Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Lady on the News

The local news anchor on the 11:00 AM news hates her job. I can tell just by looking at her. For the first 55 minutes of this hour-long broadcast, she's pretty much just going through the motions. Murder here, layoffs there, peanut butter recall somewhere else. Blah blah blah. But then something amazing happens. She does a complete 180. All of a sudden, she's animated. She does some impressions, wears costumes, and just has fun. It's time for the Hot Spot. That's their version of the Hollywood update where they tell me all I need to know about celebrity gossip. Actually, I already know most of it. Between what I learned on TMZ the night before, what I learned from borrowing my mom's copy of People Magazine, and the gaps that Hoda and Kathy Lee filled in an hour earlier, I'm pretty much caught up on my celebrity gossip. Yet I still tune in most days to watch the local news lady. It just sort of makes me happy to see her go from disgruntled employee to Suzy Happyface during the commercial break. 

Now that I think about it, her behavior isn't really all that strange (except when she was wearing the replica Flavor Flav clock). Work is basically a series of tasks that we have to do. We like some of the tasks and we dislike some of the tasks. I don't really buy into the whole "find something you love to do and you'll never work a day in your life." I'm not buying it. If everything about work was fun, they wouldn't have to bribe you with a paycheck. So my theory is to really enjoy the tasks that you like to do. Prove that you're really good at doing that task and maybe someone will notice and then you'll have a job that revolves around said task or similar tasks. I'm not quite sure how to manage the tasks that you don't enjoy. You could avoid them altogether, but that's probably not a good strategy. The lady on the news pretty much just goes through the motions during the tasks that she doesn't like, and that's not a very good approach either. Hmm, I'll get back to you on how to handle those. 

Anyway, this got me thinking about my job and which tasks I like and which ones that I don't like. When I started my list of stuff I really like doing at work, I realized that it wasn't really work tasks that I was listing. It was stuff like 'coming up with new avatars for people' or 'trying to work random words into conversations on conference calls' or 'making prop bets about how many times someone would say some word during some meeting.' While all of these things are really fun, they aren't really work tasks. If I was to list these things during my performance review, I doubt they would result in a big raise or promotion.

So looking at my actual work tasks, there's plenty of stuff that I enjoy. An old friend has come back into my work life. A couple of years ago, I was posting frequently on our corporate blog. I started out with some pretty basic corporate-speak, but eventually started writing the kind of stuff that I write here. I think there was one post about Snakes on a Plane, and I know there was one about Chris Hanson on How to Catch a Predator. I went through a pretty serious How to Catch a Predator phase, actually. We even had a group Halloween costume with me as Chris Hanson, and then the rest of the cast (Predator, Tween Girl, camera guy, boom mic operator). Anyway back to the work blogging. My company is in the middle of a blog throwdown with another company (sort of like my throwdown with Heba, but not quite), so I'm back to blogging at work again, and I'm loving it. Yesterday I posted about an email that I got about a rabid raccoon loose in my neighborhood and today I posted about Gov. Blago. I don't know if anyone reads my work blog or if my Blago blog helps us sell more widgets, but I really enjoy doing it.

So there's my sage work advice. Break your job down to a series of tasks. Identify the ones that you like, and try to do really well at those. Deep stuff, I know. Oh, and even though I'm blogging at work again, I promise I won't neglect YIFY. If you've got some work tasks that you like (or dislike) feel free to share with the group. 


A said...

So, I'm a teacher (first grade), and I wasn't sure whether to even comment on this because one of my favorite tasks, listening to first graders' stories & perspectives on the world, make for pretty bottomless material and I was afraid I would share a bit too much of it without being able to control myself. Also I can never really 'go through the motions' like news anchor lady, unless I want 18 7-year-olds to call me out on it.

Basically one of my 'favorite tasks' would be reading their writing and editing with them because their phonetic / very much not phonetic spelling can create some hilarious (and unintentional, on their part)spelling 'accidents' (such as spelling 'noodles' 'nudes,' as in, "I have 100 nudes").

One of the girls thought the musical cats was performed with real cats, and a little boy (the source of the bulk of my stories) asked me where 'arabic' is when we were looking at a world map.

I'm not sure why I'm out-of-control with the '-ing in this comment but I'll just go with it.

My least favorite tasks are recess duty and meetings, though your 'favorite tasks' (like the bets on the number of times someone will say a word / working random words into conversations) have given me great ways to occupy my time during the meetings.

I tried to make this short but obv. can't sum up my daily first-grade adventures as succinctly as I would've hoped.

ALSO I love this blog & it gets me through the work week.

A said...

Oh my goodness I did NOT realize that my comment required scrolling--sorry everyone!

Nate said...

Hey A - No worries. All of my posts require scrolling too. And that's without pictures. My parents were both teachers and my sister taught first grade. The stories (and vacation time) were always their favorite parts. They also liked when the little kids would pick out their own christmas gifts for teacher. Stuff like 'box of kleenex' or 'tube of mom's lipstick'.