Friday, August 5, 2011

TA Pre-Flight

So I have to be honest for a blog to be real. Being a person sometimes means being vulnerable, having your hopes crescendo, and being ready to watch them get utterly crushed. Ben on the latest season of the Bachelorette saw that happen to him. He stood at the proposal site on the last episode and got shut down. But he put it all on the line and had a devastating reality check. That's ok though, Ashley kind of sucked.

But that's not me being nice or really that honest. The thing I have my hopes up for that may be crushed like an egg under a steamroller is a possible opportunity with Triangle Associates (TA) tomorrow. TA wants to have an 'informational interview' with me tomorrow. That's code for no promises. Regardless I am excited just to hear about what they do and get the skinny on my industry.

My industry, more or less, is the world of conflict resolution and public policy. I haven't dunked my head in and swum around in that world yet. I have worked on public policy (WC-3, the elections in 04, 06, and 08, and my thesis) and I have done conflict resolution (Skidmore Fight Club, Mediation Matters) but not both at the same time. Marrying the two is my dream.

I believe that public policy—especially land rights, water rights, and issues of the commons—requires more than the traditional legal avenues for effective maintenance. Ellinor Ostrom (one of my heroes if you haven't figured that out yet) stresses the power of effective communication and creative solution building for situations involving common resources. As resources become more scarce and management becomes imperative, much more will fall into the scope of commons—thus the necessity of good mediation.

Even beyond that most conflicts of policy can be seen as issues in need of better conflict resolution. I remember going to so many Washoe County and Reno City Council meetings where the format disgusted me because there were such stark divisions without any room for negotiation, education, or communication. It was A v B. When A decides B is working against his interests progress slows to a crawl. I believe in mediation because it does not pit people against each other. Instead it asks, “how do we solve a common problem with our different perspectives and needs?”

So why am I saying all this? Because that is TA. These guys use mediation and facilitation to help build a common future for groups in conflict—especially land and water rights. These guys are my bread and butter. And I'm getting my hopes up big time. But you know what? That's ok.

I know one thing: I want to do that work. It is my passion. And even if they don't hire me, I want to find out everything I can about what they do and how I can start doing it. I will not stop until I am doing what I love.