The danger of 110%
During student staff training Orientation Adviser and Team Leaders at San Jose State were asked to come up with a list of expectations and goals for the summer. Some of the suggestions thrown out included “having a smile on your face 24/7”, and “giving 110%”. While I imagine that these types of goals and expectations are common threads among many orientation teams, I question whether enough time is spent critically thinking about whether or not these are realistic goals and if they are, how will people go about meeting them. In my mind, it seems rather easy to create lists, post them on the wall, and revisit them periodically, but much harder to get people to ascribe to them day in and day out.
For example, the concept of 110%, otherwise known as smiling 24/7… well, I’ll be honest, I don’t think it’s possible and in my opinion it can even be a dangerous concept if taken literally. After all, everyone that works orientation is human and there are going to be days when someone just can’t bring their A game. To me, it is far more important for students, staff and faculty to be able to recognize the times when they aren’t able to give it all, be honest about it and try to minimize the impact it will have on other people. To me learning how to deal with those days when you are running on empty is an extremely important skill for anyone in student affairs. We are in the profession of helping and compassion fatigue is a very real problem. Self care is essential and as part of the professional staff, I find it important to ask the hard questions about whether we can expect 110%, what we can do when we aren’t quite there, and how best to model self-care.