There’s been a lot written about resilience since the Covid-10 pandemic disrupted so many lives. Even more, is being written about resilience as the latest tech industry layoff clogs my social media feeds.
I’ve always had my own relationship with resilience. It’s more appropriate to call it a family relationship, I suppose. My father had health problems all his life starting with post-polio from when he was a child. A line-of-duty injury from when he was a police officer left him with lifelong health issues that frequently put him in the hospital.
Growing up, I saw my father get knocked down repeatedly by health problems. Then he got up. It was to the point it was normalized in my family. He never complained but remained stalwart and determined to return to work to support his family. He had an innate ability to focus on moving forward despite his deteriorating health condition.
My father set the example of resilience for me growing up and well into adulthood. Heck, he’s been gone for over twenty years, and I still follow the standard.
I’m Dyslexic. It made school, and especially college, quite hard for me. It wasn’t until Sir Richard Branson launched MadeByDyslexia did I really try to grasp the positive and negative impacts of Dyslexia on my life. For instance, I’ve never been a good test taker. That’s held me back professionally as of late, so I spent time on LinkedIn Learning, taking courses with graded quizzes to level my test-taking skills up to pursue a cloud certification this year. After all, I 6worry about the potential impact of ChatGPT and Generative AI on the future of my writing career and need to be proactive.
The pandemic and two layoffs in 12 months have also been trying on me. It was a one-two punch against my resilience. I keep moving forward, though. A now-year-old meditation practice and gratitude journal help ground me in new ways. Scaling up my sideline freelance writing is helping pay the bills until I find a new job. Looking at the current tech industry employment landscape, I won’t be out of the clear even when I find a new employer.
A lot has been written about resilience that’s contrary to my family lore on the subject. Thus, the question remains with me: can a person learn resilience? I’m not too sure if people can. In my opinion, some people are born with reliance while others are not. Resilience is something that needs nurturing to develop fully. I like to think that resilience can find a person. There’s much to be said for looking forward, especially after repeated frustrations and disappointments. I’ve had to do a lot of that since layoff number two.
I think resilience isn’t something people should try to sell, such as in books and online training courses. It’s up to each of us to find it in ourselves. Whether you’re somebody like me, where resilience is part of your family story, or you’re getting back on your feet after being knocked down by the economy while full of anxiety for your personal and professional future.
Will Kelly is a writer and analyst focused on DevOps and the cloud. He’s a recovering “collaboration geek,” having made SharePoint and other platforms work for teams throughout his career. Will also believes that collaboration is more than just platforms. It requires a culture change to happen. Follow him on Twitter: @willkelly.