Category Archives: Working Wednesday

Working Wednesday: Communication & Mistakes

I have spent a great deal of time on this page talking about communication, mainly within the family or relationship unit. However, on today’s Working Wednesday, I want to talk a little bit about communicating with your coworkers and dealing with mistakes.

How good are you at communicating with your coworkers?

I am sure every single one of us is able to be civil and polite with our coworkers, which is, of course, an important step toward good communication. That being said, I am sure we all also get busy, forgetful, or just plain overwhelmed at times and things fall through the cracks. When this happens, we need to take a step back, remind ourselves that we are all just humans and thus fallible creatures (no matter how well-organized we may be, or how supported by technology we may be.) We will make mistakes, and it is important to help each other through these mistakes, rather than throw blame.

That being said, it is also important to review what you have done and make sure you are catching your own mistakes whenever possible.

I had an example of both of these in one project this week. Neither was a huge deal, because I had specifically requested extra review before the finished project (a newsletter) was released, but it is what inspired me to make this post. You see, the newsletter is the first of its kind to be produced by my committee, and for some reason I thought it would be fun to be the “production editor,” instead of writing for it.

Honestly, it was kind of fun, don’t let me lie to you. I’d like to even make one for my other committee, someday (maybe). But I digress – back to the two mistakes in this newsletter. The first, was that the newsletter had the wrong title. To which, you may ask, “How the %$&&$ did you do that?” The answer is miscommunication. The editor of the newsletter referred to it by the wrong name, and I thought that meant he had changed it. But, the review process caught it, and we were able to fix it before it was disseminated.

The second mistake was totally my faul; I was playing with the layout and overlaid a text box on top of some important information, which was then hidden. I had stared at the thing so long (and the line was so short) that I completely glossed over it. But, the review process also caught that one!

Rather than get mad at me for the mistakes, the reviewer just pointed them out, and I fixed them (though I did clarify the title one more time just to cover my own butt). And now there is a bright and shiny newsletter to send to everyone!

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Working Wednesday: 8 days left!

I don’t even know how it is possible, but I only have eight working days left of the semester.

Technically, my library will be open for three days on the following week as well, due to new rules from the administration, but my support staff will be working during that time. The main campus has staff at the desk, and if I am going to be forced to be open, we will, too.

A bonus is that because it is finals week next week, and my employee does not have a final in her Wednesday class, I won’t have to work late next Wednesday ! That means this is my last late night! Maybe ever!

Oh, who am I kidding? There will eventually be schedule conflicts again.

But for now, I’m finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel. Let’s hope it’s not a freight train conducted by the Roadrunner…

Working Wednesday: Day Off

Today I have the day off! One of the perks of working for the university is extra long holiday breaks; we have to give our residential students time to return to their homes for the break.

What am I doing with my day off, you might ask. On the agenda is some cleaning, some cooking, some couple’s time – and some work on a very important work project that I have been putting off for far to long, in favor of more pressing matters.

I want to write a book. And not just any book (I’ve had fiction self-published before, after all), but an academic book. So I have been working on a proposal for one for a publishing company I have been working with for many years now. And their deadline for the next publishing year is Friday.

I feel like someone was not thinking clearly when they set that date, but let us hope they did not just arbitrarily set Black Friday as the date. They, of course, probably weren’t thinking anyone would come as close to the deadline as I am going to come, but then again, not everyone accidentally mentions the secret project they’ve been working on to their boss, completely unprompted.

So, yeah, I have to try. And that means that on this day-off Working Wednesday, I’ll be working (albeit from the comfort of my own home.)

Working Wednesday: Hosting My Coworkers

So, this post is going up late because after my very hectic last two days, I then did exactly what the title says: I hosted a faculty meeting my campus for the whole department.

I always have mixed feelings about this, because I love my coworkers and it’s nice not having to drive to the main campus for a change.

But… it’s always in November, the weather is nasty, and we don’t have a ton of formal meeting space. Outside groups are given a priority for the space, because it fosters good will. So I reluctantly agreed to have the meeting in a classroom this time around.

Another problem, specific to this semester, is that I work late on Wednesday nights, so hosting my coworkers first for lunch and then later for the meeting, lengthens my day.

But still, I enjoyed talking to everyone, and I really needed to reconnect with them after how I have felt about certain events transpiring here.

