Today is Labor Day and this year I seem to be doing holiday posts. (Okay, not sure we can call Pi Day a holiday, but please indulge me.) That got me thinking about work which lead me to think about my job which brought me to the phrase “labor of love” since I really do love my job.
I love the work I’m charged with — writing content to help people get access to the actionable insights in their data. It meshes with my goal in getting my Masters in Library Science…to help people get access to the information they need. I love the people I work with — they have a spirit and a passion and a genuine camaraderie. These are people I’m excited to collaborate with and learn from. They care about what they are doing and care about each other. I love the management at this company — they push us to work hard and are right there in it with us each step of the way. I love my commute — its the best 40 minute commute ever! I walk to work four days a week and drive with my boss the other day. That means I get exercise and social time (as I either text family and friends or make calls on my walks) or I get one-on-one time with my boss. That’s a win either way. And I love the challenges. I don’t always like the challenges, but I always come back to loving them as they help me grow.
The writing is a challenge. It is a stretch for me to claim authority about anything…there is always more to learn. But I am learning that I can share my perspective with others as something they can learn from…not because I know all but because they can share in the journey. Plus my boss reads over most things and tweaks to make it better…another opportunity for me to learn! The interesting thing about the people I work with is that they aren’t best friends and it isn’t all lovey dovey. As I think about it more, it is about respect. It is about taking care of things so the other person can shine. And even in the relationships that aren’t that easy, there is space to learn from the struggle…and if you know me, you know I love to learn! The management is a bit scary…they are all wicked smart which can be intimidating. They are all very approachable but I’m afraid to open my mouth for fear of letting them down. I’ll just keep studying to meet them at their heights. As for the commute, I’m a bit concerned about the winter months. Yes, I live in sunny California but if we are lucky, we will get rain. Will I keep up my walking in the rain and the cold? I hope so because I fear if I drive once, I’ll fall into the habit of driving (as it would be easier). Maybe I need to invest in a good rain coat and big umbrella. And may this be my biggest challenge!
Wishing you the good fortune to find a labor you can love! And now off to the picnics and barbecues! Enjoy!
Last week one of the people I work with gave me an unexpected card. I had done some listening and shared a few ideas with her the previous week when she reached out for help. I love being there for others. I’ve often been told that I am a good listener so I didn’t think too much about this session. She said the card was long overdue thanks for all those incidences when I took the time to listen.
As you can imagine, I was pleasantly surprised and had an extra bounce in my step all week! That got me thinking about the people I should be showing appreciation. I’m usually pretty good at showing my appreciation but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement.
Today is Pi Day…which for some people means math, others think of pie, while still others go for pizza pie.
For me, I’ll go for pie. Specifically I think of my friend RS who makes five to seven pies for Thanksgiving each year. Yep, that is what you are seeing in the picture above…pies (plus a tart and a home made chocolate wishbone). She and I were talking the other day about a different kind of pie…pie charts. Specifically how one balances the pie chart of life.
We were talking about all that we have to fit into our days. How do we balance all the demands and do what moves us forward?
Of course, Pi Day is about math…so how does it all add up? We have only so many hours in a day. We want to spend time with family and friends. Add to that our day jobs in whatever form that may take. There are all the wonderful organizations we want to support which seem to multiply as time goes on and we are introduced to additional volunteer opportunities. Subtract the chores of living life that have to get done so we can eat good meals and wear clean clothes. And this doesn’t account for hobbies or vacations…
While we can reach out for the support of friends or family and try to multitask, the rubber meets the road in our priorities. Our priorities follow from our mission or vision of our life. What is my vision for my future? If I know this, then I can figure out what I need to be spending my time on and can focus my efforts there. This makes the juggling easier because I know why I’m doing what I’m doing and can say no to things that don’t get me where I want to be.
And right now, I want to be in my favorite chair curled up with a good book and nice piece of pumpkin.
Why do I hesitate? Why do I question and try to anticipate every possibility before stepping into something new? I’m a Girl Scout and want to be prepared just like they taught us in the olden days, of course.
