Briefing Notes: Our Next Steps

Published: March 22, 2020

“What matters has sharply come into focus.” — Shane Parish


Things around the globe are intense and crazy and nerve-wracking at the moment. No point ignoring that and neither is it helpful for me to beat around the bush. I’m deviating a bit from the usual format of this newsletter to address a few things.

The mission, now more than ever.
Second Breaks’ mission — through this newsletter and the podcast — has always been to help you navigate a changing world of work and thrive in your chosen path.

I don’t know that there can be a more direct connection between our mission and the reality of this moment. So, you can expect the same focus from SB going forward.

The focus is on our next steps.
There’s plenty of news sources out there and you don’t need more of that from Second Breaks. Here, we’re going to focus on information that can help you frame your next steps. Insights that may be relevant as you make decisions for your career (both near and long-term).

When I do my research, know that this is the criteria I’m using to decide what to include in this newsletter and the podcast. In the infrequent times when I share a bit of newsy article (as I will today), it is to level-set or share something that I believe may inform your career decision.

The new season is REALLY new.
I had developed an entirely different season for the podcast that was supposed to drop next week. Then, all kinds of things happened. And I felt there’s something more relevant that I could be producing instead. So, the original set of episodes is shelved for the moment. So, the original set of episodes is shelved for the moment. In its place and starting Thursday, March 26th, the podcast will focus on career continuity and resilience. This is a late change in the line-up so I’m sourcing guests as I write this!

  • Next week, Dr. Nayla Bahri is back on the show to talk about career resilience. Her work studying professionals who were affected by the 2008 recession is quite relevant and we’ll be digging into specific things we can be doing now to position ourselves as best we can.
  • Following that, Tara McMullin (founder of What Works Network) joins me to share how she is processing what’s happening – as a business owner, an employer, and a leader – and how planning looks for her during these uncertain times — when we don’t know what will happen next month, let alone 6 months from now.

Those are two sure things. I’ll let you know of the coming line-up as soon as I’ve lined them up! Right now, the plan is still to release weekly episodes, but that may change (to twice a week) depending on how the world turns.

The best way for you not to miss upcoming episodes is to subscribe to the podcast. This link here will show you the podcast apps that will work for your specific mobile device (cool, right?) so you can subscribe today.

Virtual Chats
I’ve cleared time on the calendar if you want to connect and just chat. Social distancing is really about physical distancing. And we can all use some real connections now. It’s an open-ended invitation to chat. We can talk about your plans — maybe you want to start a podcast, or start a side business, or change careers, or make a pivot. Or maybe you’re just bummed about all that’s happening and want to chat. Or maybe you’re curious about me and what I’m doing. Open-ended. Here’s my scheduling calendar. Chat will be on Zoom (which we all probably got acquainted with, in a hurry, this past week).


I know, I know. One of the prevalent advice out there is NOT to expect much of ourselves during this crazy time. To focus on self-care. And if watching Netflix all day is what feels good, then it’s that. I’m all in for doing what makes you feel better, as long as it’s safe and not hurting anyone.

AND if you’re one who’s thinking that improving some of your skills will help you feel better, here are some options from Creative Live: Mastering People Skills Classes, Marketing & Sales Classes, Web Design Classes.

*P.S. This is an affiliate link.


There’s an excellent chance you’re one of the folks required to WFH now, so a bunch of what follows should be relevant.
(If you’re in one of the essential services and need to continue showing up for work… THANK YOU SO MUCH and may God or Allah or Yahweh or the Universe bless you!)

  • Honey, I’m (ALWAYS) home! If you live with a partner or a roommate, coronavirus quarantine isn’t just about managing your own needs and anxieties. It’s about finding a way to coexist with someone and all of their needs and anxieties, every minute of every day in a confined space for an undisclosed amount of time. How Not to Completely Hate the People You’re Quarantined With
  • One Microsoft team moved its entire operations to remote work. Two weeks in, they are learning what it’s really like to be home with their families at all times, while also trying to stay productive and connected to their work teams. What We’ve Learned About Remote Work (This is one of the best set of practical tips I’ve read.)
  • Unfortunately, there are some who will take advantage of the collective anxiety and lax security of home computing. So, on top of everything else, we need to be aware of the rise of cyberattacks, phishing, and hacking. Coronavirus Sets the Stage for Hacking Mayhem. (I include this here not to raise panic but so we’re all aware and even more deliberate about clicking things from unknown sources. Not this email though. I double-check every single one of these links.)
  • Gretchen Rubin, one of my favorite authors, wrote about the idea of “area of refuge”. It’s so timely now with our collective experience.
  • Video: And for a bit of levity, watch this! It will change how you remember Vanilla Ice forever 😂


“What kind of leader do I want to be during this crisis? Where do I want to be on the other side of this crisis?” — Me


I said last week that I’m on Twitter way more than I should. Though, you know, it really depends on how you curate what you read.

The other day, Shane Parish, host of The Knowledge Project (one of my favorite podcasts) tweeted this:

What matters has sharply come into focus. Family matters. Love matters. Kindness matters. Health matters. Generosity matters. People matter. Community matters. The rest is just noise.

I think I’ll end with that.

Be safe. Check up on Mom, Dad and Grandma. Stay home for all the medical professionals who can’t stay home for us. And please, leave some toilet paper for others.

Send over any comments or better yet, schedule a virtual chat!

Cool beans,
Lou Blaser


A former management consultant and IT leader, Lou Blaser is the editor of Briefing Notes and the host of the Second Breaks podcast. She is also the author of Break Free: The Courage to Reinvent Yourself and Your career. Lou’s work is focused on helping experienced professionals navigate an evolving work landscape so they can continue their impact and relevance in a changing world.

The world of work is changing.

Stay smart about it.

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