January Topic: Finding Value in My Work (Every Day)

11 Jan

If Christina from December 2010 met Christina from December 2011, she would be really frustrated.  As intense as my experience was last year, I somehow found myself completely out of touch with reality even four months into my new job.  Even though I enjoy what I’m doing, I often lost sight of the bigger picture.  I function best with a routine, but unfortunately the routine took over my life.  Everyday was somewhat stressful but also very repetitive.  I spent most days preparing for candidates’ interviews and then making sure the interviews ran smoothly.  Luckily, just as the repetition started to annoy to me, the interviews slowed down for the holidays.

Over the holidays I got to spend a lot of time with the new coordinator we hired onto our team.  I was impressed by her because she seemed to have a really great sense of self-awareness.  She asked me a lot of thought-provoking questions that actually woke me up from my routine-driven life.

As we paper-clipped 500+ interview packets together and reorganized the extremely cluttered storage room, we talked about finding value in our work.  She told me to think of these activities as “Gen Eds.”  The higher level stuff will come later and there’s nothing wrong with that.  It took a few seconds to sink it, but I think it is the best analogy I’ve heard in a while.  I mean let’s be honest, what was the real point in those 9 credits I needed to take in Science?  I learned a few cool things about Meteorology, Psychology, and Astronomy then I moved on to the higher level courses.

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I need to finish my "Gen Eds" before I can move on to higher level work.

I’d like to thank Maureen for my January topic because this is clearly something I need to work on each day!

January: Finding value in my work (every day)

I am still shocked by the results of my poll (Is Your Job Meaningful?).  Maybe I just underestimated how many optimists I know?  Congrats to all of the people who feel that they do something meaningful every day!  It’s so great to know that there are people out there who feel fulfilled by their jobs.

For those of you who feel that you some parts of your current job are not meaningful, I have a challenge for you!  (This challenge also applies to anyone who feels like they are stuck in a routine).

Pick one activity/task that you dislike about your job or your personal life and find value in it.

I’m sure that a lot of people hate grocery shopping, going to the gym, working with customers/clients, or learning how to use a new computer program on the job.  I can already think of a few activities that involve data entry and other repetitive actions.  How do you find value?

  1. Take a step back and think about the big picture
  2. What does the big picture mean to you?
  3. How will this dreaded task get you to where you want to be?

If replying to this post will create accountability for you, feel free to reply (anonymously if you’d like) with the activity you will find value in this month.  Good luck!

My challenge for myself is to pick five activities at work that seem pointless as I am completing them.   I’ll keep everyone updated on my status on this challenge.  The goal is to make this a habit so that I can unconsciously appreciate my role and the skills I am learning from it.

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4 Responses to “January Topic: Finding Value in My Work (Every Day)”

  1. Tina Wutzke January 11, 2012 at 9:35 pm #

    Christina, perhaps there is not better way to find value in all that you do than through the requirement of teaching your craft to someone else. It is in this that you come to realize the profound importance of the countless little actions throughout your work day that affect others. Having a student teacher has promoted tremendous self-reflection for me. It can be quite affirming as well as cause me to wonder why I do something the way I do it, Can or should I do it differently? How would that change the outcome?

    • Tina Wutzke January 11, 2012 at 9:37 pm #

      *Please disregard the word ‘not’ in the first line. It should be ‘no.’

  2. Emeka Alexander Amaeze January 11, 2012 at 9:43 pm #

    Hey Christina, Just read your blog and its inspirational and well written. Great job and I know you’ll only get even better with time 🙂

  3. Maureen January 12, 2012 at 7:44 am #

    Christina, what a wonderful honor to be included in this post…and so well written!!!! A great challenge for the week…love this blog! Your excited energy inspires me as well. In fact, my challenge for the week is to follow-up on a task I’ve been putting off out of complete laziness, because unfortunately, through that laziness, I’ve managed to forgot about how it is a vital connection to the big picture of the moment. Nice work, my friend…looking forward to next week!

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