Making Work Interesting

It has been dull and uninspiring for me at work for a while, and when that happens, I know I can liven things up and get my creative juices going by getting something new in my play therapy room.

The toys in the room get used hard, and after several years, they need to be replaced. I took a candid look at what I had, and decided that the old jail needed to be replaced. I have had it for about 15 years. Jails are important in the play therapy room to help children express anger, feel safer, or gain a sense of control.  Some of my young clients have parents who have been in jail or prison. The new jail arrived today, and it took me 2 hours to get it assembled. It is wonderful! It has surveillance cameras, lots of communication antennas and gates that swing open.  It also comes with little hand cuffs and weapons, The guards, a man and a woman, have nice little smiles, and the prisoner has removable prison garb so he can return to society when his term is finished.

This jail has a command center for the guards.

The cells are furnished with a table, a toilet and sink, and a cot.

There even is a cut out that can be removed to make it look like they made an escape.

I can’t imagine purchasing this for one of my own children, but it suits my professional purposes very well. I can hardly wait to see it used.


How do you (or did you) make your work more interesting?

35 thoughts on “Making Work Interesting”

  1. Oh my goodness, Renee, that is so cool. That looks like an awesome toy for your little clients — sad as that is. Unfortunately, it’s really hard to make clerical work more interesting. I might scan the more complex financial paperwork for the reasons why a particular investment is suitable for the client. Have fun with silly names. Eat a snack. Get up walk around. Eat again. Check Trail Baboon. Look at emails. Another snack. Stare out the window at the beautiful weather I’m missing. Etc, etc. Have fun with your new toy!

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Nothing too silly — we do have to be professional here. Just wonder out loud why anyone would name their kid such a name. Or a last name I would definitely change. Yesterday some paperwork came in for a woman who’s last name was Beaver. Oi …

        I always think about the late actor, Rip Torn, when it comes to interesting names. One of our larger financial advisor companies has principals with the last name Cashdollar — kid you not. A financial advisor in small town next to me has last name of Thickpenny. I love those types of names when I see them.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Garrison had a guest musician named Cindy Cashdollar when he was in Duluth one year…

          I love funny last names — especially if they are combined with funny first names, too. Schitt is always a good one….


  2. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    Wow, Renee, that is an elaborate toy. In one of my jobs I used to provide Mental Status Exams for prisoners, requiring me to mosey over to the real thing and get locked in with the real prisoner. That was interesting but intimidating, as well.

    A walk around the premises usually breaks the boredom now.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. my work does not lack intrigue and excitement at every corner
    new things waiting for me to discover and plug in to my newly invented job
    i am assembling 3 new teams to do my visionary dirty work and bring my new partner to marketplace
    it’s interesting projecting how it will go and the new partners i choose make it happen add a lot of control to my direction
    only 6 months into the process so we’ll see how it goes. i’m encouraged

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Renee: I wonder if you would have a jail in your tool kit if you worked in Minnesota or some other state in the Great Lakes region. I used to spend time with friends in Turner, Montana. Turner is tiny. “You could throw a dead cat over it.” I giggled out loud when my host told me his mom, who lived in Turner, had the town jail on her property. I later saw that jail and figured it might hold as many as two people.

    In the Midwest tiny towns don’t have jails. I can’t even remember seeing a police building in the tiny towns in Wisconsin where we used to spend so much time. The tiny town by our cabin (which was several times the size of Turner) didn’t have a jail. There was probably one small jail in the county seat.

    It seems to me the West and the Midwest have different cultures regarding jails. I guess there is a practice in the West of locking up drunks who are hoorawing the town. You need a jail, though, in your work. Maybe that is necessary because of the ways jails impact the lives of the children you work with.


  5. We have a multi county jail in our town that serves our southwest region. The small towns here don’t have jails, but I think they used to decades ago.


  6. I am certainly not saving the world by making data about TVs, appliances, and widgets available in a computer-readable format…at best I am only making it safer for other computers. So instead I occasionally invoke the liberal arts and humanities in my 1s and 0s driven work. Monday I used an unanswered question about a project as an excuse to slaughter Shakespeare (To Ignite, or not to Ignite, that is the question…whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous technology…) This after invoking Rene Magritte and his “not a pipe” based on an error code that said that “parameter ‘directory’ is not a directory.” Last week was Medieval church history. Not sure what today might bring. Maybe world languages?

    Liked by 4 people

  7. My new jail is at its best right now. In a few weeks, it will be missing some of the antennas, and the handcuffs and small guns will have been vacuumed by the caretaker or will be lost in the sand tray, and it will be reduced to its basic “jailness”, which is all I really need for my purposes. The children reduce it to all that it needs to be, without the frills.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pretended the place was mine and imagine what I’d put on the shelves (when I worked in bookstores). Or imagine how I’d stock the ridiculously un-equipped kindergarten room, and then equip it (well partially), but I’ve told about that already.

    Now I just say yes to more things that come our way, load up the schedule. Then sometimes I’m sorry; we’ll see if there’s too much on the calendar this fall…


  9. Sometimes I will play a CD and have a goal to attain before it’s over. Long ago. I would write my girlfriend’s name in the carpet glue. But for the most part, I enjoy what I do hence not a lot of reasons to make work more interesting.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I can see where the name in glue could be interpreted in both good and bad ways.
      I’ve written my name on the back of the masonite we put down on the stage floor.
      In 10 or 15 or 23 years when it’s replaced, maybe someone will see it.

      Liked by 3 people

  10. I think the more bored I am, the louder I must play the music.
    It’s important to try and amuse myself while working. If working with students I’ll try to make jokes; sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they get them and often they don’t.
    And I’ll switch jobs frequently if I can. That’s why it’s hard to finish things sometimes because it’s more fun when fresh and new as opposed something I’ve done before.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. AT a time when I had little or nothing to do in my job besides answering the phone, I started doing genealogy research…first on my French born Dutch dog, then on my German breed (Trakehner) horses…then, oh, why not do my own? So I did. The research I learned then served me well when the company finally decided to give me a task that required research…finally. Then the job became interesting and I didn’t need to distract myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I guess I’m lucky; I don’t think I’ve ever had a boring job. There were always challenges. Sometimes the challenge was the difficulty or complexity of certain tasks, other times the challenge was to get an unpleasant task completed as painlessly as possible. But honestly, I don’t recall ever being bored or not having a new challenge to tackle.


  13. Today I was sitting in an office scoring tests on a computer, while streaming MPR Classical, with the doir open. A sheriff’s deputy, waiting for a prisoner who was here for an evaluation to emerge from the restroom, asked me if that was Beethoven. It was.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like to listen to MPR’s Musical Puzzler. Today, for the first time, I was able to recognize the melody (The Girl from Ipanima) and identify the composer in whose style it was played (Ravel). A small victory, yeah!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I, too, enjoy Piano Puzzler. Today I recognized “The Girl From Ipanema” right away but Ravel had me stumped. I’m about 75% in identifying the melody – more like 50% in identifying the composer whose stye is being imitated.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Evening all. Like Wes, I like my job. The one area that I mess with are my binders. Each program gets a binder of its own and most everybody just types black print on white paper. I like color better so I find images from the locations, add the client logos and dates and then have them printed out on the color printer! I also re-use my colored binder tabs over and over again instead of the boring pre-printed ones!

    Liked by 1 person

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