I started the year with two attitude-resolutions relating to work: (1) don’t think about work outside of work and (2) don’t care about work when I’m at work! That may sound mad and a bit pointless but really the work I do is fairly on the pointless side ha 😉 and more I mean really not sweating the small stuff, or stressing over things that no-one else cares about. Work for me is not a serious career prospect at the moment, it’s just a straightforward day-job that I get paid reasonably well for and its largest role in my life is a social one – to get me out of the house and around a group of people who I have the chance to build lasting friendships with through proximity.
I realised a couple of things recently about work that have reinforced this social aspect of work for me. The first thing is that, because the company as a whole has really weak leadership, most of what goes on there comes down to people’s personalities, for better or worse. Most of the people there are pretty sound and in the atmosphere is good; on the flip-side, most problems that arise are due to people being over-bearing, needy, attention-seeking, or power-hungry with something to prove. The people who enjoy working there are those who can take it for what it is, look for the best and bring their best attitudes – time and time again we see colleagues leave out of stress otherwise.
Shortly before Christmas I had a good week doing several jobs that involved linking other people’s input in various ways, and I decided on a third resolution: do the work that involves the people, the good people, the people worth building partnerships with. Like I said, most of my work is fairly pointless, but I’m going to choose to get involved in the jobs that bring me together with the people I like, that’s basically the premise here. If nothing else, I can learn from them and the more working relationships you have, the more you’re learning about working relationships and that has to be good. This attitude seems to fit well in my current situation and helps motivate me to do more at work and get more involved.
A few examples of the kinds of non-work related friend activities at work from the last couple of weeks:
- lunches out, trips out for coffee, buying snacks for each other in the department
- a request from one of the girls to help write a text to a guy she’s just started seeing (those awkward early texts, eh?!) which ended up in a group of us standing around her desk in a group effort to compose the perfect nonchalant reply
- “the animal game” with the guy at the other end of the corridor (we can see each other’s desks down the length of the office) where we take it in turns to do an animal impression and the other has to guess what it is! (I think my boss must think I’m a bit mad!)
- A heck of a lot of just standing around chatting
- A joint mission to break into the department next door to avail ourselves of their trendy Nespresso machine 😉
A few examples of work-related activities that have evolved from my “get involved with people” attitude:
- much better, frequent and more-fun communication within our department; we are bonding over budget plans and I’m trying to be a calming influence on one member in particular who is over-laden with responsibility and gets wound up a lot
- more cross-departmental training on accounts procedures
- the other day my boss asked me to proof-read some translation – this is the first time in months and the only part of my job that seems even vaguely worthwhile to me!) and so I went through it and then took it back with changes and he asked me if I wanted the file so I could edit it, but I asked him if we could edit it together. So we got to hang out for a few minutes and he got to ask me about some grammar points and it was just cool. I get the feeling that sometimes he gives us jobs to do so he has the chance to interact with us (I guess he’s not the only boss to do that!) so I thought spending more actual face-time to him would be beneficial – and if he didn’t like it I guess he won’t ask me again!
It’s just a small point, and the bulk of my time at work still revolves around data-processing and my own studies; but taking this approach of working more with people has certainly improved things so far.