Don’t Wall Me In

November 9, 2009 at 12:39 pm 1 comment

I own a small chunk of the Berlin Wall. My parents visited there not long after the wall came down, and they brought chunks of it home. I’ve always thought it was kinda cool, but it certainly never had the meaning for me that it brings to those who’ve lived behind it. Lots of talk about it now, of course, with the anniversary and all. But even with all the discussions and photos and TV specials, few Americans can fully understand the meaning of that wall.

The Wall-less Midwest

I grew up in Minnesota, land of 10,000 lakes separated by expansive green lawns and no fences. Oh sure, you have the occasional chain-link variety installed to contain the neighbor’s German Shepherd. But with their transparency and easy scalability, the chain linker really fences no one in, or out. And it’s certainly not a wall – not even to that German Shepherd who can jump it or dig under at will.

When I moved to Southern California, I began to understand a little more about walls. Every tiny lot in these suburban stretches is walled in with concrete block. Sure, they’re only four or five feet high, but their stony presence is intimidating. Add the decorative wrought-iron top with its rust-covered spikes, and you create quite the neighborly feel. I don’t understand all these walls, nor do I appreciate them. Perhaps us Midwestern transplants could start a movement to rid SoCal of its walls.

My Own Walls

Better yet, let’s start with personal walls. I’m working on breaking some down right now. A few months ago, I was a victim of “reduction in force.” That’s corporate America’s new way of saying “Clean out your desk.” And even in the office-less office when I worked for six+ years, I had built some walls around myself – figuratively, of course. I had built walls to protect my territory, guarding my importance in hopes of not only keeping my job but progressing in the company. I had built walls around my reputation in the industry. I had built personal walls, too, letting some co-workers peek through if it served me well.

I am tearing down all those walls. Networking down my new career path has forced me to get out the sledgehammer and knock down walls. And I think I’ve even broken through a few walls put up by others as well.

What kind of walls fence you in?

What kind of walls can you break down today, for yourself or for others?

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Entry filed under: Communications, Personal. Tags: , .

Call me Simple, but I Just Don’t Understand I’m Curious.

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