Embracing the Unexpected in 2021

Réveil Samaritain on a rainy night

A chilly, rainy night in Paris back in 2018 brought to mind a good life lesson that I learned, and how I’ll strive to approach 2021. As the introvert in the marriage, I willingly take on the responsibility of vacation planning. This typically involves extensive research about flights, hotels, restaurants, public transport, tours, etc. In doing my research for this particular trip, I came across a crêpe restaurant that looked too good to ignore. It was now on the list. On the night Robbie and I agreed to eat there, the weather looked fine…until we stepped foot out of the hotel on our way to the restaurant in another part of the city, via Paris subway. After a couple of blocks, the torrential downpour turned us back around. Yes, I was glad that common sense had prevailed but I was equally disappointed that our dinner plans were scrapped. We happened to spot this other restaurant a half-block from our hotel that, at first glance, looked like the perfect place only because of its proximity. My initial feeling of having to settle for this “Plan B” restaurant soon changed. The extremely inviting and friendly atmosphere, along with great food, helped get me on board. In fact, our waitress at Réveil Samaritain helped make it a unique experience by allowing me to practice my French with her. It turned out to be one of the most memorable experiences of the entire trip.

Yes, planning, for whatever the situation, is a smart strategy. At the same time, however, it’s equally important to open ourselves up to life’s unexpected twists and turns. For example, we may have an idea or goal about what direction we want our career to go, but things in life often don’t turn out as planned, and often it’s due to circumstances outside our control. Ironically, it’s sometimes the thing that comes out of left field that proves to be the even better option. Personally, I’m excited to see what 2021 will bring, and am cautiously optimistic that it’ll be an all-around better year than 2020. And I’m trying to stay as flexible, adaptable and open-minded as possible to recognize all the unforeseen plot twists and possibilities that could materialize.

Coincidentally, today’s message on my new 2021 “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” calendar says, “We always increase the odds of making something happen when we have a plan designed to take us where we want to go.” I agree with the message for sure, but I also think that things happen for a reason, and sometimes it’s the unplanned, unexpected things that ultimately get us really excited!

The Office of Tomorrow?

The open-office concept with densely-clustered cubicles was pretty common before the pandemic hit, but I think it’s safe to say that we’ll see a much different configuration if/when we return to the office. What that’ll actually look like is anyone’s guess, but it could look kind of like what’s pictured here:

This was a concept was created, pre-pandemic, resulting from the collaboration between Susan Cain, author of Quiet, and Steelcase, a workplace design firm. The goal was to create a workspace where introverts could thrive. The really interesting thing is that, if you take a close look, it could potentially address important health and safety issues that organizations will have to put in place. Notice the enclosed workspace, the 1-person lounge area with a glass partition separating socially-distanced desks (facing away from each other). Incidentally, all that natural light coming through is pretty nice bonus. I like working from home, but I have to say coming back to an office that resembles this might possibly tempt me. Might.

Navigating the workplace as an introvert, Part I

 

Eric Spector from the Bottom Line podcast series interviewed Stephen Beattie and me for this podcast installment. In the episode, we cover a range of introversion topics geared towards students and established professionals alike. Do you ever get stressed out aboutintrovert-office-design career fairs? Or are those status meetings at work really draining your energy levels? Take a listen to hear our tips to improve your experience!

We’d like to especially thank Eric for having us as guests on his show. He did all the hard work and made us sounds good, so props to him!