Peace and Harmony

To enjoy peace and harmony on the job and in your life setting boundaries is a must.

In my life I preserve my energy for the essential tasks outside of my job. On the job I think you should prioritize your functions too. Why spend 5 hours on a task that will result in minimal benefit for your supervisor or business? This might rightly require only a half hour or one hour tops.

Doing the right job is more vital than doing the job right.

In the 1990s there was this slogan: “GIGO.” It was shorthand for “Garbage in, garbage out.”

Finding the job where you feel like you’re making a difference is the key. If you can’t see how your work improves your customer’s lives or makes society better in some way: I say all hope is not lost.

In the next blog entry I’ll review a book I read two weeks ago: The Compass and the Radar by Paolo Gallo. He’s on to something when he talks in the guide about building a rewarding career while remaining true to yourself.

Whatever you do on your job it’s imperative to enjoy life outside of your job. That is the best way to live in peace and harmony.

In coming blog entries I’ll talk about the old-age myth of finding a work-life balance. It isn’t a myth. This can be done.

Wonky Work Email Situations

I wanted to talk about sending and receiving work emails. For people who want to get a job and haven’t worked before in an office.

One thing you’re going to come across is that people won’t respond to your emails. Most coworkers will respond. Others will repeatedly fail to respond when you send them a message.

How I operate with email: It is a permanent electronic record. My take is that I would send an email when I wanted to document something to have proof of what is going on.

Anything you say or do on a job that you don’t want to be a matter of public record should not be sent via email.

What can you do with people who don’t respond to your emails?

Sometimes it turns out that sending an email is not the most effective communication tool.

Getting up off your chair and walking to the coworker’s desk to talk might be the better option in this case.

One other situation is that obsessively checking your email can be a time-waster.

At one job I refrained from checking emails first thing in the morning. This was the policy. We were supposed to get right to the work for that day.

I would say that it could be good to check your email during your down time when you have a lull in energy.

Often you will use email to request information from a coworker who is working with you on a project. This is one use of work email.

In a coming blog entry I’m going to talk in more detail about working from home / WFH.

The Facts of [Working] Life

I wanted to write about the facts of [working] life. This is because you’re going to interact with multiple personalities in the workplace.

Your job is to do your job well. Not just to do your job.

As you buckle down with your shoes on the ground and your fingers flashing across the keyboard:

You’ll soon discover that a coworker or two are slacking off. Not doing the work required of them. Or doing the bare minimum.

Or that a coworker seems to have it in for you and is rude and hostile.

Too you might be called in to redo the work a coworker has screwed-up.

Your boss might think this person is a model employee. Ratting out your coworker isn’t the way to go.

Not all jobs are created equal. Even a union job can attract slackers who get by just punching the time clock and going home. With a union job an employee who shirks their responsibility won’t get fired.

Going to bat to your supervisor against this coworker might be a mistake. From firsthand experience I can tell you that rude and hostile coworkers–as well as staff members with garden-variety laziness–are often given red-carpet treatment.

What is the remedy?

Continue to focus on your own work and improving your performance. Be friendly. Lowering your voice is an old trick that allegedly gets the other person to lower their voice. Getting loud in response will only escalate the tension.

Remain calm and cool as best you can. Whether intentionally or not they want to get a rise out of you. When you fail to take the bait they’ll be upset. Soon they’ll realize it’s not work their while to upset you.

It’s double trouble when a rude coworker is also a lazy coworker.

I’ll end here with this maxim:

Do your level best to turn in next-level work at your job.

Be known as the person who gets things done.

I might add: do only your work. Refrain from getting roped into doing a coworker’s job or into fixing the mistakes that another coworker makes.

The person who screwed up often gets the promotion.

That’s a sad fact of [working] life too.

2018 Accenture Study

A 2018 Accenture study revealed:

Firms with the best practices in hiring individuals with disabilities saw:

28 percent higher revenue

Double the net income

30 percent higher profit margins

On average over a 4-year period.

Further:

It’s estimated that if the number of people with disabilities in the labor force grew only 1 percent the U.S. gross domestic product could expand by as much as $25 billion.

About 61 million Americans have some kind of disability.

My goal is to publish the print and e-book copies of Working Assets: A Career Guide for Peers in this coming summer.

One of the workers quoted in the news article that referenced the 2018 study:

“has long felt the limitations of other people’s expectations.”

James Geary lives with cerebral palsy. People discounted why he would be going to college since they thought no employer would hire him.

Today he’s working at his dream job courtesy of InReturn Strategies a recruiting firm that was founded to tackle “the disability employment gap.”

In the end that is what my goal is too:

To help people living with mental health challenges find purposeful work that gives us joy and dignity.

Being First and Not the Last

The November 2020 issue of Harper’s Bazaar has a feature article on The Paradox of Being First: “You’re creating space for people to dream.”

I wanted to touch on this topic before the year ends. In 1988 when it was unheard of to think this I believed that a person could recover from schizophrenia. In 1990 I had a full-time job and my own rental apartment at a time when this was not common.

In 2002 shortly after I began my library job I started my pro bono career as a Mental Health Advocate.

Precisely because I was told my early goals were not possible I wanted to help other peers coming through the door after me.

Not everyone has the wherewithal to pull themselves up solely by their own bootstraps.

In the early 2000s a so-called international expert was still claiming that no one could recover. When I Googled her name I couldn’t find her website. Nor had she published any articles in peer-reviewed journals.

In the early days of advocating for peers I got a lot of flak for claiming people could recover.

