A Pause for Reflection

May 17, 2007

Sometimes reflection can really help out in the workplace. A simple pause can help us learn from our previous experiences, both from our mistakes and reminding ourselves of our strengths. Andrew from Jobacle asked me a couple of “superlatives” to reflect on my career…so here goes:

Worst Boss
When I was in consulting there was a Senior Manager that would continuously yell out orders. It felt like we were on a football team during onditioning week. The sad thing is that everyone was working 12 hour days 7 days a week, and that made us feel less appreciated than ever. Not surprising that there was a large turnover rate.

Lesson: When the situation is bad, barking orders does not help.

Best Boss
The best boss I had was someone who didn’t sit next to me, but was always available. He gave me direction, and allowed me to make my mistakes. When there was a problem I could not solve, he did not yell at me but instead would roll up his sleeves and try to solve it also.

Lesson: Allow people to make mistakes, and when there’s a problem don’t play the blame game.

Most Innovative Colleague
I have to admit that this superlative I cannot answer, not because I don’t know innovate co-workers, but because when I started working in the Creative field there are TOO many to choose from. I would have to choose my entire design team from my previous job. They challenged me to look at things differently, always seeking out forms of inspiration, while also having fun.

Lesson: Try to find sources of inspiration when you are stuck, to help your brain think differently.

Most Rewarding Task
“Reward” and “task” do not seem to go well together. I’ll have to admit I was really proud of the time when I was interning, yes a wee little thing. It was an internship with the Embassy in Ireland, and they let me redo their web page for the Political Economic Office even though I did not know HTML. I learned quickly! Perhaps it was because I was doing public service for my country that made me feel good, but I also know I was pretty proud of learning HTML quickly. (hey, back then HTML was hard!!!) Suffice to say, good thing they took out that animated piggybank gif and implemented a CMS.

Lesson: Usually it’s most rewarding to do something for someone else.

Best Item You “Permanently Borrowed”

I’ll have to say it was a mouse. I had a laptop that I’ve been carrying back and forth, so I’d keep an extra mouse in my bag, and well it just happened. Now that it’s happened I feel guilty, so if you guys want it back, let me know!

Lesson: Your conscience outlasts your job.

Lowest Pay
Hmmm, I can say the lowest relative pay was when I was paid 40% less than someone who had less experience than me. He had just graduated from undergrad and I had just received my Masters AND I had previous consulting experience. When I brought up the discrepancy, they cited that his major was worth more than mine (he was math and CS, I was Masters in Information Management & Sys from the same university), and that if I waited long enough, the pay would even out. Suffice ut to say I didn’t stay long. And yes, this was the job that had us working 12 hour days 7 days a week.

Paying fairly can go a long way to retaining talent.

Worst Holiday Gift or Bonus
We had a white elephant gift exchange and I ended up with a used cell phone and used flash drive. The flash drive came in handy, but I think I just gave the cell phone to my nephew…luck of the draw.

Lesson: Only you can make the best of the situation you’re handed.

I encourage you to pause and reflect on your past career to help you in your current workplace situation. If you have a blog and would like to speak about your experience, leave a comment here or in Andrew’s post so we can learn from each other’s experience! =)



4 Responses to “A Pause for Reflection”

  1. Stephen Says:

    Great post! I like how you added the “Lessons Learned”.

  2. Andrew G.R. Says:

    “Your conscience outlasts your job.” Man, that’s soooo true. I say you put it on a t-shirt and sell it! Great post and super answers!

  3. worksona Says:

    Stephen & Andrew,

    Thanks for leaving the comments =). It’s really nice to take some time out to think about these things.

  4. krystyna Says:

    Really helpful reflection!

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