Quality of Work / Output

Lately I have been becoming gradually more conscious of the quality of output in the workplace. Primarily an assessment of my own performance, but I’ve also been considering the contribution and influence of the workplace collective. If you’ve ever worked anywhere consistently, or in similar environments, you know the different types of workers. There are those who do the absolute minimum, those in between, and those who work hard regardless of workplace circumstance. My focus is on the latter, those who are good, consistent workers wherever they are. I’ve known a few, and I always admired them. I always felt like whatever they told themselves to stay motivated was obviously more effective and better-serving than those who slacked.

Those who slack don’t realize that while they may “get away” with slacking, they don’t in reality. Their lack of output is noticed, and it’s a drain on the workplace. These types are so common however, that in lower-ranking jobs (ie. frontline customer service) where turnover is high, these people are more accepted as part of the average. The interesting thing is that the role and the amount of effort does not truly correlate. From my experience, I have seen people who make $25,000 a year work thrice as “hard” as someone who makes $70,000 or $80,000 a year. Granted it is a different type of work we’re referring to, with the $70,000 – $80,000 a year role (in the average company anyway) would likely partake in more high-level output, rather than more direct result frontline the $25,000 role would pay.
 
As I’ve matured, I’ve begun to see that I typically fall in between slacking and exerting effort above and beyond. It depends largely on factors such as whether I find the work challenging, rewarding, fulfilling, etc., or if I am complacent and unhappy. Variety is the key for me, and always challenging myself. I do my best to maximize my output as well as limit costs for the company I work for. Although the sick time is paid and some abuse it, I don’t see those resources as appearing out of thin air. I see it as a pool that is far above me, which allows me to prosper to the degree that I am contributing to the overall image. That’s only my perception though, and not at all something that anyone else is responsible for adopting. The same goes for the quality of output in the workplace or in life overall.
 
Everything that happens goes through a filter of beliefs and pre-determined judgment based on someone’s reference points. What they have found works, they tend to stick with. It makes sense. Before recently assuming my new role, I was falling a bit into the lazy-midway point. The variety and challenge that came with the new role has revitalized my effort and my overall expenditure in life. 

Little Steps, Baby Steps

I have had this blog for an entire year at this point. When I first began it, I was so thrilled. I still am thrilled at the growing potential of this as a forum to freely share thoughts that weigh heavily on my mind. Something that occurred to me recently makes me chuckle. Momentary excitement is exactly that, momentary. People will always return to what they know and are most familiar with, even if it’s not in their best interest. I have accepted that taking little steps, baby steps is the only way to progress in a comfortable, easy fashion that ultimately leads to success.

This has always been in the back of my mind, though I live for the moments when things just click. The moments when ideas that didn’t resonate are softened just perfectly.

My life is becoming better than it ever has been. I’m surrounded by beautiful people, part of amazing opportunities, and I have my health. I couldn’t ask for more except for the space of time to be minimized between myself and my ultimate success. I know there’s a reason for that though, and I love that too.

Most of it is letting go to take those little steps, you know, those baby steps. Being patient, comforting yourself along the way.

Soaking it In

During certain moments, I’ve cycled in various stages of helplessness. I’ve blamed others, even myself for things that weren’t truly problems. From a scarce mindset however, I couldn’t see reality. I was tainted in my perception of how my life actually was. I built walls around myself, a self-imposed limitation that I was constantly pretending I couldn’t escape. I’d do my best to distract myself to affirm this limitation, but I laugh now. I laugh because I just let go of the last two years by taking a little step. Or, was it really so little?

I recently began really soaking in my current situational advantages. My workplace was always something I pretended was such a prison, such a tragic place to spend my time. This thinking was incredibly exhausting, and I was often reduced to such childish frustration. It was a fascinating contrast to where I am now. For the first time in my life, I’m about to transition into a new role in a professional context. The manifestation of work progress has more to do with letting things happen than making them happen. 

My Team Lead was amazing. He took over another team, which I knew signaled an end to the role I was currently in. Something about his progress inspired my own. I know that he respects me, and I find that more valuable than words can express. Nothing could establish that except the quality of my work and who I am. I earned his respect and support. Realizing that six months ago would have made me uncomfortable, but it doesn’t now. Perhaps it’s maturity, or perhaps it’s just having a keen awareness of a more effective reality. He was integral in pushing me to progress as well. I finally see what good leadership will do for the people ready, willing and able to trust in the unfolding.

The unfolding, that sounds like some pretty high level sh*t. It is, and I love it. I like having the awareness to see, accept and love that life is a mirror. Soak it all in, especially the tough parts. You’re supposed to.

Comfort in the Uncomfortable

In an effort to push myself, as well as some push from leadership, I had applied for and have now gone through interviews for two potential opportunities. The first was for an internal program the company I work for offers that essentially offers non-managers with no experience to bridge that gap and do things like job shadow, offer relief, etc. The second was for a job doing collections-type work. Like any smart, efficient, massively successful corporation, they use behavioural interviewing techniques to discern the most qualified candidates. Naturally I was a ball of nerves as I haven’t had a formal job interview since June 2012. My preparation was out the window and I seriously needed to calm down. I think my examples were semi-strong, but my delivery wasn’t so great. The collections job interview was a day later and it went much more smoothly. I’m not quite ready to assume a leadership mentality just yet. At 25 or 28, more than likely, but it’s just a little much for me right now.
 
