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A newsletter header image with an image of Dan Bollman behind the title 'The Details with Dan Bollman'

Resources can help with tough feelings

November 17, 2016

Whenever I have had to do anything “big,” I would get a knot in my stomach. Sometimes the knot was excitement, other times it was nerves and sometimes it was fear. There were even times that it was all three mixed together. It’s normal to feel all of those emotions. I have always worked through these emotions with a friend, family member or colleague that helped me share what I was feeling. No, I wasn’t sitting on a couch, but sometimes talking through my “knot” over a round of golf and a cold beverage was perfect.

Last week was tough.

When I looked around my community, MSU and even in IPF, I saw a bunch of “knots.” There was nervousness, there was excitement – there was even fear. The election was the exclamation point after a long season of very passionate and contentious exchanges. In many ways, the election brought out many people’s concerns about big changes that have occurred or might occur in their lives.

The easy thing to say would be to focus on the work and just go about your business, but that would ignore the very real feelings many of us have. I care too much about all of us to ignore last week. The ability for us to talk openly and respectfully is important after the election, as well as any other time we may feel “knots” at work. It might be a knot about a job change, a new supervisor or a new university policy. When we have open, respectful conversations and take the time to listen, we often find that there is much to learn about each other.

I encourage you to try one of my methods and to talk through your emotions in a respectful way. I can’t spring for golf and drinks, but if you need other tools to have these conversations, I can certainly help. There are many resources available to us as employees of IPF and Michigan State University. I encourage you to utilize those resources as necessary in the coming weeks.

It is OK for us to not all be the same. The fact that we are all very different people is one of IPF’s strengths and is what makes us diverse. No matter what you believe, I want this organization to be a place where you feel safe to express how you feel in a constructive and respectful way – we can only do that when we can agree to respect each other, even when we disagree. When I talk about our vision of being the most high performing facilities organization in the nation, it doesn’t just apply to the work, it applies to how we respect and support each other.

Some resources that you might find helpful include:

Classes, workshops and resources through Health4U, ElevateU, Human Resources and Academic Advancement Network
Resources for Difficult Conversations in the Classroom
Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives
Intercultural Education Network
Employee Assistance Program
Rest with Music
Reflect and Connect series
WorkLife Welcome Room

Until next time,


P.S. As always, please send me your thoughts, ideas, suggestions, etc. at