Posts Tagged ‘Professionalism’

I had the unpleasant realization Saturday that I was already a day late in completing a quiz for a training class I’m halfway through.  Knowing there was no way I could get to it over my busy weekend, I asked for and received permission to complete it today.  That threw off the plans I had for my day off today which was to prepare and rehearse a presentation I’m giving tomorrow.  So much for casual weekends and lazy days off.

So my first order of business today was to review all the previous training sessions that were to be covered on the quiz, and then complete it.  With no thanks to excessive IT security restrictions on my work laptop, I finally (after three hours) had the material I needed to study.  Then I reviewed it and completed the quiz about 7:15 p.m.  Since I had attended all the sessions relevant to the quiz, paying attention and participating, I likely could have completed the quiz successfully without spending as much time prepping as I did.  However, I like to know beyond all doubt that I’m prepared for something.  I was.

After writing this post, I’ll turn to my planned task for the day of prepping and rehearsing a presentation I’m giving tomorrow night.  I’ve presented on the subject before, so it isn’t new material, but it will be organized in a different manner than I’ve presented before.  I always like to rehearse numerous times out loud before a public speaking engagement, so my evening and much of tomorrow will be given to doing so.  I want to know when I stand before those present tomorrow night that I am giving them my best.

When I think back to my January 4 post about my three words, the second word was “stretch” which means I want to do more than what is required of me.  That isn’t just to please others, but to live up to my own expectations and potential.  It can make for long days and hours doing things that I could probably get by with on less effort.  But I would know the difference even if others might not.

Leap year lesson #282 is It’s better to over-prepare.

I wrote here a couple of months ago about the difficulty of walking tightropes.  I’ve faced another similar challenging situation in recent weeks.  It’s finding the right balance of doing my best in a professional, unbiased way as the community manager of a 20,000 member social network vs. knowing when to take part in discussions that can be very controversial in nature.

My first duty at work is to do what they hired me to do, so over the past more than two years I have avoided being involved in religious or political discussions that happen on that social network.  I don’t want to do anything that might alienate half of the community I am charged with leading.

The difficulty for me, though, is when I have strong convictions about something from a religious standpoint.  On the one hand, I want to take the impartial side of moderator and limit my involvement to making sure everyone follows the guidelines and respects the views of others.  On the other hand, there are times when I feel like I can and perhaps should make substantive contributions to conversations out of my personal convictions, and that failure to do so is somehow hypocritical or cowardly.

It doesn’t help that my conservative Christian beliefs are not politically correct on all matters discussed and would be easy grounds for some to attack and to even use against me in jeopardizing my job if they wished.  So my failure to speak up then makes me wonder if I’m being unfaithful in my beliefs out of fear for my job.  That isn’t a good place to be.

I suspect that I will continue to take the corporate high road and do my best as moderator to manage the community peaceably since that is what I’m paid to do.  But it is unfortunate that there is a present reality where those on the conservative right feel like they can’t speak their heart on some matters without fear of reprisal in what appears to be an increasingly hostile environment against such views.

Leap year lesson #226 is one I struggle with daily – Know when to speak and when to be silent.

My last post was about using your talents and, for me, getting back in the saddle again.  I talked about starting a new class at my church on August 5 after taking a few years off from teaching.

Today the room was prepared.  New supplies were purchased.  Much cleaning was done.  Preparation for the lesson was complete.  Food and drinks were on hand.  The target group had known about the start for more than a month and was reminded last week to be in the new class today.  I was as ready as I could be.

The only problem?  Nobody came.  Nobody, that is, except the good man who has agreed to help me with the class.

Yes, it was disappointing, especially when a couple of people told me afterward that they saw the guys that should have been there hanging around outside the building during the class time.  At least we know where to go look for them next time.

The good news is that we can only go up from here!  Plus my lesson for next week is already prepared.

I knew starting something for this particular target group wouldn’t be easy, and that’s fine.  I don’t have to have easy, but I do have to have participants.

We’ll keep moving forward with the plan.  I still believe we’re doing the right thing.  I may reach out to a few others who are not involved or who are only minimally involved during that time slot elsewhere to join the cause.

The takeaway for me today is to continue to plan, study, prepare and do what I can to make it a good experience for any who choose to come, whether that is one or a hundred.  When it comes to efforts like this, sometimes success can’t be measured by how many participate, but by how faithful you are in making the effort.

Leap year lesson #214 is Do your best regardless of how many will know.

The dominant news story of the day today has been the mass shooting in the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado – a tragic, senseless act of some deranged man whose motives and psyche we may never understand.  My heart goes out to all those directly and indirectly impacted by the tragedy.  My prayers are with the families of the victims and those recovering from injuries.  I trust justice will be done and the shooter will never again know what it is to be a free man in society.

The side story for me in all this has been the grossly irresponsible reporting by so-called professionals who seem more interested in being the first to speculate about the incident rather than being correct in what is reported.  ABC News’ Brian Ross should be out of a job tonight in my opinion for his erroneous speculation with zero fact-checking this morning.  That is unconscionable behavior for anyone is his public, national role.

There is a side to most (if not all) of us that seems all too ready to jump to conclusions we would like to be true.  We really don’t want little things like facts getting in the way of us touting what we want to believe is true.  Facts are inconvenient when they don’t support our presuppositions or desired conclusions.

Most of us have had times where we’ve had a very lumpy humble pie for dessert after jumping to some conclusion before all the evidence is in.  It doesn’t set well when we eat humble pie.  Hopefully, however, it makes us less eager to feast on the same buffet of irresponsibility the next time an opportunity arises.

Actions have consequences, and while we have control over our actions, we have no control over the consequences of those actions.  Irresponsible behavior, be it personal or professional, bears consequences – sometimes very serious ones.

Whether in your own home, at your work, with your neighbors, friends or strangers, please try to remember leap year lesson #200 – Don’t jump to conclusions.

A friend and coworker had a major good moment today at work.  I knew he was up to the task and I had total confidence in what he would do.  It was a joy to hear him talk about it afterward and to see how good he felt about it.

I enjoy being at that point in my career when I’m not consumed by ambition or wanting things for myself, or where I am threatened in any way by the success of others.  I take great pleasure in seeing my colleagues do well and advance in their careers.  I want to support them in those efforts and cheer them on.  There are too many self-serving folks around ready to throw others under a bus.  We need more people to encourage others, support them and celebrate with them when good things happen.

So congrats, my friend (you know who you are, CS).  It is a pleasure to have you as a friend and colleague.  You deserve it.  Well done!

Leap year lesson #199 is It’s nice to celebrate the success of others.