Posted in Career, Work Related

Reclaiming My Time

I’ve been away from my blog for several months now in dedication to succeeding in a job role that has been very challenging since the very start. It has taken a significant portion of my time and I must now take a queue from Maxine Waters and reclaim my time!

The role is a leadership position on a larger scale than I’ve been in before. I took it on knowing that I was a bit scared since it involved areas of management that I’d never been involved in, middle management decisions which required the right combination of higher management approval to move forward, and supervising people with a hierarchal perspective and some with no genuine appreciation for a manager embarking on a job with a learning curve.

The thing is, I am not one to turn away from an opportunity simply out of fear. When I self reflect and realize that I’m just scared, my spirit says “Sheeeeiiiiit! Go on and do this girl!” and I do. Then, soon enough it starts to feel like I’m flailing in the middle of a turbulent ocean. Anxiety unpacks and settles in for a good stay, inner voices, egged on by imposter syndrome, scream at every perceived mistake.

In reality it took a few years of being in this role for the experience to culminate to a point where my physical well-being along with my mental well-being was noticeably impacted which led to taking two weeks off to just let go of it all. It took two weeks of stilling myself in order to come to terms with why I needed a change and how I intended to manage where I was until another opportunity presented itself.

I was brought into this position because of a merger. Mergers are wrought with emotional people who are no longer sure of their future. So being an empathetic soul with the patience of ten Jobs, I was a good person for the job. I’m able to listen, restate what I’ve heard, and provide sound guidance, all because I’ve been there. So for the first year, that’s what I did. Some felt confident enough to stay on while others decided to understandably move on. Also, during the first year, both teams were in different buildings. Which helped to further the divide. Those who remained needed to build relationships with their colleagues so we engaged in team building activities which helped us to get to know each other and set the course for developing a good team.

Three months into being under one roof, COVID hit, which created a situation for remote work which the rural office had to adjust to. They value face-to-face interaction. Now that offices are reopening and the team is stronger, I can transition someone else into the role who has risen to the occasion of being the in-office go-to person and transition myself into a position that’s suitable to my passion. It just so happens that the need for developing technological solutions and guiding my other team, one that I built, is a truly organic need at this time.

With all of that said, this transition also allows me to reclaim a bit of my time. This is what I’ve been holding myself to task for since coming back from my two-week time off. So far, the reclamation has been very good. I’ve successfully produced two poems that I’m most proud of. In addition to my free-verse I’ve decided to focus on developing my ability to write Shakespearean Sonnets. I published two new poems yesterday. That’s a record for me!

I’m hopeful that this new outlook and new commitment to reclaiming my time will stick. It kind of has to because I feel a bigger change coming my way that has to do with really honing my writing skills and pursuing publication on a larger scale at some point. If you’ve taken the time to get to the end of this reflection, send kind thoughts my way. ūüôā

Posted in Career

Not Right Now to the Career Switch Itch

samechangeEvery now and then someone will ask me if¬†I’d like to do something different for a living. Also, every now and then, I get the urge to peruse the¬†most popular job search sites just to see what’s out there. It wouldn’t be natural if one didn’t wonder what career opportunities had been missed if they had only did this or that, or to wonder what the job landscape currently looks like.¬†Bar my long-term goal of having a publishing contract for a collection of my own poetry, each time I think about a career change¬†I generally end up reflecting on why I enjoy what I do so much.

Not a lot of people understand all of the interpersonal as well as technical skills that go into being a good word processing operator. A leader in an organization I worked for considered my job to be that of a typist. This showed not only that she was nearing retirement, but also showed her lack of knowledge regarding the technical expertise and interpersonal aspects that govern what word processing operators actually do.

A highly skilled word processing operator¬†demonstrates a¬†superior¬†level of customer service abilities. He or she knows her role well enough to anticipate client needs even when the client isn’t 100% sure of what his or her needs are. A highly skilled word processing operator is astute in time management and is constantly working from an efficiency standpoint with a strong focus on accuracy. A highly skilled word processing operator is at an advanced level with all of the most popular business software applications. Being at the advanced level, you¬†will find him or her¬†sometimes stepping into a tech support role troubleshooting software problems for colleagues across¬†an organization. If an organization has allowed the role of the word processing operator to organically grow, you will also find that a word processing operator can be quite excellent at project management and processes and procedures development and documentation.