Working Wednesday: Drought vs. Deluge

Being a librarian is not a very stressful job (usually.) I have talked before about how I generally have the ability to control how much goes on my plate at any one time. However, this semester, because I don’t have my second employee ( a student worker; we have a hard time recruiting student workers at this campus because our students usually either already have jobs or are specifically looking for something in their field) I have been working at the reference desk for 5+ hours a day. And reference desk work can be… unpredictable, to say the least. It seems to be either a drought or a deluge.

And because of this, I’m having a hard time getting things done. I mean, I am able to work on my major responsibilities without a problem (we’re never going to have that much of a deluge at this campus) but by the time I get to my office in the evening, I’m burnt out. That means I haven’t really had the wherewithal to work on many special projects. I’m afraid my publication record is going to suffer because of it.

Then, there’s the stress of the holidays, and just normal life. The weather is turning colder and my HVAC is on the fritz. It’s still a safe temperature in my house, but it’s not comfortable! They have been out twice to fix it so far and diagnosed something different both times (and the price tag increased, too, wouldn’t ya know it?) But hopefully when they come today and fix it, it will actually be fixed – and run a little more efficiently, to boot! (Maybe offset the cost a little? I can dream, can’t I?)

Right now though, I gotta figure out a way to achieve some balance in my life. I think the first step is going to have to be to conscript a student worker….

Working Wednesday: It Gets Better

.. And then worse again, and then better for a while, and then… Well, that’s life, isn’t it?

I have had what feels like a rollercoaster of a semester. If it’s not new policies and other announcements from the administration, it’s frustrations over my employee and her suddenly inflexible schedule. I’ve tried my best to come up with a couple of projects that are completely independent of the university and all the inherent issues (aka, no need for travel or time off, like article proposals), but mainly I’m at their mercy.

I am here to say, though (and to remind myself) that it does get better. Every job has growing pains and there’s no reason to think otherwise. There will be new bosses and new employees, budget crunches and budget surpluses (oh, one can dream, can’t they?) and you just need to try to ride the wave. For the most part, these things will happen with you or without you, and the every day functions of your job won’t change much. (A friend of mine calls it white noise.) Take a deep breath, practice self-care, and let it all happen.

That being said, I don’t want you to think that means that you have to stay there if you feel like you’re undervalued or underpaid. It can be scary to try to venture into something new even when you don’t have a family relying on you, but remember: if you do things politely and professionally, there will not be any hard feelings if you decide to move on from your job. At least here in the U.S., it is almost expected that at some point you will work for someone else; that’s why we have things called “entry-level” jobs. I have gotten a lot of strange looks from people when I tell them I plan to stay working at this university until I retire, especially because I don’t have family in the area.

At any rate, looking at job listings isn’t going to hurt anyone, and it might even help – you can get a feel for what it means to stay current in your field and brush up on those skills even if you aren’t planning to leave.

Working Wednesday: I Find Your Lack of Motivation Disturbing

Sorry for the bastardization of the Star Wars quotes, but I felt like it was appropriate.

I thought I had rebounded from my lack of motivation when it comes to work after preparing for a presentation at a conference. It was not too much work to prepare it ( since it was just a rehash of a topic that I have presented on probably a dozen times-  I really need to move on from that topic!) and I felt pretty good with the idea that I was going to get away from campus, meet new people, and get to talk about my work. Even scheduling snafus at my library could not keep me from being excited. This was going to be the turning point in my semester!

And then came a wrong turn, my GPS not knowing where I was (apparently its last update was before a particular interstate got extended), another wrong turn because I wasn’t sure where the interstate would spit me out, unexpectedly driving through the town where my daughter was born (a traumatizing experience I still haven’t brought myself to talk about on here), and 21 miles of construction traffic. Plus, I had to circle the block three times to find the parking for the place, but by that point, it hardly registered as a problem on my radar. I was two hours late for the conference, but mercifully still early for my presentation. And I didn’t miss lunch!

Then, I had to drive home. No wrong turns (okay, well, technically there was that one, but I managed to fix it fast) but there was still the construction to deal with, which led me to be stuck in traffic for half an hour, maybe longer. All I know is I ate a donut while I was in the car and I never eat when I’m driving.

So, this week I’m still looking for that spark to ignite my motivation again. And until then, I am muddling through. I have found that making a list of stuff that needs to be done helps (at least a little.)