WiM Member Insight: My Top 10

Posted By: Allison Giddens Blog,
I had a group video chat with more than 20 people last Friday - all of whom I consider my friends. These people are in the hospitality industry, they are accountants, they work in hospitals, they lead non-profits. Some are nervous about their own employment status. They have been in various crisis modes, juggling distance-learning with kids to serving as leaders in their workplaces. Others look to these faces for hope and reassurance.

I’m seeing more and more of these “virtual meet-ups” and they are giving people things to look forward to in our “social distancing” world. The bright spots in the madness show me that there are good things to come from crisis-mode.

1 - Learning to be grateful
No, I haven't been able to find fresh ground beef in over a week and I probably only have a couple more weeks’ worth of toilet paper, but you know what? I have friends eager to jump on a call to swap stories, commiserate, and joke. I'm pretty sure that's worth more than a hamburger.

2 - Learning to prioritize
Everything is canceled. If your calendar was anything like mine, what it became post-March-11 is a desolate wasteland. Or is it?

As we start to fill our calendar with many virtual replacements, what else are you spending your time doing that you didn't do before? The sooner you accept the fact that your productivity rate goes down when you are setting up Zoom for your 4th grader, trying to teach 8th-grade algebra to another kid, and trying to answer panicked emails from a customer - the better. Now, more than ever, you need to go easy on yourself.

What types of things are you noticing now? Truly noticing?

3 - Trying new things
If you had asked me if I'd ever go to a Dropkick Murphys concert before last week, I'd have shrugged, apathetic. But I attended the Streaming Up from Boston live concert on St. Patrick’s Day and it was a lot of fun! Enough to make me buy a t-shirt (talk about genius merchandising - it says, "Live from my living room.") Check out this link for more "Quarantine Concerts" on the calendar and listen to something you wouldn't have otherwise caught (and paid for).

Do a quick Google search for the term – there seems to be something new popping up every day. Visit YouTube channels like the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. "Attend" an Opera. Watch a Broadway play or a musical.

...and when this COVID-19 nonsense is behind us, remember those in the entertainment industry who kept you entertained in your own living room. Share their work, patronize them live.

Want to try new food but worried about venturing out? Check out your favorite local restaurant via their social media page. I'm betting they are offering curbside service. Looking to try something totally new and outside your comfort zone? Goldbelly is now offering meal kits. You can order something from a famous restaurant (often a small business!) right to your door.

4 - Becoming hyperaware of our communities' needs
Know who is hit the hardest? The people who were already at rock bottom - both financially and mentally. Consider this your sign to reach out to the person who has been on your mind. They need it. Then, visit the website of your favorite non-profit and donate $5. Donate $100. They need it.

5 - Getting closer to the people you live with
How many have you have texted a spouse when they're in the same room? *raises hand, guiltily* The time you spend with the people you live with feels a lot more... purposeful. Find a project to do together. A puzzle. A hobby. A home improvement project (something that doesn't end with a potential hospital visit).

There'll come a day that you wish you took advantage of the times where the opportunity hit you like a ton of self-isolating bricks.

6 - Learning new technology
There are bosses out there learning that their teams can, in fact, work remotely! That's a game-changer for some of you, I know! For others of us in certain manufacturing roles, it’s more challenging. But it certainly changes things on the peripheral, doesn’t it?

After this week, there won't be many people out there who haven't participated in a video chat! For those who do this often, I'm betting they are becoming well-versed in multiple platforms! Hey - add it to your resume! Speaking of which, when was the last time you updated that?

7 - Opportunity
How many times have you pushed off certain things that have been on your calendar for a while now?

Post a recommendation to a colleague's LinkedIn. Organize that sock drawer. Put together a comprehensive (and secure) guide on your accounts and passwords and share them with a loved one in the case of an emergency. Buy some stock that tanked last week.

Rent a book from the New York Public Library. Don't you have a list you've been meaning to get to?

8 - Learn to relax
I promise. It's on my calendar. Really. I swear. With things like Destin's live beach cams, the Georgia Aquarium's Jelly Webcam, yoga instructors and local Ys offering live Facebook classes, there are more chances to take that breath you've been meaning to take.

9 - Explore and Learn
There are Virtual Museum Tours to take, Virtual Field Trips out there (great if you have kids and even if you don't).

Market your industry! To those of us involved directly in manufacturing – we are working for “Essential” businesses! While much of the world shuts down, that same world is counting on us to provide parts for the medical industry, national defense, and so much more. |

Remind others on social media – share with your friends what your industry is doing in times of crisis! Many facilities (shameless plug!) offer virtual tours. Wouldn’t that be a welcome change in home school and distance learning? A virtual career day! Here, I’ll start us off: Click here to tour Win-Tech's precision machine shop!

Watch some animals on live animal cams. Visit the Chicago Field Museum's Facebook page, click on Videos, and watch anything with "Sue." You'll laugh until you cry, I promise.

There are even live events to check out - more and more are popping up every day, here's a great calendar with some. They include topics for all ages.

Miss baseball? Throw in some education and check out this fantastic streaming Ken Burns PBS documentary.

10 - Buckle up for the innovation to follow
...and be open to embrace it. Innovation rose significantly after the Great Depression. Many artists say that tough times in their lives end up fostering their most creative work. Sad and angsty times breed some of the best art.

Unfortunately, there is a link between creativity and depression and it is yet another reason we should be hyperaware of our friend's and family's needs during this time.

If this sounds familiar, please reach out to someone. You have someone who has your back, I'm sure of it. And if you don't know who does, message me on LinkedIn and tell me about your last creative project and what problem you are looking to solve. Let's talk through it.

We are on the cusp of something awesome, I know it.

I can't WAIT for that part of this story.

Blog Post by: Allison Giddens, Director of Operations with Win-Tech.

Allison Giddens has been with Win-Tech, a small business and aerospace precision machine shop, for 14 years, currently serving as the Director of Operations.

She holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University and a Masters in Manufacturing from Georgia Tech’s College of Engineering.

She serves in volunteer leadership roles within the Women in Manufacturing organization, serves on the Chattahoochee Technical College Foundation Board, the Cobb County School District Career Technical Agricultural Education (CTAE) Advisory Board, and the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association Board and is a member of Cobb Executive Women.

She is the recipient of the Georgia Manufacturing Alliance’s 2016 Frontline Leadership Award and the August 2016 Georgia Tech MEP Face of Manufacturing. She was recognized as a 2017 Woman of Excellence by Metalforming Magazine and a 2018 liveSAFE Resources Woman of Achievement and was a chosen as a member of the 2019 UK Department of Trade delegation to “STEM the Gap.”

Allison also runs The Dave Krache Foundation, a non-profit that helps pay sports fees for local kids in need and, just for fun, has performed stand-up comedy at the Atlanta Punchline. She lives in a suburb outside of Atlanta, Georgia with her ever-patient husband and their two energetic cats.