Thursday, November 29, 2007

Work Work Work

I'll have to be careful what I write here; a couple of my coworkers at least potentially read this blog.

But anyway, I've been getting behind at work for months. And what is bad about me and getting behind is (a) I am really good at getting behind under the best of circumstances, and (b) once I get behind, my natural response is to sort of hide under my desk and try to avoid thinking about all the stuff I haven't finished.

In my job, I get a lot of different tasks from different people. Some of them - the technical ones - I basically enjoy, and others - the administrative ones - I loathe and detest. I should point out that I'm not at all resentful of having tasks I loathe. They pay me a lot of money to do these things. Nevertheless, it's hard for me to get them done. And besides that difficulty, there is the fact that my job often turns into a stack, where anything I am doing is interrupted by the next new thing that needs to be done, and I can never burrow back down to the bottom.

I'd say 10% of this difficulty is the structure of my job, and 90% is me.

The week before Thanksgiving, I had a talk with my boss about how much I need to get caught up and some other things. My boss's boss had talked to her about me (among other things) and she felt I was in danger based on his attitudes. (I was not surprised to learn this, but again, head-in-the-sand thing.)

Since then, I have really caught up a lot. The week of Thanksgiving, I started with 17 items on my to-do list, and since then I have finished 13 of them and only 3 new ones have been added. (Some of the remaining ones are huge projects, but I am waiting on information from other people to be able to finish them.)

Part of what I've accomplished is updating a lot of information in my own databases, etc., that's been out of date for a while. I needed to take care of those things in order to finish some of the tasks, and when a task requires a bunch of back work to be done, I get intimidated easily.

This morning I spent an hour reorganizing some files for a due diligence guy who is coming in today. (I don't generally do filing, but we changed the organization of a few items and it was too complicated to hand over to our filing person.) Filing is something I detest in large quantities, but in small quantities, it's like solving a puzzle, plus it results in something very neat. I enjoy that.

Anyway, the upshot of all this is that I'm enjoying my job a lot more, having a lot less stress about it, and being a much better employee. Kudos to my boss for helping me get to this point.

1 comment:

Sally said...

Well, Tam, what you really need to do is... Kidding. What would I say - you really need to be different?

Anyway, giving you that kind of guidance is your manager's job, and while I'm glad you feel that she has helped you get your act together this time, it also kind of sucks that she waited for her boss to get involved before talking to you. Did she herself not realize how dire the situation was before that? Everybody's got their own management style, but I can't help but think that you could benefit from being held accountable on a more regular basis than when a higher-up is unhappy enough to put your job at risk.

Of course, she has her own job to do too and providing excellent management of one's reports is frequently the first thing to slide when work gets busy.