I thoroughly enjoy all of those technical aspects of what I do, but nothing has benefitted me more than the customer service skills and philosophy that I’ve developed and strive to live by. During my employment with one of the leading tech startup law firms of the dot.com age, I was fortunate enough to be able to participate in a 2-day customer service training module through AchieveGlobal. My outlook on life as not only a service provider, but also as a wife, a parent, a co-worker, a colleague, a friend, all changed in such a wonderful way. If I had to sum up the training to its most basic¬†principle it would be to always treat others as you want to be treated whether you are in the role of service provider or the role of customer in whatever type of interaction in which you are engaged. Always striving to be in the other person’s shoes has helped me navigate through some very tough customer service experiences toward successful outcomes. This outlook and ability is something that will always guide me through life and helps me maintain a balanced perspective on daily interactions.

While that might be a bit of Oprah Winfrey feel-good stuff, it’s nonetheless the truth about how I view my career as a word processing operator. It’s truly something that I enjoy and intend to continue to grow with and evolve toward whatever technology and business practices dictate. My role as a lead word processing operator will serve as a sound foundation for whatever the future holds, for whenever I decide to give in to the career switch itch.

Posted in Career, Uncategorized

Embrace Change and the Force Will Be With You

Change In the SkyWe are coming to the final week of January. I haven’t made any resolutions, but the idea of change has been a resounding thought in my mind all month. This morning, I wondered why many people embrace making resolutions but seem to have a fear of change. After all, isn’t a resolution all about making a change? I guess the difference resides in the amount of control a person has in the process. A person deciding to make a change is one thing, when change is thrust¬†upon them¬†it¬†is an altogether different thing.

Where I’ve encountered folks who exhibit the greatest fear of change is in the workplace, where many surrender to the status quo of how things have always been. Keeping up with new technology or figuring out more efficient and creative ways to use existing technology is something that some seem to find no time for. The thought, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” prevails, even when things are changing in various ways around them.

This can be fine for a while, but what I’ve learned from the time of MS Word’s crushing destruction of WordPerfect as the word processing software of choice to when I was one of thousands of folks in 2008 who found themselves looking for work due to business closures, is how imperative it is to make forced change work for¬†you. The best ways I have learned¬†to do that is¬†1) accept that change is inevitable, and¬†2) always embrace the opportunity to learn something knew.

Back¬†in the days of WordPerfect, I was a Jedi¬†Master of reveal codes. Reveal codes were little boxes of code that held all of the formatting properties. I made that¬†software sing.¬†Then along came¬†MS Word and reveal codes were no more. I couldn’t¬†wrap my brain around how I was supposed to process words without reveal codes! In my mind it wasn’t going to work and I dragged my feet into the training¬†that they tried to loft me into. Fast-forward three months into the change, I remember thinking how much easier MS Word was than WordPerfect. Fast-forward to today, whenever I happen to come across a job posting where WordPerfect is a necessity I wonder why are they stuck in a time warp.

I learned a huge lesson from that experience. In the long run it prepared me for the layoff that I would go through in 2008. I went into that forced change with a great deal of confidence.¬†I knew it wouldn’t be long before I would secure employment. I had developed a work ethic that embraced the concept of lifetime learning at the forefront, which essentially gave me that confidence. I learned not to look at new technology or a change in process as a threat, but to see it as something else I can add to my repertoire. While I sent out hundreds of resumes that went into the black hole of the internet, within three months I was gainfully employed. This period of time was without much handwringing and stress because I was thoroughly confident in my skills.

Change is something we are always going through. It comes with the rotation of the earth and there’s not a darn thing anyone can do about it. Accepting that and embracing the idea of lifetime learning helps mitigate the fear of change when we have little to no control over things. You just might find that doors will open up for you when things appear pretty bleak.