Being prepared feels good. I love when someone needs something…a bandaid, an umbrella, sunscreen, or just the right words…and I’m able to help. Being ready for whatever comes my way gives me confidence and brings a smile to my face. Of course I want to be prepared.
But what of all those opportunities I miss while I’m busy anticipating all the possible permutations of a given imaginary future situation?
Some of my best decisions have been those leaps of faith I’ve taken without much forethought…my semester in England where I knew no one, the extra month I spent in India, the start up I joined at the beginning of the dotbomb, that guy I dated from a FB thread…the list goes on.
There is something to be said about being prepared before stepping into the storm. But there is also good reason to take the leap and adjusting course as time and experience show the way.
May you leap fearlessly into the unknown, with devotion and a wide-open heart. Wishing you a Happy Leap Day!
Take a watch of this 1991 commercial for Sizzler restaurants and tell me it doesn’t make you happy. And by happy, I mean torn between patriotism and spasms of giggling. Go on now. Give it a watch…all the way to the fabulous finish.
(Yes, this was a test of your persistence…did you make it all the way through the almost five minutes to the whisper-y ending? Did it make you smile?)
You may be asking what this ad has to do with my career search. Those of you who know me well know that my very first job was working as a waitress for Sizzler. I wore a brown polyester uniform and learned to stack four plates of food on one arm. My job at Sizzler taught me leadership skills as I was training new hires after being there only a few months. I also learned people management…both my coworkers and the general public. And I made life long friends! In fact, I had lunch with one and dinner with another Sizzler friend just last week.
Networking! You may be asking yourself how I scored a job at such a sizzling place. It was networking. My friend and I went in to Sizzler almost every day after school for an ice tea. We got to talking to people and one day the store manager asked us if we wanted to work for him. Since we were there any way, why not?
Marketing! Oh there are so many things to say about this commercial from a marketing viewpoint. First off, it is waaaay too long! I love Sizzler, appreciate history, and lived through this time period but could barely hang on. The patriotic message gets through but is that what motivates us to choose a place to eat? Why in the world is that woman licking her lips like that? And where is the Malibu Chicken?! Of course, to give the commercial a true critique, we would need to time travel back to 1990 to figure out whether this was appropriate for the time.
Happy! This ad brought back many happy memories! Happy Day Seven!
With renewed energy, I’m looking everywhere for career inspiration. A friend mentioned the five senses in a completely non-job context but once our conversation was over, I started to think about how I could use all five senses to look for my dream job. How can hearing, sight, smell, taste, and touch help me?
The easiest two are hearing and sight…I can hear what family, friends, and colleagues have to say about job leads and in informational interviews. Listening to podcasts and books on tape can help make me a better candidate too. I can also think about and manage what others hear from me. I’ll use my sense of sight to read up on different ways to know myself & the market and see what job openings I come across. Thinking about how others see me will help me manage the messages I send. This includes both the way I dress and my behavior.
The sense of smell and sense of taste are a bit of a conundrum as far as my current career exploration goes. Maybe if I were to create a new ice cream flavor or blend a nice wine these senses would play a part. For my current areas of interest, library science, archives, and marketing, a more metaphorical approach makes more sense. I’ll sniff out job leads and shower before all networking events. I’ll do research to get a taste of how a particular company does business. And I’ll make every effort to never leave a bad taste in anyone’s mouth when we interact.
Sense of touch is more about reaching out to people rather than physically touching them (although I love a good hug when appropriate). The pundits say that finding the right job is more about who you know rather than what you know so keeping in touch with my network is important. In some sense, this is an easy one for me since I love a good spreadsheet and networking is a numbers game. The tricky bit is how to do this touching in a way that works for me and for those I am reaching out to touch. Do I reach out asking for specific help or do I simply reach out to say hello? Maybe I shouldn’t overthink it too much and just start reaching out and marking up that spreadsheet!
That is my take on the five senses and how I might apply them to my career search. Of course, any career change or job hunt requires a big, continual dose of common sense. And the most important thing in a search like this is a sense of humor! At least that is how I sense things…
Since I’m back to my search for the perfect job for me, I’m back to this blog and to the Happy Days series. I didn’t get too far (five days last summer) likely because my great friends from upstate New York came to town for four weeks. Yes, I’m somewhat distract-able by these two little girls. And it just so happens that these same girls just arrived in town again. I’ll see them lots over the next couple weeks I hope. But this isn’t about happy visits from cute kids, it is about the quest for career clarity and happiness.
