I've decided to start each post from now on with an inspirational/quirky/insightful quote. For no good reason other than I want to, so bug off. Here's the first quote, one that I've found will help me in my profession - even in this cubicle-infested environment - and almost anybody in any profession. It sounds cliche, but you'd be surprised how many people don't live by it or take its advice - on the other hand, maybe you wouldn't be surprised.
"Fortune sides with he who dares!"
Beginning my fourth week on the job, I can't help but be filled with a sense of accomplishment. Today definitely helped lift me to that pedestal, seeing that I was able to get more done today with one of my projects than I feel like I've been able to do for the past three weeks. Perhaps it's a misguided sense of accomplishment, seeing as though I still have three months to screw things up, but a sense of it nonetheless. Here's why:
1.) I was placed in charge of an Hispanic outreach program for one of our major clients, and today alone I solidified three contacts in Florida, Texas and California through which we will coordinate our efforts. After three weeks of zero feedback and zero contacts, this was a major breakthrough. I was ecstatic and treated myself to a Mountain Dew (not that I really need a reason to get my fix, but that's beside the point).
2.) My immediate supervisor is going out of town for a few days, leaving me in charge of another hefty project where we target those crazy Canucks up north. In three days I have to compile a mailer that we're sending to 30 fire stations in Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto; this includes writing a press release, a letter to each fire station, creating a redemption code and packaging everything. This sounds incredibly boring, but you wouldn't think so when you realize how much they're entrusting me with responsibility!
That's basically the big theme of the week - more responsibility. And I love it. It shows they trust me. I must be doing something right!
Here's the agency. A nice shot from the front (left) and the receptionist's desk when you walk in (below). You can't see it, but off the left of the first picture is downtown, Columbus and Nationwide Arena. It's a prime location - we're not smack dab in the center of downtown, but we're close enough to reap its benefits of bars, eateries and the oh-so-reliable Arena District.
But the main purpose of this post is to reveal some of the revelations I've had concerning life in the real world...or rather, life in an office setting. White collar workers the country over seem to abide by similar codes of conduct and standards to which they - we - hold one another. Allow me to elaborate...
1.) When you work late, people who leave on time always tell you to go home. Something along these lines, "You work too hard! Go home!" When really they're happy that someone so dedicated is working with them. They'll never tell you to work late, but they like to see you taking time outside of the 9-5 to get some more work done. Either that or they think you're a kiss-ass who wants to be noticed...take your pick.
2.) Someone waking up in Boston is going to work at the same time as someone in Detroit. Is that really fair? People in Detroit have more daylight left at the end of their day than do people in Boston, whereas people in Boston wake up to a brighter morning. Who wins, honestly? That was random...
3.) Proficiency over Efficiency: This is something I've realized crosses all boundaries of work. What's the point of efficiency if you put out a poor product? It's better to take a little bit more time with something and get less done than it is to get more done but do a sub-par job. Think of it like golf. You take your time lining up your shot, taking in all the angles and all the hazards, and then after what seems like hours of agonizingly painful waiting to the brightly clad group waiting behind, you take your shot. That's the difference between a bogey and a birdie. (I haven't golfed since I was 11 so I hope that was a decent analogy for everybody).
4.) It pays off taking the extra time to organize. I spent an hour today alone creating an excel spreadsheet that I now use to manage all my ongoing projects and tasks, as well as writing on sticky notes and memo pads labeling everything. I now know where everything is and can locate old, completed projects, ongoing projects or newly assigned tasks within the blink of an eye, literally. Before, it would take me a couple minutes to discover the note I wrote down a week before - all the while keeping a contact waiting on the phone who becomes impatient and less apt to want to help you the longer they wait.
5.) Waiting for other people sucks...I feel like the agency world is similar to the military in this respect. It's pretty fast paced, but in the end all I do is "hurry up and wait."
6.) When you have to call people to get something and they have no idea who you are, it's better to take no more than a minute to figure out your opening spiel. If you plot out every last word you plan on saying, you'll falter. Because the person on the other end of the line is bound to either interrupt you or ask a question you didn't anticipate. Then your flow is interrupted and you lose your train of thought. Thus, you fall flat on your face. I did when I was beginning that Hispanic outreach project. I felt like I was a drunk OU sorority girl wearing heels on Court Street - for those of you who've walked those brick roads, you know what's going on with that reference. So instead of taking too much time to plot out what I'm going to say, I just call. I rely on my instincts and my knowledge of my job and the product(s) to get me through the conversation. It's worked like a charm.
Those are my revelations. Not very deep revelations, but revelations nonetheless. Hopefully some of you can apply them to your jobs, or even daily living. And just to give you a little piece of my job to take with you wherever you go, here's me at my cubicle on an exhilarating Monday morning filled with research, phone calls and Mountain Dew.
Below is me after the effect of the Mountain Dew has effectively worn off. Yeah, that's more like me on a lazy Friday afternoon...no, not really. But seriously...
So all in all, the summer's going fantastically well. I've had no social life due to working Wed-Sat nights at the dirty bird, but that's OK with me (for now). Making some cash money, catching up on some much-needed reading - I've read eight books since graduation, no lie. And, more importantly, I have officially learned the value of silence!