Wednesday, May 30, 2012

employee

Part 3 in a series.

I've been working for what seems like forever. I filed my first income tax return when I was 14. As kids, my brother and i had a gag gift shop and we collected aluminum from neighbors on garbage day (there was no recycling collection back then).

I've found that it's the least risky way to get someone to give me money, to show up somewhere and help out.

In most cases, things have worked out well for me. I've been laid off a few times, fired a time or two. (I still say that one company fired and rehired me multiple times, but they say I might have been misinterpreting my reasons for temporarily not needing to show up for work and also not receiving money. A couple of times people have begged me to help them and then turned around and begged me to take their money. I have been employed in as many as four part-time jobs simultaneously.

I've always put a lot of myself into my work. I think that's important. Someone's given me a vote of confidence and so I want them to feel satisfied with their decision. And that's paid off in spades, almost always leading to promotions, raises and positions of leadership quickly.

I've never understood people who treat things like "just a job" - I once made a fellow high school girl cry and ultimately quit her job at the pizza place we worked at because I was frustrated with her attitude and her lack of care or attention. Sure, it was pizza, but it was hard work, it was fun work, the owners were friends of mine, and if she wasn't going to be useful and do her part, that just meant more for the rest of us to do. I don't mean to brag - I think I've improved my soft skills since then, I do regret it and yes, it was extreme, but time and the printed word don't do a good job of conveying context.

But a job is something you take seriously. If you're going to invest so much of your waking hours doing something, you sure well better enjoy it. There will be up days and down days, BR the only way to make sure things are generally trending up is when you make the job your own. You cease to be a replaceable cog and you become an integral piece. That sense of ownership and satisfaction in your job helps you look past the down days.

In my life I've worked retail, data entry, fast food, computer programmer/coder/developer, email producer, online advertisement programmer and manager over teams ranging from 3 to 9. I was also paid in school for work at the television station, newspaper, yearbook, literary magazine, campus advertising agency, video tech., computer lab attendant and as their first-ever webmaster. I've worked for an office supply chain, several restaurants, a video chain, the online division of a major motion picture studio, an internet start-up, an insurance company, a large church, my college and a massive non-profit. (Everything but government work, I guess.) as an intern I helped edit video used in television commercials.

As fun as programming was, I enjoyed more the managing jobs before and after it more. I've enjoyed working with teams and working to accomplish something greater than I could have accomplished alone.

I am really excited when I'm doing new things, especially when it means dissecting an existing process and determining how to make it into something bigger, faster, better. An area I need more experience/practice in is taking bigger leaps. I think that some of that comes with experience and some with confidence. I've had a number of role models over the year, good and bad, I've tried to learn from them all. An area it's bed said that I need more work in is influencing. We started to work in that with some coaching but we got derailed when it got busy. I need to pick it up again, by now it's mostly continued learning and studying and practice.

My job, whatever it happens to be, becomes part of my identity. We all do that. But also, who I am gets put into my job. My hope is to continue working at the same place for the rest of my career, in whatever capacity they need me, but wherever I am, I will do well because it's in my nature to give it my all.

It doesn't hurt if they provide free coffee, either.
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