I know I've been lucky to have experienced so many different things. Some say it's not being consistent. But I've ALWAYS been consistent...
Others say, correctly, it's made me more adaptable.
And that is how companies need to be in these times. Diversity isn't a catchword - it's essential if a company is going to be adaptable.
That's true of all organizations. Including universities - although many don't know how. I've been reading about how there's been so little university studies about the power of present social media. A bit behind changes...
It's why my PhD was so hard for some academics to get their heads around. One senior lecturer said to me, "You've got a lot of internet references in your bibliography." Of course I did. I'd be a c**p researcher if I didn't...
Anyhoo... getting ahead of my writing.
Now where was I last time?
Oh, yeah, I'd left the chemical company I worked for. I'd been very ill - I got diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Strange illness MS. Some get it and get more ill and more ill until they're virtually completely paralyzed while others get one attack (like not being able to walk) recover and never get ill again. Many people are somewhere in between.
It was a scary time for me but... it taught me about disability from personal experiences. That has made me more aware of other disabled people.
Same with my hearing. I don't hear very well so I closely look at lot at a person's face and body language when I talk with them. To read someone's body language so deeply. A girlfriend told me that's quite an unusual but useful skill. I suppose that's why I'm a respected interviewer. Plus I do like people as well!
Again the advantages of diversity.
Well, it took me some time to get back into gear after I left the chemical company until I went to a course at a local college. But just before I went on that course there was something that affected so many people around the world.
31st August 1997. Princess Diana died. I actually remember it in the early hours. I heard it on the radio. At that point no one knew that she'd been fatally injured.
The international grief. Not long after that the conspiracy theories rose about her death.
I remember even people like Eddie Izzard mentioned her death during his tour around that time. He said,
Diana died, Diana died, and...
Everyone's gone quiet, what's going on?
No, I'm not doing big laugh death jokes.
I don't do those because it's not a big funny area for me.
But she did die and we were thrown by it.
Some people were big fans
and were having a lot of grief time.
I was not a big fan. I didn't dislike her.
Front page for the last four months … and that was so in your face that you had to be thrown.
It happened one night and you woke up and went, "What? Weird."
and so there was a mother who died,
there was a lot of sympathy towards the kids,
That was understandable.
And my dad said something to me -
"My mum died when I was six and my brother was eight.
"No one gave a shit."
We should never forget that tragedy can affect anyone. Businesses need to account for that in their staff but also that people need things to help them during their negative experiences. Some businesses can help in that. Like in my work opposing hate crimes...
This local college I went to... You'll notice that I do tend to go off at angles... I can relate some of my experiences to a lot of other issues - people or businesses...
I did a BTEC in Performing Arts. Now some people might think that was a step down after being a QC Manager etc but it was all about experiencing something different. Plus, I learnt over the years that egos mean nothing (although some people might disagree with that...).
So I learnt about all sorts of different people. Backgrounds. Religions. Meeting women who'd experienced domestic violence. People with mental disabilities and various dyslexic problems.
And I played a big role in a pantomime touring to various schools. :-)
Plus I met one guy on the course who, when I first saw him, stood there with his head almost shaved and long scars visible on his scalp. Yeah, he looked dangerous.
You know what?
I was wrong.
His scars? From a childhood accident - hit by TWO cars in ONE incident when he was 12. In reality he's a gentle guy. And years later we're still good friends. Completely different lives but we just get on.
I think that must have been one of those incidents that we could say I was showing unconscious bias against him because of my bad judgements.
Once again we get the idea that Diversity enthusiasm in a business can counter the harmful effects of conscious and unconscious bias...