Do More Than You’re Asked

This has been my philosophy for a while now. It’s a version of under promise, over deliver but on a very personal level. I don’t mean go totally overboard, but I have always felt that doing a little more than one is asked to do reaps benefits personally and professionally. For one thing, I’ve often found that people who are asking me to do things sometimes don’t fully understand what’s possible. This has been especially true in the tech realm. So they ask for a web page that has x information or a report that analyzes certain data, and I give them in the first case not just an informative page, but one that looks good. In the second case, the report will have charts and graphs as well as a narrative. I also try to complete tasks early rather than right at the last minute. That gives the person […]

Feeling Valued

Most people want more out of work than a paycheck. They show up, work hard, and they want that hard work recognized in some way. Mostly, it’s just a matter of simply wanting to know that their work matters, that it is contributing to the success of the organization and that their peers and those in charge know that. That doesn’t always happen regularly. It’s one of the things that’s actually really hard to make happen in organizations. Typically, we have end-of-the-year awards of some kind or perhaps, at best, recognition at monthly meetings. It is, indeed, hard to show up and do your best if you feel like no one will notice. I’ve been on both sides of this. I’ve been in jobs where my work seemed invisible and/or devalued relative to others’ work. It didn’t feel good. In fact, I left those jobs as soon as it made […]

Getting Through February

February is a short but brutal month, at least for those of us not in tropical climes. My first realization that February packed a depressing punch was my freshman year in college when my first boyfriend broke up with me in February, coloring my mood for pretty much the rest of the month. In a school context, when February rolls around, the rest that was winter break is gone; the excitement and anticipation of a new semester has faded; the weather fluctuates between cold and gray and more cold and less gray; and spring break seems eons away. It’s tough. I write this as I’ve watched it rain the last few days and I’m staring at bare branches against a patchy, gray, cloudy sky. We try to provide respite from the drear by providing fun activities for the students and some breaks for the adults. Last year, we took everyone […]

Engineering Serendipity

I get bored easily. I’ve known this about myself since college. I crave new experiences, new insights. I like to be somewhat surprised. I’ve found many ways to inspire myself. I’ve engineered experiences so they feel fresh, so that I might find something new in everything I do. For example, I do like to cook, but I don’t like deciding what to cook, so I picked a cookbook, generated a few random numbers and cooked whatever was on the page associated with the numbers.  Surprise meal! Back before the web, when I was in a creative writing program, I was often looking for things to write about that took me out of my usual realm–my head, generally. I would go to the library and look up a book of interest, but then I would peruse the shelves around me and pull random books and use those as source material. Or […]