Category Archives: work

Happy Birthday!

Daughter’s birthday was last week, and she reports that it was the best birthday ever. She finished her last graduate school class and  she was given an award at her agency for her good work. Both our children become unusually disorganized around the times of their birthdays. Too much anticipation, I guess, although we never made their birthdays into productions. I was glad daughter kept it together and had a great day.

Today is William Shakespeare’s  purported birthday.  April 23rd is also the same day he died 52 years later. It is certainly not the way I should choose to spend my birthday.

What is your favorite Shakespeare play or scene. Which is your least favorite? What was your best birthday? What was your worst?

 

Saying “No”

I have a hard time saying “no, I can’t do that”.  I tell the intake people at my work that my schedule is too full to take on new clients, and then I get a phone call from our county social services that they have five children who need therapy, and I am the only one in the area who sees children as young as the ones they are referring, and guess what? I have five new appointments for next week. People at work just laugh at me when I tell them I am going to put my foot down and not take any new clients. I have no one to blame but myself.

Is it hard for you say “no”?  How do you manage to do it if you are able?  What is hard for you to communicate to others?  What is your favorite scene or song from Rogers and Hammerstein?

 

Seymour’s Desk

Anyone who looks at my desk at work or at home would be correct in thinking that I don’t like to file and organize my papers.   I only do so under duress, or when I want to make a good impression on a new client or house guest. I am proud to say that no matter how messy my desks look, I know where everything is.  I lose things when I tidy up. Husband tries to keep his things filed and organized, and invariably can’t find things when he looks for them.

The other day I  looked at the pile of papers on my home office desk and realized that it resembled the piles of papers I saw on the desk of one of my favorite graduate school professors.  Seymour was a prodigious pack rat, and threw piles of papers on his desk until he couldn’t see over them.  (He was an incredibly short man, so the pile didn’t have to be too high to obscure his vision.)  I was always amazed when I went to his office and asked for a paper I had written for one of his classes the previous semester, and how he knew exactly what layer the paper was at, and that he could retrieve it from the pile without knocking all the other papers over.

Seymour was a wonderful psychologist and a very funny man.  He spoke in a thick Bronx accent and a slight lisp.   Once he got flustered in court and referred to a Canadian judge of Queen’s Bench  as “Your Majesty” when giving expert testimony.   I believe he is still alive, in his late 80’s or 90’s.  I wonder how high the paper pile  on his is desk now?

What is your organizational style?  

I Can Spell That Word in 3 Letters

“A synonym is a word you use when you can’t spell the other one.”
Baltasar Gracian

Baltasar Gracian was a Spanish Jesuit, writer and philosopher who lived in the first half of the 1600s. There are many wonderful quotes by him but when I stumbled across this one yesterday, it made me laugh.

I type A LOT for my job – letters, agendas, rosters, briefing notes, website information – in addition to the day by day routine of emails to suppliers, clients and internal teams.   Over the years I’ve had  trouble typing various words correctly.  Some of these problems with words resolve themselves after a few years but a few of them have been with me for as long as I’ve been doing this:

Deposit
Worldwide
Rolls
Accommodations
Hors d’oeuvres

Unfortunately there aren’t good synonyms for some of my words, at least not that are accepted throughout my industry. Hors d’oeuvres is a good example.  I can’t use “canapes” because that actually means something specific .  “Appetizers” is more work to type and I can’t really go with “morsel”, “tidbit”, “finger food” as these would throw my hotels and supplier for a loop.

That means I have to have work-arounds. For “hors d’oeuvres” I have an auto-fill set up – when I type “hors” and a space, then the computer fills in the rest, spelled correctly every time.  Typing in “accom” will get me to “accommodations”.  I also have an auto-correct so that any time I type “rools”, the computer changes it to “rolls”.  “Deposit” and “Worldwide” I just have to struggle with as they are too similar to other words, so the shortcuts are just as long as slowing down and typing more carefully.

Any words defy spelling for you?

 

Home Office Woes

BBC.com is one of the news sites that I look at through the week and yesterday I saw an article about decentralizing the workforce and increasing the ability to work remotely. Clark Valberg, CEO of a software design company says “A decentralized workforce now allows employers to access “passionate talent anywhere in the world irrespective of any geographic boundary.”  This is not good news to me.

My company instituted a Work at Home policy three years ago; each associate is allowed to work from home one day a week. I think I am about the only one in the company who does not take advantage of this. I prefer going into the office, I don’t want to be dragging my work laptop home all the time and I didn’t think I would be good at it.

Mother Nature finally forced me to test my theory that I wouldn’t be good at working from home. We had two snow days in February this year and I just had too much on my plate to take the days off.  I had warning so I had brought my work laptop home and gotten a lesson from a co-worker on how to get onto the network.

I don’t know if it was a self-fulfilling prophecy but I really hated working at home. I got work done; I was efficient enough but every minute I was thinking of what else I could be doing.  I could bake some cornbread, I could work on my solstice project, I could throw in a load of laundry, I could pay bills.  I could brush the dogs, do my nails…. aarrgggh.  The fact that my life was surrounding me while I tapped away at the computer drove me crazy.  I knew if I left my desk, I might never return.

So luckily the weather is turning nicer and I probably don’t have to worry about having to work from home any more this year. And I certainly hope that my workplace doesn’t get decentralized before I’m ready to retire!

What distracts you from what you need to get done?

Funny Clothes

It was always interesting to people watch in Winnipeg in early Spring, since people dressed so oddly.   We would see folks strolling in downtown Winnipeg wearing winter parkas, toques,  and shorts. It wasn’t quite winter, nor yet spring,  so they dressed for any eventuality.

I had the same experience the other day at work. I rode the elevator to the first floor to pick up a client from the waiting room.  I saw one man wearing a parka and a knitted, gaily colored Scandinavian stocking hat with ties and ear flaps. Next to him was a fellow with a top hat festooned with a feather. Standing by the receptionist desk was someone wearing a yarmulke.  I guess it was the day for special hats. We seldom have  such a variety of head gear. Caps and cowboy hats are the norm.

My wardrobe consists mainly of corduroy pants and sweaters.  I don’t wear hats since I think I look weird in them. I think it has something to do with the shape of my head.  I don’t like to draw attention to myself with my clothes. I wish I was brave enough to  wear a top hat to work, or maybe one of those Dutch lace caps with wings. I suppose, though, that people would say I dress “funny”.

Were you ever a flamboyant dresser? What do you wear that draws attention?  Did your mother used to dress you funny?

Waitlisted for Llamas

I do some funny things for my job. I have a program in Vail this June and one of the activities is Wilderness Hiking with Llamas.  I’ve never offered a llama activity before, although I have offered camel safaris more than once.

Turns out the llama activity is very popular and we filled up our available spots quickly, forcing me to contact the supplier to see if we could offer the llama hike on a second day or get more llamas. She was able to confirm more llamas, which meant that I had to contact the two couples who had wanted to do the hike after it sold out.  Who knew?

When explaining this all to the client yesterday I used the phrase “waitlisted for llamas”. Sounds a little like a grunge band, doesn’t it?  Waitlisted for Llamas.

What’s the name of your favorite band (or fantasy band…)?