Several weeks ago I had a department meeting in which we were told we had to do a significant amount of work on our portfolios before a particular deadline in order to be able to attend a large training in June. When asked what the work entailed we were told they would tell us when it was ready to be done. When asked when the deadline was we were told, again, we’d find out when the work was ready to be done. But then it was emphasized that we would not be allowed to attend the large training in June if the mysterious work was not done by the mysterious deadline and that we’d be “done.” I almost started laughing because…really? I started to wonder if maybe I was on candid camera. This isn’t the first time we’ve had a meeting in which information was held over our heads as opposed to being given to us.
I went back to my desk that day and emailed my friends asking if they were “in” on the elaborate, several-month-long, candid camera-like series on which I was clearly unknowingly the star. They denied any knowledge.
This morning I arrived to work bright and early, nursing a sugar hangover that was far worse than any alcohol-induced hangover I’ve had in years, and I turned on my computer ready for the day. I was greeted by an email outlining the previously mentioned mysterious project. It entails moving records from one industry database to another. But each record has to messed with a little, and the info has to be altered a little, and when dealing with nearly 1,000 records, it started to dawn on me that this project would take…at a minimum…DAYS. I then got to the part of the email that explained that the previously mentioned mysterious deadline was THIS. THURSDAY. And now I really started to laugh.
I got comfortable and started to get each database ready. Moving columns here, deleting rows there, inserting, cutting, pasting, etc. There was a lot of futzy work that needed to be done before I could start moving records. After a couple hours of that I ran for fast food, brought it back to my desk, and kept working.
My colleagues were less cooperative. There may have been yelling, and stomping of feet, and some door slamming. I too shut my door but only because the yelling and whining was making it hard for me to hear my Hall & Oates radio on Pandora.
This was not how I had expected to spend my week. Had I been given a heads up I could have moved things around in my schedule or started to work on part the project ahead of time. This is why my colleagues were so upset.
But I have a secret…I am SO relieved to have a project on which to work that has a sense of urgency, a quickly approaching deadline, something that forces me to put the pedal to the medal. I have been longing for something like this for months. Now…to be clear…I am not a fan of data entry. After awhile it makes me certifiable. I am, however, a fan of large amounts of work needing to be done quickly and with precision. I thrive in a work environment where the sense of urgency is real and contagious and there is an energy to do one’s best work.
I was hunkered down in my office all day (I did eventually switch to The Cure radio and then later Ice Cube radio). When I left to pick the little girls up from the bus I was 75% done with the first of three phases of the project. Go team!
I got the little girls and realized quickly that I am exhausted tonight. Working hard all day? Barely leaving my office? Staring at Excel for hours on end? It wore me out. But I also felt accomplished. While I may only have been moving records around, I worked fast and furiously all day, and it’s been a long time since I’ve had the opportunity to do that. I enjoy that.
My husband and I often talk about our willingness to take things on. Whether it’s his being in school, the small business we own, the activities we have the little girls in, the house projects we decide need to be done, our volunteer activities, etc. We are so rarely sitting idle. And we like it that way. We thrive when we’re busy and moving forward at the speed of light. We get much more done when we’re busy than we do when we have no plans.
For the past year I’ve struggled to create my own sense of urgency in my work but I’ve fallen short. I manage a portfolio that I can only go through every couple weeks. I can’t call on the same people every day of every week until they give me what I want. Without being charged with stalking. Today as I moved record, after record, after record it occurred to me that I have three options. A for one, I can figure out how to really create my own sense of urgency at work. B for two, I can look for something new. Or c for three, I can win the lottery.
I choose C!
Interestingly enough, I don’t have ANY trouble creating a sense of urgency when it comes to my writing. Hmmm.
TODAY: What if it’s time to determine if I have the ability to create a sense of urgency in my current role? What if I start to write more than what’s “required” of me for this blog since I don’t have trouble motivating myself to write? What if there is a way to marry what I love to do (write), my love of working hard with a sense of urgency, and a career out there somewhere?