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Showing posts with the label Work

218. Tattle Tales

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One thing I wasn't prepared for when I became a manager was the snitching. A few of the people I supervise love throwing other people under the bus. I have my own data, I can see what's up. It feels so weird to me that they feel the need to tell me who they think sucks, who speaks ill of me or who is on their underwear all day while working form home. That's information I couldn't care less about. I can tell some of them are frustrated because I don't bite, don't ask for more "tasty goss." In this era of worker empowerment we should just be focused on our own journey, why should an employee have to also burden themselves with what others are doing? The way I see it, I'm freeing them from that preoccupation.

188. Long Con

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When I lived in Venezuela, we used to say that United States citizens “Lived to Work instead of Working to Live.” After almost 20 years here in the USA, that stereotype rings true; specially for boomers. Labor is Jesus for so many of the people in this country. It seems that no matter if your job is actually saving people in the emergency room  or selling subscriptions for the National Enquirer, people in the United States give their all to their job. They spend their earnings on pools they don’t have time to swim in and call it good with a one week curated vacation a year. It’s always resorts and cruises with these folks, a formulaic approach to life. Hard work plus cruise = live, laugh, love. For the last few months I’ve been running a COVID vaccine clinic. 11 hours a day 5 days a week, with the occasional weekend. This is the main reason why I haven’t been able to draw and write. It’s the most I’ve ever worked in my life for such as sustained time. It’s easy, though, when you believ

156. Not Ideal

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There are no bad ideas, indeed. How often have we seen this, my cubicle warriors of today? In many of my attempts at facilitating a brainstorming session, I have seen leaders do a version of this. Why is it so hard to just let the ideas flow and pass no judgement? I've failed at it numerous times. I believe our ego is partly to blame, as is the desire to go for what is known and tried. To me the whole point of a brainstorming session is to allow employees to leap out of the boundaries set from the first day that they entered an organization. It's also a great opportunity for leaders to coach and guide their employees as they try and navigate the intricate ways to get things done. Often, it just becomes another way to exert our ideas downstream. I've been doing process improvement for over 15 years and still, the most enduring and easily implemented ideas have come with a combination of employee problem solving and leader guidance. Extra panel: Or we can just k

152. Faking It

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I am not a fan of  “Fake it till you make it.” It implies a lot of things that are against my credo. It is inauthentic, it creates an unsafe environment and it hides gaps in knowledge. By this point in my blog post, I know I come off as a total party pooper so I am going to do what I do best: double down. It is inauthentic to act like you know something you don’t. I am certain that being a faker mcfakerson will wear down your soul. The true way to learn how to do something is to fail, and fail a lot. And to ask lots of questions. I have a feeling that focusing on “Fake it till you make it” ends with  people getting the imposter syndrome. Think about it, con-men and employees use the same phrase. Do you really want to have the same philosophy as Bernie Madoff? If you are prompted to “Fake it till you make it” in your workplace, your workplace may have an unsafe environment. A safe environment is one in which you can admit you know nothing and get the help you need to gain skills

149. Victim Blaming

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It’s very easy to blame an employee for not knowing what to do. If you think about it though, isn’t it kind of the leader’s job to make sure that employees know what to do?  Clarity is one of the best gifts a manager can give to an employee, absolute certainty about what “good” looks like. For some reason, it’s rare to find a leader who has internalized this.   More often than not, I see leaders that fail to see their role in the confusion of an employee. Saying things like “They should know better” or “It’s common sense” does nothing to grow and develop employees. Many times, leaders create a culture in which people are afraid to speak up. I’ve seen this, and it’s not pretty.   When there is a “Policy”, it is frequently  an overlong document that hides in file folders. If a manager is lucky, employees read it once when they get hired. Often, it is written by what looks like english lit majors. You don’t need a plethora of multisyllabic words (like plethora) to sh

142. Topsy-turvy

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Uncertainty is a way of life for me. At work, I don’t assume I know the right way to proceed. Because I don’t. All I know is what  has worked in the past, under different circumstances, with different people. That’s not enough for me to be like, “yeah, this is what needs to be done.”  And yet, many leaders I have met exude certainty. And for some of them, it works. They sell me on their vision and their tactics and I gladly serve that higher purpose. The true test for me is when they screw up, which will happen to everyone. This will be the mark of a true leader. Will they respond to data and change course? Or will they produce a Friends spinoff feauturing Joey? That’s why I can’t stand President Trump. He is not one to show uncertainty. He has never admitted to being wrong. He never changes course. I have no faith in his ability to learn and adapt. From the very beginning, I would not follow this guy to an open bourbon bar.  Sometimes I envy the simplicity of knowing

126. The Return of the Suit

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Yes, dear readers. I found a new job. I am an extremely lucky individual. I am lucky to have found a job doing pretty much what I was doing before (whatever that was), locally, and with a great group of people. Even during the occasional depression, anxiety and existential malaise I've experienced in my life, I've always known how lucky I am. I have a one in a million mom, a one in a million wife, a one in a million cat (Khaleesi), and one in a million friends. I also have to contractually acknowledge that I have another cat (Eris) and an immediate sibling. When this unemployment journey started, man, I had a plan. I spent a portion of the day learning, a portion of the day exercising, a portion of the day applying for jobs and interviewing. That lasted maybe a week. As certainty about my new job increased, I began to regress to a twenty year old version of myself. By now, I'm close to buying cases of Lebatt Blue and sending drunk ICQ messages. (Ask your grandpa if y

125. Conventional Titles

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Recently, I was hanging out  in the job market . It's a market I hadn't visited in 16 years. It looks and feels like a lot has changed! One of the most interesting things is that people seem to be able to make up their own job titles with no repercussions: you can be a sensei, master, guru (basically anything Bruce Lee would have been called)  expert, commander, chief and many more! I don't know exactly the amount of self esteem one needs to unironically and seriously call themselves something as superlative as a "thought leader", I only know it's at least twice as much as I currently have. I actually don't have a problem with being called any of that, it's just that calling yourself those things seems a bit presumptuous. I've been called a guru before, but I would never, ever, call me that. In my profession, one of the biggest tenets is to "lead with humility". You quickly become an oxymoron if you title yourself a guru. Ther

117. The Layoff Episode

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Last week, my department got laid off, along with dozens of others around my organization. In my  job as an internal consultant, I made use of my talents to help the people I cared the most about: the employees (from front line to leaders). It was in the direct help to employees that I derived the most work satisfaction. I will definitely be mourning the loss of the opportunity to help my co-workers for a long time to come. I am unsure what I will pursue. At this moment, many roads seem viable that I hadn't seen before. I am both strengthened and overwhelmed at the choices. I really want to be in a position in which I can continue to help workers achieve better outcomes for their customers and themselves. Extra Panel: The Psychology of it All It had been telegraphed to us that we would lose our jobs, so I had time to build up to it emotionally. Or so I thought! The mixture of shame, disappointment and anger that comes after a moment like this is not possible to prep