Pride

Apparently, there are a whole lot of people out there who subscribe to the theory that pride is a sin. I suppose too much pride could be a bad thing, but I still believe that it’s good to have at least some. Otherwise, what’s the motivation to do anything well?

I am speaking mostly in terms of pride in a job well done. Being proud of what you do. Recent surveys have suggested that as corporations get more and more “competitive,” salaries get smaller but intangible benefits become more critical. Employees like to feel like they’re doing something worthwhile, and will actually accept less money for a job about which they can feel good.

In this day and age, many of us have jobs that don’t challenge us. Many of us have coworkers that aren’t particularly bright. (I suppose many out there are the not-particularly-bright coworkers. I’ll try to use a few big words and throw them off.) Some of us are coming to the realization that there is no incentive to do a good job. If you excel, do you get paid more then the mouth-breather next to you? Nope. Do you get a promotion? Not likely… while you were busy actually doing work, someone else was busy sucking up to the boss and getting promoted over you. Now you’re working for someone who wouldn’t recognize actual work if it bit ’em on the ass. So instead of learning what you do and judging you based on that, you’ll be judged on how often you join them all at Applebee’s for mango daiquiris.

I write this at work. It’s almost 3:00 pm, and I have yet to invest a full hour in actual work today. I’ve surfed the web, I’ve balanced my checkbook, I’ve overeaten. And I’m not alone; half of my department is killing time the same way. When I do actually work, I often find myself stretching to make the most of it. I’ll dig into every little detail of a project, partially because that’s how I work, but also because I have nothing better to do. Yet, time and again, I discover errors that my coworkers have completely missed. Their excuse? “I was in a hurry, so I didn’t really have time to do it right.”

WTF?

In all fairness, we do a lot of rush jobs here. That’s the reason it takes me 50 hours a week to do the 10 hours of actual work. But in most cases, the extra 10 minutes needed to do the job right is available. It’s simply that most people don’t take enough pride in what they do to bother.

Once upon a time, I used to show off my work to friends and family; I was proud of it. Now, I make an effort to avoid specifics, lest anyone connect me to some of the half-ass crap we’re producing. I’d consider looking for a new job, but I’m hearing the same stories from more and more of my friends.

If there are any of you out there that still know what punctuation is, take a look around. How many improper apostrophes can you find? Someone got PAID to write those, someone else got paid to check them. Neither cared enough to do it right.

Take some pride people.

“If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well.” —Martin Luther King, Jr.

Zombies

So, this is not exactly breaking news. Studies have been done before, but Stanford U just did another on the effects of sleep deprivation. Long story short, going 24 hours without sleep is roughly the same as being legally drunk.

http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=2635961

This is an issue near and dear to my heart, as I’ve not consistently gotten a decent night’s sleep in years. Oh sure, I squeeze in an 8–9 hour night once in a while, but not regularly. I always joke that I’d be able to get everything done if I could just skip sleeping. Unfortunately, a normal week for me isn’t too far off from that. Which leads me to today’s topic:

Where does the time go?

I don’t mean this in a sappy, sentimental, seems-like-only-yesterday-we-were-finger-painting kind of way; but in a literal, confused, is-that-clock-right? kind of way. Almost daily, I’m surprised to discover that I’m late for work again. I get up earlier, I trim down my morning routine, I make a point of wrapping things up the night before, yet somehow, I’m sprinting out the door with my shirt half-buttoned. Part of the problem may be circular: I get less sleep, so I move more slowly, which puts me further behind, which gets me to bed later… you get the idea. I’m also doing a bad job of budgeting my time.

I try to plan realistically for projects. I always add in lots of padding for unexpected delays. But the one thing I can’t do is budget someone else’s time. Need to call Comcast for a problem with your bill? Should be a 5-minute phone call. Unfortunately, there was the 25-minute hold time to get through. On each of 4 phone calls. A 5-minute phone call just turned into a 2-hour event. When you don’t get home from work until 9:000, gues what? Your day is over.

If you want something done right, do it yourself. I believe in this old axiom with my whole heart, which is part of why I’m always so busy. But what about things you simply can’t do yourself? That’s where I really run into trouble. I can’t fix my cable bill without customer service. I can’t make my coworkers do their jobs. I can’t make the bank get that @#&% check processed.

All I can do is get up a few minutes earlier…