Mentoring – The Coefficient of Resilience

Sorry again for my absence folks. Its been a crazy couple of months. I’m finally settling back into a groove and looking into all the updates to the Windows Azure Platform that have come to light over the last several months. I’m planning to revisit a couple of my old topics and update them for the latest news (.NET Services, bye-bye, hello App Fabric). I’m also going to dig into some topics I’ve left untouched, like SQL Azure. But as I sit here tonight preparing a SQL Server 2008 VPC image for some Active Directory automation work I’m doing for a client, I wanted to post a recent article I submitted to Sogeti’s internal newsletter.

*insert flashback visual fx here*

The Coefficient of Resilience

Often in these articles we talk about new trends or ways we can improve ourselves. Today I want to talk about a way we can improve each other. I recently listened to an interview with retired General Eric Shineski, United States Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs, as he discussed the coefficient of resilience and how this plays into the way we can help veterans recover from post-traumatic stress disorder.

As anyone who has taken high-school Physics may recall, when you drop a ball from any height it bounces. The height of the bounce is never as high as the ball’s original position and this difference is referred to as the coefficient of resilience. The same thing happens to each of us when something bad happens. This could be not landing an interview, missing a deadline, or losing a pursuit. Each of these setbacks results in some emotional baggage, which at least for a time, can hold us back.

As with the ball, we all fall and bounce back, but rarely if ever to the exact same height we were at before the fall. Over time, outside influences (landing the next interview, an encouraging word from a co-worker) can help us re-energize and return to our previous levels. In many cases, these outside influences can even help us exceed our previous levels.

I wouldn’t dream of comparing the ups and downs of our IT careers to the trials and tribulations that are found on the battlefield. But the truth of Mr. Shineski’s story does still apply. With proper support, we can help someone recover from falls faster. These can be small things like a word of encouragement, some helpful advice, sharing personal experiences, or just giving them someone to talk to. These outside influences help energize us. And like the ball, they help us bounce back faster and sometimes even higher.

As a team, it’s important to remember that we can and should always stop and take a moment to help each other bounce back. It makes each of us stronger as an individual, and as a team it can help make us nearly unstoppable.



Sorry for the extended hiatus folks. I’ve had a busy time of it the last few months but I’m finally getting back on track. I’m cleaning up the spam comments and will be posting more on my work with Azure and other cloud computing topics shortly.
Thanks for the patience!