Showing posts from April, 2024

The Value of a Degree

My educational background includes a Bachelor of Ministry, which I pursued during a period when I was dedicated to entering the ministry. This degree supported my initial work as a minister in both Brazil and the United States. Although there was a time when I questioned the relevance of this degree after transitioning out of ministry, I later realized that such doubts were unnecessary. Historically, in the United States, a high school diploma sufficed for most entry-level jobs outside specialized fields like medicine and law. However, this is no longer the case. Today, most white-collar jobs require at least an Associate's degree, with a Bachelor's degree being even more common. Importantly, the specific major often does not limit one's career possibilities. For instance, one of the best engineers I know majored in English Literature, and a former colleague who worked in streaming content preparation held a degree in Criminal Justice. My initial misgivings about my degree

Camaraderie Over Cocktails: The Benefits of a Weekly Office Happy Hour

It began during layoffs. A pall of dread had fallen over the office, and day by day everyone was just awaiting word on whether they would still have a job. People would gather in the office of one of the managers, commiserating about the situation over beverages. People brought in different types of alcohol, and the manager mixed drinks. Eventually, the period of layoffs passed, but the tradition of gathering continued. Once a week, every Thursday at 5pm, something wonderful happened. Now, to be sure, this gathering met the company requirements. It was set in a time period in which office drinking was permitted, and it had the approval of an SVP. He was one of the regulars at the gathering anyway. Everything was above board as far as policy was concerned. And good things came from it.  This weekly happy hour brought together people who didn't often talk in person, and at times connected people who only knew one another from email threads. Often I saw team leads or department heads

The Freedom to Reinvent Ourselves

In our professional lives, many of us reach a point where we desire—or need—to reinvent ourselves, whether it's transitioning to a different industry or pursuing a passion that differs from what we originally studied. However, the ease with which we can make these changes often depends significantly on cultural and systemic factors that vary by country. Take, for example, a story from my time working in Brazil about a decade ago. I encountered an individual who, despite having a degree in accounting, had no desire to pursue it as a career. This scenario might seem easily solvable in the United States, where career paths are often non-linear and individuals frequently shift fields. However, in Brazil, the professional culture tends to pigeonhole individuals into working within the confines of their academic degrees. During an interview for a freelance project management role in Brazil, I faced this cultural starkness firsthand. Despite having a solid background in project management

Language Learning in a Globalized World

In 2000, a year after I graduated from college, I volunteered at a week-long church camp for high school teens. During this time, I happened to overhear a discussion between a camp counselor and a camper about the benefits of learning a foreign language. The counselor, aware that I was learning Portuguese, sought my support to convince the camper. Contrary to his expectations, I advised, "Learn a language if you enjoy learning, or if you're actually going to use it. Not out of a sense of duty." Decades later, I still uphold this perspective, although it's understandably subjective and may not resonate with everyone. While I am fluent in Portuguese, its practical application in my professional life has been limited. Nonetheless, the advantages of learning other languages extend beyond mere utility. Acquiring a new language can serve as a gateway to understanding different cultures and forming meaningful social connections that broaden one's worldview. This immersio