Today I called an acquaintance who is also in a job search. We met at a wedding more than a handful of years ago. We keep in touch primarily via social media and that is how I knew she is in search mode. Turns out we share more than just mutual friends…we are both open to a wide variety of job options.
It was interesting to hear how she is working through the job search process. She has a spreadsheet to track jobs she is interested in applying for. She also keeps a running list of the things she does each day in her quest for work. And she is networking lots and lots. Good for me to hear her perspective and to get ideas for my own quest. And we agreed to support each other with a weekly check in. This is something I know works well for me so I’m happy to have connected with her. Hoping we both find our way to just the right thing!
I’m back at the quest for just the right career for me. Is it a matter of crafting my current job into the right fit? Or do I need to explore new possibilities? I don’t yet know.
I kicked off this new wave of activity by going to a lunch talk at a company in Campbell called Zurb called Soapbox. They run a great set up with monthly speakers around the world of design. Zurb’s blurb (yeah, I couldn’t resist…): “Soapbox is where we sit with influencers and gain their insights into what got them where they are today. This is where entrepreneurs, designers, managers and friends of ZURB can speak with like-minded professionals and spar with them afterward.”
It was enlightening to listen to a topic (online music) I knew little about but in a context (design) I’m interested in learning about more. And to people watch. It was a crowd slanted toward young males but there was a good mix of people. There were lots of animated conversations and many people around the edges keeping more to themselves. I’ll be back for more when I can join in.
And now back to finding my way in the world…wish me luck!
Connecting with the right people really makes a difference. Tonight I talked with two different friends at a party and they inspired me in different ways. (Ok, I spoke with lots of different people who each made an impact for good or not as good and maybe that is a topic for another day…)
The first person I’ve known for sixteen years and have had many conversations with during that time. Tonight a few things struck me. First, I need to find more ways to have conversations with them because I almost always leave thinking, really thinking about something or another. Second, they almost always explain things by telling a story. I like that…it sometimes confuses me because I’ll ask a basic question and instead of answering yes or no, they tell me about a conversation they heard…and eventually I have my answer. That makes me listen…I love a good story. Third, we have more in common than I thought we had…a mutual friend told us we are talented evaders. That made me smile to know I’m in good company. Fourth, they remember things, detailed things about our shared youth. I’ve found another memory keeper and that makes me happy.
The second person I’ve only known a few years. But in those few years we’ve connected on a number of fronts. Just in the last year I’ve come to realize we share lots and I should spend more time with them being inspired to be better. The main topic tonight was blogging. They mentioned wanting to start but not being sure how. I laid out a very basic, simple plan and I think they are convinced. You’ll hear whether I was successful or not by the post where I share their new blog. And here I am posting to my blog after much too long a break. Hopefully this is the first of many posts…
I’m happy about conversations. They can make a big difference and can take so many different forms.
There is the conversation I had today with a friend of over three decades…which is pretty impressive since we aren’t yet 24 or at least that is how it feels when we talk. I love that we can talk about ANYthing, absolutely anything. Trust me, we’ve taken the conversations to some pretty odd places over the years and remained friends. (Um, I inserted some examples of the topics we’ve shared and realized, yeah, not going to go there. You’ll just have to use your imagination…we do!) And the best part about it is these conversations feel like home.
Then there is the conversation I had today with a new friend who reflected back to me some interesting points about some conversations I’ve been having with others lately. These conversations are very different (work and romantic) but share some components that really surprised me. Love it when someone really listens!
This evening I took part in a community conversation. There were about 800 people who had various ideas about a subject…although the speakers were of one slant. It was interesting to see the variety of people there…young and old, national and international, secular and religious. And they all showed up to learn more. It was invigorating to be part of this conversation just by showing up. I didn’t say a word but by being there, I made a statement and feel empowered.
I love a good conversation!
(Ok, maybe this isn’t the best image to go with this post because I don’t think the conversations need changing…but Ryan!)