Monday, November 14, 2011

Lessons Learned: an Attempt at Objectivity

I complained endlessly about my old boss and my old company, but now that I think about it, I learned a heckuva lot while being slow-roasted on the altar of office drama and managerial incompetence. Here's my top three list:

1. Remember details. Specifically, details about people. This is important because everyone has something they can help you with, from minor stuff like telling you where certain files are located, to absolutely crucial stuff, like revealing where to get knee-high boots that look good and are waterproof and won't break your bank. I remember people's names by visualizing the letters across their foreheads. Also, I inherited the Nosy Gene from my mom, so I listen aggressively to everyday chatter, and file information away for future conversations where I incidentally bring up something I need.

Example: "Hi [name], did you have a great time at [location]? I bet your [item] really worked out for you. By the way, I don't have a trash can in my cubicle for some reason. Can you help me out?"

Of course, your motives for remembering details shouldn't always be utterly selfish, else you are a big jerk.

2. Be professional. Your job is your job. You get paid to do it. In every situation in the workplace (except in the kitchen!), the question in the back of your mind should be, "How will I/we get the job done?" At BOOBS, some people ignored the big picture and took their work very personally, in a negative way, i.e. showing loyalty to the boss by backbiting coworkers, or by waging email wars to show that they were being super keen at their work. In my admittedly limited experience, a true professional's considerations of his/her most efficient contribution to the task at hand dictates his/her decision trees and actions.

3. Be careful. Double-check every email you send out. In one classic example, my old boss wrote an email listing his accomplishments in the company, and asked if a position was still open at one of our funders. Problem is, he sent it to one of our managers, who had the same first name as the funder's president. Whoops! Keep it classy, old boss.


Gosh, I was hoping to write something positive. It's like I'm going through a bad breakup, where I wrestle with my angels ("Living well is the best revenge.") and demons ("Blow the whistle on CEO's corrupt activities questionable actions!"). I'll stick to the former.