Posts Tagged ‘Work Ethic’

Leap and the Net Will AppearI had a recruiter from a hiring agency call me today and ask if I might be interested in a job they were filling for another company.  When he introduced himself and asked if I might be open to something else, my response was “Probably not, but I’ll listen to what you have to say.”  I always listen to such calls whether I am in search of another job or not, just because I’m curious.  He went on to tell me about the position and, as I suspected, I had no interest in making such a move, so I cut the conversation short and wished him well in his search.

It felt good that my first thought upon being approached for another job was “No, I love what I’m doing, where I’m doing it, and with whom I get to do it.”  Not everyone is that fortunate.  I am, indeed, blessed.  Would I consider a different role for my current employer, or moving up the food chain a little?  Perhaps, but I’d have to be convinced of the personal fulfillment potential of the new role and of the likelihood that I would contribute more to the long-term benefit of the company than I am in my current role (and that isn’t likely).

Many people have to make tough choices, working at jobs that are less than fulfilling – positions that pay the bills but don’t quite live up to everything they might have dreamed about.  If people want to eat and have the basic necessities of life, then it can require swallowing a little pride, making sacrifices, and putting dreams on hold (perhaps forever) while real-life personal and family needs are met.  Those who have suffered a period of unemployment may well find themselves taking whatever job they can get out of necessity.  Younger workers may have to spend years paying their dues and working their way into more appealing positions over time.  I have the utmost respect for anyone who works faithfully at any job giving it their best, whether or not it is their dream job.

As an optimist, though, I’m always hopeful for myself and others that positive change can happen.  For the worker who is feeling stuck in a dead-end role with little hope of advancing or moving on to something better, I always like to see efforts at continuing education and baby steps in directions that keep those hopes for something better alive.  To the extent that personal and family responsibilities allow, I am inspired by those who take great leaps of faith, risking much in an effort to gain much.  There is something deeply human and captivating about a can-do spirit and drive to succeed.  Such people remind me of a stone I have on a shelf in my man cave that says “Leap and the net will appear.”  It is difficult to balance the faith and personal responsibility involved with such leaps, but they can be invigorating launchpads to new beginnings.

You don’t have to search long to find studies that speak to the importance of people being passionate about what they do if they are to remain happy, contented, and highly engaged in their work.  An easy test of passion for me is to answer the question, “Is this something I would enjoy doing for a while in the evening at home after a long day of work?”  Currently for me, the answer is, yes, I’d be glad to continue for a few hours several evenings a week if needed.  In fact, I do that very thing because I love what I do.  I’m passionate about it.  I want to accomplish much.  I want to do my best.  So why wouldn’t I drift toward doing more than what a mere 40-hour work week calls for (not that I’m too familiar with 40-hour weeks since mine are more like 50+ most weeks).

Are you doing what you love every day?  If so, congratulations!  Be thankful for your situation.  If not, why aren’t you?  I understand that circumstances and opportunities may have played a part in you putting your dreams on hold, but I encourage you not to forget them.  They may need to be revamped from time to time, but they should not be forgotten.  Perhaps through doing something every day or every week toward your dream, you will find yourself a year from now far closer than you are today.

Work hard.  Be responsible.  Educate yourself.  Take chances.  Keep the dream alive, and work diligently to see it come to pass if you really want to do what you love to do.

Dog On LaptopAs I post this, it’s after 2:00 a.m. Thursday and I’ve already put in 38 hours for work this week.  That is due in part to working from home Wednesday where I sat on my keester in my recliner for at least 14 hours cranking out tasks, nearly emptying my inbox, and getting more done than I could in 2-3 days in the office.  It makes for a long day, but there is great satisfaction in what gets accomplished when working from a quiet place where the only interruption is the dog’s occasional request to go outside, crawl in my lap, or throw a ball across the room.

On days like this, I waver between stopping at some reasonable number of hours versus going on and on to get as much done as possible.  In the end, I usually keep going.

Is it healthy to put in nearly 40 hours before you even go in to work Thursday-Friday (and some on Saturday)?  Not if it’s an every-week occurrence.  But as I’ve shared before, I love what I do and it is certainly not an imposition to sit in the comfort of my ugly lounge pants and t-shirt with my favorite beverage and man’s best friend curled up beside me, even if it is for 14 hours of nearly non-stop work.  Scratching another task off the list every few hours makes it worth the time.

The day has gone so well, in fact, that I decided my final task for the night would be to schedule every Wednesday as a work-at-home day for the next couple of months to try to get in the habit of a mid-week work-fest to stay on top of things.  The long hours are offset by the pleasure and comfort of being home and the fact that I will not be in the office more than two days in a row for a good while to come.  My thanks to a very understanding manager who allows me this flexibility and who does the same when he knows he has a lot on his plate and needs a respite from office distractions.

Leap year lesson #339 is Working at home can be time-intensive, but satisfying.

As I have shared in this blog before, I love my work.  It is a pleasure to do what I do for a company I respect with incredible colleagues who make each day fun and worthwhile.  I am fortunate, indeed, to be in this situation with important responsibilities for a Fortune 100 company’s internal and external social media.  I do not take it for granted.  There are days when I walk away from work toward my car and just shake my head in disbelief that I have this opportunity.

That is why days like last Friday and today are somewhat difficult for me.  Last Friday I scheduled a day off to stay home and do other things.  I started working, though, early in the morning and spent all morning and afternoon doing work that needed to be done, so it turned out to be a full day of work – just one done from home instead of the office.

Today I tried again and was far more successful at not allowing myself much time to work.  Yes, I sneaked a quick peak here and there at email and our internal social network and work-related Twitter, but for little more than an hour’s worth for the day, so I consider that a success.  I slept late, caught up on personal emails, watched the presidential news conference, spent nearly an hour trying to get a screen protector on my new smartphone (why don’t they come with protectors on them?), and spent time with my dog.  I ate a decent lunch and will take my dog for a nice walk shortly.

We all know that we need time away from work.  Given my love for what I do, however, it doesn’t seem much like work to me.  It’s fun.  It’s the kind of thing where I can plop in my recliner with my feet up and TV on and do until the wee hours of the morning. Depending on your satisfaction with your work, your experience may be very different than mine.

I am grateful for days like today where I have the option to do other things.  Still, for me at least, leap year lesson #316 is Not working is hard.

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 had no intentions of getting up at 2:00 a.m. today, but the thunderstorm and my scared dog had other plans.  Once the storm passed and my dog was sound asleep, I was still wide awake with my mind racing over several subjects.  In that situation, I’ve found that it’s just best to go ahead and get up and get things done instead of lay there frustrated that I’m not asleep.

So that’s what I did.

With social media sites checked, two blog posts written and several emails read or sent, I’m glad I got up and got things done.  I’ll have to go to bed a little earlier than normal tonight, of course, to make up for it, but that’s OK.  It’s best to strike when the iron is hot, and it was definitely hot in the wee hours this morning.

Most of us like some semblance of routine in our lives – when we get up, when we eat, where we go, what we do, when we go to bed.  Sometimes, however, those routines are disrupted through no fault of our own.  How do we handle them?  Do we get frustrated or do we make the best of it?

The word redeem can mean to recover, to liberate, rescue or save.  So rather than fret over the disruptions that come with interrupted plans and schedules, why not follow the advice of leap year lesson #270 – Redeem the time.