Notes from the January 2012 oPASS Meeting

It’s been quite a while – where did the time go? – since I had done a presentation for oPASS, so when I heard in December that our planned January speaker had cancelled I was happy to volunteer to fill in. The presentation they picked was the one I did at the Summit last year on Professional Development Plans.

Attendance was low, only about a dozen, and I attribute that to presenting a non-technical topic, a calculated risk. We had fun though, even with 12. It’s a fun presentation, designed to get people to think and change their view point on their careers. I accrued more notes that are going towards a more detailed format – maybe a half day workshop – where I can walk people through building a plan.

One of the interesting post-presentation questions was whether (or how) I used abstract thinking skills to my advantage in finding jobs. Not a simple question. For most interviews it starts with technical, you have to cross over that bar. After that it’s soft skills, with an emphasis on whether you would appear to fit in with their culture. Somewhere in there you may get a chance to share thoughts on a time when you solved an unusual problem (or a usual problem in an unusual way!). In practice as an interviewer it’s not hard to tell if someone is a flat concrete thinker (what I call one dimensional) or has grown to be deeper and nuanced, but not all interviewers will care! Needs more thought.

At the end of the meeting they called for volunteers to fill some new positions (marketing, treasurer, etc) on a rotating basis. The idea was to spread out the work,grow some new leaders,and to give them a chance to see what they liked. All of the positions where filled at the meeting, pretty darn cool. I’m very curious to see how it works out, and to hear who liked doing what and why.

Changing direction again, right now oPASS is meeting at a hotel and I don’t like the meeting space. It’s wide and not very deep. Totally functional of course, but space does matter. It contributes to the feel of the meeting. Something to work on maybe.