MEH

Before I go any further in this post, I want to say that I totally recognize that I am very lucky to be still working right now. Many people and small businesses have been hit hard by the global pandemic and are facing real challenges and hardships.

Now, having said that, I remain very much dissatisfied by work. I often find it remarkable how my employer has an uncanny knack to put people in positions without any regard to their interests and passions. It’s very late right now but I could write a massively long post about why I could be so much more productive and motivated right now as an employee but my employer has chosen to put me where I am very little use to my current team. I don’t have the time to write that post but I maybe I should in the near future.

I would say on most days, I feel very little motivation to do the things I’ve been assigned. Most people wouldn’t write such things so publicly but I don’t really care right now. Both my manager and my engineering lead know my feelings about my current predicament. They have been surprisingly very supportive but have no power to change things for me until perhaps the late summer or early fall.

It’s another start of a work week and while I don’t dread doing my job, I certainly don’t look forward to it either. If I could list one motivation for doing my tasks, it’s that I’d like to continue to get paid. That’s pretty much the only thing that gets me out of bed in the mornings.

Well, have a great week everyone!

3 thoughts on “MEH”

  1. Erwin, Usually your notes, besides being insightful, are upbeat but not so today. Count me as sorry.

  2. How about this from a recent Globe column, by Harvey Schecheter:
    Lee Child begins his thrillers with little more than an idea for an opening scene and the intention of joining his readers in following his wandering hero Jack Reacher through the complications that will arise. He loves writing the beginning and finding the conclusion, but the middle, which can come as early as Page 2, is a struggle, he confided to literary scholar Andy Martin, who shadowed him during the writing of Mr. Lee’s Make Me.

    Middles are notoriously tough. These days, we’re collectively stuck in what health-psychology professor Elke Van Hoof calls the largest psychological experiment ever conducted.

    Harvard University professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter gave this situation a name – the miserable middle of change – in a famed 2009 blog post for Harvard Business Review: “Everything looks like a failure in the middle. Everyone loves inspiring beginnings and happy endings; it is just the middles that involve hard work.” She saw it repeatedly in institutional-change efforts, when even true believers hit doubts, and in the global economic crisis of that era.

    In her recent book Think Outside the Building, she looks at a solar-cell project in Africa, which had to get through an Ebola crisis, and offers the helpful metaphor of a desert and oasis. “This morass is still just a middle, a desert with a very tough dry spell, but with hopes for an oasis ahead,” she noted in an e-mail interview. “Sadly and tragically, it’s an unhappy ending for some people, but for most, it’s a choice point. Do you give in and give up – which makes it a failure by definition? Or do you find ways to get through the crisis in a positive way, making needed adjustments, helping those who need help, but keeping your longer-term purpose in mind?”

    She says mastering the miserable middle requires flexibility – rigid people won’t succeed – and turning to partners for support. It also requires a strong sense of purpose. Why did you get into this work in the first place? Is it worth continuing? And don’t get stuck in silos, where you think only of protecting your own work. Instead, increase your communication and ask others for ideas.

    Harvard Business School professor Teresa Amabile and her husband, developmental psychologist Steven Kramer, identified the importance in daily work of feeling you are making progress for their book The Progress Principle. That would seem to apply even more when stuck in today’s quagmire of uncertainty.

    By studying diary entries written every day by 238 people in 26 project teams in seven companies, they found making headway on meaningful work brightens inner work life and boosts long-term progress. We need a sense that we are accomplishing something meaningful day-by-day. That means finding it for ourselves but also helping those we lead to note their own progress.

    In an interview, Prof. Amabile said at this time it’s vital your subordinates have clear goals and a sense that the work they are doing is meaningful – they make a difference. They also need to feel supported by the organization. Showing appreciation every day helps to clarify that support and the progress they’ve made.

    Her sister, an occupational-health nurse with a utility company that covers the northeastern United States, knows she is helping the workers who keep energy flowing. The sister has also been seeing hopeful progress as patients she dealt with come out of quarantine.

    Even if your business is in suspension, perhaps you can eke out some progress toward what comes next. Get in touch with people on furlough, help them access community support and tell them their job will come back. When somebody working remotely achieves success, don’t leave him or her to celebrate alone. “Celebrate the small wins every day,” she says.

    In the book, they recommended writing daily diaries, answering questions like: What progress did I make today, and how did it affect my inner work life? What nourishers and catalysts supported me and my work today (and how can I sustain them tomorrow)? What one thing can I do to make progress on important work tomorrow?

    Another perspective comes from Robert J. Thomas of the Accenture Institute for High Performance, who in Crucibles of Leadership highlighted transformative moments in our careers that shape us, like the vessels in which alchemists attempted to turn base metals into gold.

    The experiences can be painful, but we emerge stronger. So instead of thinking of this as a morass, miserable middle or even a desert in which you are seeking an oasis, consider the possibility it’s a once-in-a-career crucible shaping you for the better. Look for the learning possibilities. Find what my friend Ken Rose – his brother Joel Rose happens to be a pal of Lee Child – calls your “inner Reacher” and steadily push forward.

    CANNONBALLS

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