In March 2020, American thought leader, author and former tech executive Seth Godin observed that college students and recent graduates are accustomed to crisis. Just babies when the 9/11 terrorist attacks occurred and raised on dire warnings about climate change, this demographic group could be known as Generation C for their unique experiences—COVID-19, connection (never remembering life before the Internet or cell phones) and carbon (and its impact on the environment), according to Godin.
Even if you don’t claim the name Generation C, there’s no doubt that the events of the past year—not to mention the past two decades—are changing the way Americans live, learn and seek meaningful careers. While COVID-19 and what has followed in 2020 has impacted everyone around the globe, GRAD is highlighting Indiana’s helpers, focusing on the positive and connecting you with resources that can help prepare you to thrive.
Santiago Jaramillo, CEO of the Fishers, Indiana-based software company, Emplify, and industry leader in data-driven employee analytics, has a few things to say about building resilience. From humble origins, Jaramillo immigrated to Florida with his family after escaping a kidnapping at his church by the militia in Cali, Columbia. He Santiago Jaramillo learned the importance of adaptability and grit, which have been grounding principles for him throughout his life and business career.
A serial entrepreneur, Jaramillo has developed and grown multiple small and midsize companies. Santiago created the mobile app platform, Bluebridge in his college dorm room at Indiana Wesleyan University. Under Santiago’s leadership, the company grew to more than 45 employees in four years and nearly 500 customers across the world.
In 2013, he was named to Inc. magazine’s “30 Under 30” list and was honored as a Champion of Change at the White House. He was named to Indianapolis Business Journal’s “Forty Under 40” class in 2015 as one of the youngest honorees in the program’s history and received the award for Indiana Latino Businessman of the Year in 2016.
Jaramillo is co-author of Agile Engagement, a bestseller providing a framework for measuring employee engagement. Shortly after the pandemic upended life, he shared his perspective and insight via LinkedIn near the beginning of the pandemic:
“Western culture has conditioned us to be obsessed with feeling good. A lot of us would rather feel nothing than any emotion that isn’t happiness. So, when we see emotional ‘storm clouds’ gathering, sometimes we try to numb them with distractions: sleep, alcohol, Netflix, food, the internet. None of these coping mechanisms generate resilience.
“My favorite definition of resilience is “emotional elasticity,” or the ability to move through difficulty and change with grace and adaptability, catalyzing challenges into growth and learning. Resilience is served by letting the [emotion] storm pass over us instead of fighting the losing battle of trying to repress or outrun it. It’s letting ourselves feel the sadness or anger or fear, processing it, and learning something about ourselves from it.
“The more we practice emotional elasticity, the more resilient we become. The more resilient we are, the better we can thrive in seasons of difficulty and uncertainty. May we have the courage to feel more of our emotions and may this season of difficulty catalyze unprecedented growth in us.”
YOU’LL DEFINITELY BE ASKED ABOUT THIS IN A JOB INTERVIEW
COVID-19 is an ongoing topic of conversation, and it’s likely to come up in job
interviews for the near future. Start thinking about how you can frame this
experience to a prospective employer, or in networking encounters:
- How has the pandemic impacted your life?
- What are some positive changes you’ve seen implemented by companies, communities or individuals?
- How have or can you work to develop emotional elasticity or grow during this time?