Recruiters.