Only I believed in my vision that recovery was possible from whatever a person was in recovery from.

I believed that you could recover from a microaggression, a mental or physical illness, trauma or any kind of setback or obstacle.

I wasn’t going to go along on my merry way, acting like the world was my oyster and nobody else’s.

In Harper’s Bazaar Toni Morrison was quoted from a 2003 interview. She told her students:

“When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else. This is not just a grab-bag candy game.”

It’s 2020. The door is open. Come on through.

Executive Slack(s)

I wanted to write about a new popular form of workplace communication: Slack. It’s like Facebook for employees of a company.

I’m not a fan of Facebook at all. I’m a member of 2 Facebook groups devoted to fashion and image consulting. They’re the only ones I go on every week.

At your job you will be forced to sign up to your company’s Slack account. It’s either you do that or you’re kept out of the loop.

A person on a team or committee or working group that you’re a member of can create a Slack channel for this project without telling you about it.

Whether this is intentional or an accidental oversight you won’t know about it. Until you’re told this Slack channel exists and you should be on it. The person might not tell you at all that they’ve created this channel.

Not only that a lot of staff members send notices about meetings and other information only via Slack channels. Email has become to Slack what voicemail has become for texting–no one uses it to communicate anymore.

I would prefer to receive dates and times of meetings the old fashioned way–via email. Only it’s more convenient and reaches every team member at once when a person posts the meeting details to the project’s Slack channel.

Oh I know–you could create an email Distribution List and send the notice to everyone at once via the group email. That isn’t going to happen anymore either the way modern communication takes place at your job.

One thing is certain: you might be the only one sending comments to team members via your designated Slack channel. That is you might expect a reply to your Slack channel comment within a half hour.

When no one responds to you within a half hour you’ll need to keep checking your team’s Slack feed regularly to see exactly when and if someone has commented on what you said.

This leads me to want to write a blog entry here about the perils of online Zoom meetings. I’m going to write in detail about acing your video impression on Zoom. I’ll do this at the start of the New Year.

For now I’m giving you pointers about Slack because like other forms of social media Slack appears to be here to stay as a relationship-building tool.

How often should you check your Slack channel? As often as you check email? This can be a time-waster when it’s checked at inopportune times of the day.

Only the fact remains that there’s one more Feed to feed regularly to keep on top of your work projects.

I will be checking Slack at my job every 2 hours. Not any sooner and not spaced out longer than 2 hours.

You can keep Slack open on your internet browser and pop into the channel quickly.

Using Your Preferred Pronoun

There’s been a trend to use your preferred pronoun in email signatures like as:

Joe Jones (he/him)

Zadie Zorn (she/her)

Leslie Madison (they/them)

I might have written about this before in here. I’m going to cover it again for new followers.

I’ve read that when a cisgender person lists their preferred pronoun it helps Trans and other individuals feel safe to do the same.

Is it possible though that when you identify as they/them in an email and the person receiving it hasn’t met you in person they will attribute traits to you based on your perceived identity?

Only none of us should fear expressing our gender identity. Feel free to fire up they/them after your name in an email.

Having gender pride is a healthy form of self-expression.

I’ve decided that in 2021 I’m going to go the she/her route in my work email signature.

This is one of the few areas where the fact that “everybody’s doing it” makes sense for a person to follow along.

Of course the choice is yours. You have the right to list only your full name and job title in a work email.

It gets dicey further when composing the content of an email message.

I’ll talk about this in the coming blog entry.

Your Work Email Signature

I’ve decided to feature a blog entries carnival about sending and receiving emails at work.

You don’t want to be That Person. The one who thinks they’re being clever. Yet is only serving to antagonize their coworkers with a snarky message.

Case in point: using a pointed quote in your email signature like the following:

Kayla King, Senior Office Aide

Working smarter not hard

I ask you: is your email signature the best avenue for promoting yourself? I think not.

Last week I cracked open this fortune cookie:

Working efficiently is doing the job right. Working effectively is doing the right job.

Making an excuse for your behavior if you ask me will come across as trying to justify doing the bare minimum.

Your work ethic should speak for itself.

This email signature tactic might help someone else. I doubt you and I will benefit from attaching a gimmicky quote after our names.

In the coming blog entry: what you can and should list after your name.

Recovery Ink

I’ve lived in recovery for 33 years so far.

What I’ve learned:

You need to like yourself when you’re in your own company.

It doesn’t matter whether other people like or approve of you outside your home.

Only you need to be impressed with the person you are and will become.

I would like to believe that kind and compassionate individuals exist in the world.

The point is that you should take pride in yourself regardless of whether you have a fan club or don’t.

Being jealous of others will only keep you stuck. You’ll be unable to move on when you’re living in a mental garret you’ve enclosed yourself in.

The remedy for this self-stigma is to go the other way as hard as it can seem to do this.

I love reading empowering books and memoirs that successful people publish.

I want to soak up their habits and wisdom. To see what got them where they are today.

No–I’m not envious. I want to join them in their winner’s circle.

In the spirit of empowering blog readers I’m going to continue to write about topics that are in the vanguard that relate to my book Working Assets: A Career Guide for Peers.

While the COVID-19 outbreak has not ended this has shifted my focus to topics like WFH–working from home and interacting with others on Zoom video conferencing.

In the coming blog entry I will talk about working from home. This trend might remain in effect after the pandemic ends.

In future blog entries I will give interviews with women with mental health issues on the topics of having a job and having a family while living through the pandemic.