keryx: (factories!)
At a webcomics convention a couple of weeks ago, the guy who makes Scary Go Round said some things about work and working that were OMG Exactly the Things I Think. It turns out he is also pretty much my age, though significantly more British. This made me curious: are there lessons we learn about life and work at certain ages, no matter what?

So, a poll! Not a Livejournal-poll per se since most of you will likely read this on Facebook.

How old are you?

What is most important to you at, about, or around, work for pay?

What's the biggest lesson you've learned this year?
keryx: (Default)
I wrote this very long article about job seeking based on my recent experience. People asked if I had advice, so this is advice layered over the story I had to tell.

I share it with you in case you or anyone you know might benefit from it: looking for a job from the heart.

Your mileage may vary, of course.
keryx: (factories!)
There's a bit in this chapter of Save the World & Still be Home for Dinner [Click on the pdf download link to read the full chapter - the teaser's not what I want to talk about.] that should be required reading for everyone I've ever worked with.

The answer to our stress is supposed to be something called work-life balance. This is achieved, we are told, through time management. But it’s an illusion. We try to balance work, family, and play on a preset schedule. The problem is, nothing important ever happens on schedule. Great opportunities and painful crises usually show up inconveniently.

Indeed. And particularly fun to see this coming from a dude who used to train for Covey (the "7 Habits of Disempowered Highly Effective People" dude), whose life's work was all about managing time and tasks more "efficiently". If you can't tell from the snark, I dislike the proscriptive diet Whole New Way of Living approach. I prefer to think of value and values, which are unique to each person - and that's what Marre is now doing. Obviously he's right, now that he agrees with me!

I know a fair number of people for whom every task seems equally important as the next, and are caught up in an intense feeling of busy-ness that leaves them with a looming sense of something undone all the time. This, I think, is that "illusion of urgency". Marre goes on to attribute this sense of everything as urgent, every project or activity having the same priority, as a result of the constant connection many of us have to information and work. I'm not sure that's entirely true - that connection is just a thing; our relationship to it is what throws us off balance.

There's an old-school management psych term: "locus of control" that I think is in play here. Feeling caught up in this Grid thing seems to me like a form of externality. I like my ability to plug into various types of work when the urge strikes, and not on a particularly fixed schedule [This is sometimes at odds with the sort of work I do for pay, since it needs people to interact directly & therefore to agree on when and how to do so.], but then, my locus of control is so internal it's annoying.

I'm still affected by the MUST DO EVERYTHING NOW OMG HOW DO WE MANAGE OUR TIME sense of urgency that pervades work & communication, though - and that's where value comes in. Rather than responding to the OMG of the moment, I try to think in terms of what I value, or if that's irrelevant, what is of greatest value to whomever (the latter is a newer addition to my thinking, thanks to a few years of Agile and exposure to Lean).
keryx: (factories!)
I do not have to identify with my role so inflexibly that I cannot step out of the director shoes and allow another person to step into them and look at the play from the director's point of view. In fact, this stepping away on my part while, say, the sound designer steps in, can be very useful for our shared process. (Anne Bogart's blog)

That? Is real collaboration. It's also something people have an extremely hard time doing. Someone stepping into your shoes or your window or your territory feels like an indictment of your expertise, an assumption of failure on your part; we've studied ownership and accountability for so long.

This is, I think, what collective ownership is really about: we own the product together, and everyone is able to look at the product, build the thing, from many angles. I like the notion of collectiveness as empathy -empathy with the product, with the space and the people around us.

It's not the exclusive domain of theatre, though I've seen some of the most passionate collaboration there - it applies anywhere people make things together.

Your thoughts?

September 2016

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