Beyond the ultimate result of getting a promotion, I saw it as an opportunity to push myself. Everyone experiences being too comfortable at certain points I think, and I realize how vital it is to challenge myself. To ensure that even when life doesn’t push me, I continue stepping forward. Bit by bit, I must keep going. While I was initially very stressed about how the first interview went, that gradually melted away as I let it sink in. I realize the opportunity wasn’t necessarily what I expected, which I always love. It was far more valuable than any theoretical or second hand career advice because I directly experienced it.
 
Moreoever, I learned that finesse is developed, it’s not a choice. I have struggled with either judging myself against people way further behind than I in their personal progress, or against people who are in their 40’s and 50’s who seem so professional and composed. Comparing myself has rarely benefitted me because the focus is on “why me?” instead of “how can I use this?”.
 
Growing up is something extra special, only if you want it to be! 

Undeveloped Skill & Becoming That Girl/Boy/Man/Womb

Two things happened recently that affected some of my thoughts on my current path. The first was that I attended a seminar on financial planning that my work was paying for. It was okay, albeit a little rushed. Something the facilitator said though really struck me. He told the group that at 25 years old, you are your biggest asset. It tied perfectly into what my thinking has been about my earning potential as a 22 year old. My awareness is invaluable… if I use it.

Which ties into my current value. Let’s take writing. I think I have an above average mastering of the English language. It’s nothing too special, it’s natural to me. That being said, if I applied consistent effort and maintained an intense hunger, I could become a paid writer. While I do plan to write a book, I also know I have to become someone more before that point.

Skill is useless unless you care to harness it and really shape it. To become a millionaire is so much more than the dollar amount. You have to become deserving of the affluence, otherwise you’ll find a way to sabotage it (ie. lottery winners). I have done this for years, stifling my professional development. Not intentionally, it happened as a result of my defaulting to unconsciousness stagnation and learned helplessness. If I’m being straight up, I am totally half assed at work. Most of the time. This will change though.

I’ve really begin to see the reality that successful people leave obvious facts in their trail, primarily who they are as successful people. What they did to become who they are, doing what they now do. I was forced to call on my past interactions with faux management. You can always tell, almost on a primitive level when someone’s words don’t add up. There’s something to be said for becoming a strong person, a good leader, a good lover, etc.

…and I’m determined to focus on becoming the strongest version of myself in the mix of it all.

Satisfaction & Professional Alignment

Today marks the first day I seriously consider what I want long term. In the past I’ve always approached my professional aspirations in terms of what I could get. How much money, how little I might have to do for that money, etc. As I’ve grown, I’ve discovered, by way of having made little money and then lots of money, that money isn’t a primary motivator.

When I worked retail, all I wanted was a call centre job that would give me tons of overtime. The last two jobs that I have had have done exactly that. The one I am currently at has also allowed me plenty of time away and a comfortable environment. On the other hand though, the longer I continue to pursue the same thing (which is nothing at all), the more out of alignment I become with myself.

I attended a party on Saturday that really shifted my attitude from unconsciousness to presence. I began really utilizing some of the resources my workplace has offered and had time to shadow and talk with different departments. I realize and embrace that this all comes back on me, this entire process. I also know that at 22, this is the time to jump head first into something new.

I’m really considering where I want to be at 32, 42, 52, 62 and so forth. I know I won’t be pleased if I continue on this current path, though I know I have things to learn because of it. Otherwise it wouldn’t be unfolding quite this way.

Professional Hangups

I had a meeting with my boss man today that was different than before. My performance has always been proficient and they’ve never really criticized or cited any areas of opportunity. Today was a definite change, however.

We sat down, my page full of notes. I had questions to ask him. Questions about how he maintained motivation, how he manages to excite himself for the things he’s required to do. Our meetings are incredibly high value, and today was no exception. He began telling me amazing things that were coming up, including a few different opportunities he feels I am ready for.

I was taken aback because I never have a sense of ego either about my performance, or my professional standing. More often than not, I appreciate being kind of independent. He encouraged me to begin unraveling a little more and stepping out of my comfort zone. He’s arranging meetings with key people that can help me get ahead.

To anyone reading this, it might sound like “awesome! Who wouldn’t want that?”, but I have my own hangups about this sort of thing. I haven’t always felt worthy of success, but I didn’t realize it. Historically I have blamed them (any perceived setback) and took no ownership over the creation of my situation. I couldn’t ask for what I needed.

In a flurry of unexpected anxiety, I spent my hour long lunch afterwards walking around outside. I sat and thought for a bit. I realized I have no evidence that supports me not pursuing whatever they think I’m suited for. I’m ready.