Charting a Course

Recently, sitting on deck on a gloriously sunny day, gazing across the beautifully calm water, my mind wandered back to grade school math.  Probably the grade school math we all dreaded the most: the story problem.

Why?

Because it dawned on me that the captain probably didn’t have to do much of that story problem math that day.  You remember the problem:  a boat must cross a river Y wide, the current is traveling at X, how does Timmy aim his boat to reach the dock on the other side?

Why did we all hate these sorts of problems so much? Perhaps because in the diagram, or in life, we were always so sure about where that dock was on the other side.  Both sides were stationary, we were sure of where they were.  But a moving body of water? A current that could change speed, or course, or pull you under without warning?  And what if you did all the math, and then somewhere in the middle of the crossing, it all changed? 

Upon reflection, those story problems were great preparation for life.  They made us weed through the words for the pertinent facts.  How often were we reminded to go back and use our solutions to check our work?  These problems reinforced that things were not static; they would not remain in place.  We needed to reassess, recalculate, and rethink.

Solution?

In today’s current labor markets – and yes there are many, even in one location – the currents are irregular indeed.  Many skippers are scared to undertake a journey of understanding, to even test the waters, but test them you must.  Maybe your Great Resignation won’t be because of compensation, maybe it will be because of limited career growth opportunities within your organization, or lack of flexible work arrangements. Maybe your compensation is just fine near the shore, but away from the shore, the currents have shifted suddenly, and you haven’t ventured out that way to investigate?  Your organization needs to know which way the current is flowing.

It is time to solve for X.

Kate Evert

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