Archives for the month of: May, 2017

Just as MaryKate continues her epic vacation abroad, I’m back from my staycation. As I mentioned in a previous post, I made good on my promise to take time off from both jobs. To be honest, the vacation was nothing special, as I didn’t even leave Philadelphia. The only time I left home was to go into Center City to wait in line for the RickMobile (as in Rick and Morty). However, I did accomplish what I set out to do. My first goal was to rest my mind and body. My second goal was to make a serious dent the game I’m currently playing, Persona 5. Considering I didn’t get out of bed on some mornings until after 11, and I put an additional 20 hours into my game (for a current total of 68 hours), I’m fairly satisfied. I even took a day to organize some parts of my house, like installing shelving in the back bedroom to clean up clutter.

Far too many people don’t consider taking vacations for a variety of reasons. Vacations don’t need to be expensive. The point is to take time off from work to allow your mind and body to recharge. Upon returning from my vacation I certainly feel recharged and more focused. The break is exactly what I needed and I’m glad I took the time off.

 

Do you regularly take vacations?

Persona 5

Big chunks of my vacation were spent playing Persona 5. Nice to Mee-ow-t you too, video games.

Well, ladies and gents, I’m here! I finally made it to Ireland. We just flew in this morning and I was able to get a nap in this afternoon, thankfully. I wasn’t able to sleep on the plane at all! The past few days have been a whirlwind for me at work-I’ve been preparing for this trip for some time, but there is only so much I could do at work to plan what would come up in my absence. Luckily, my company has some wonderful procedures for vacation coverage.

I know exactly who will work on which tasks for my journals while I’m out, which was great for planning. It made my editorial offices feel better to know there is a specific contact person for them while I’m gone, just in case of emergency. It’s helpful for me as well, because I don’t have to come back to a mound of work that hasn’t been touched since I left. I’m so glad I was able to plan for this trip early enough that my editorial offices, colleagues, and I felt comfortable with my vacation.

Now, I’m off to enjoy myself (and to drive on the other side of the road! Wish me luck!). I’ll write again in June!

I found the entrance to the rabbit hole of opportunity that may pique my interest, all because I decided to make a trip to the HR office at my night job.

Working in a union at UPS is a unique experience. Obtaining full-time work is difficult and usually means driving trucks, going into management, or bidding on a job in the hub when a full-time employee retires, leaves, or is fired. The latter full-time positions are extremely rare. When these coveted jobs come up they are always seniority-based. A part-timer with the most years at the hub is given a chance to claim the job, if he or she declines or fails a test (if the job is skill-based), HR goes down the list of candidates. I always sign-up for these jobs if they catch my interest because the worse thing that can happen is the job goes to someone else. This time around, co-workers came up to me insisting that I actually had a good shot at the job because of my proficiency with computers and that others ahead of me failed the requirements, or weren’t interested. I feared that I would be passed over for the job while on vacation, so I visited HR to let them know I was interested in the position.

I was reassured that if the running came down to me, they would wait for me to come back from vacation. (Union rules dictate the seniority list must be adhered to, unless the candidate is out on a leave of absence.) The discussion with my HR manager then went down a different hole. The minimum requirement for the job is the ability to type at least 40 words per minute, she asked if I could do so, and I mentioned my degree in communications. At this point, she raised her eyebrows and seemed confused as to why I was still just an hourly employee. I told her I did other things outside of work related to my field (such as my work with Epic Careering). She then noted that if I was willing to leave the union, I could find other part-time work within the company that would put my degree to use. I was surprised that communications jobs were so close to home (I’d always seen supervisor jobs within my hub, but they involved work on the floor and didn’t interest me– I never once thought of transferring to another local hub as a non-union employee). Additionally, I also made a connection to someone in HR. It is a connection that has been there the entire time, if I just had been willing to look beyond my daily routine and ask questions.

I realized it’s not too late to walk out of the narrow tunnel and look for other opportunities at my night job that interest me in ways I never thought possible, or even to expand connections beyond my local hub.

 

Have you ever been so focused on the daily grind at work, that you realized you may be overlooking bigger opportunities?

Another Office Shift by Peta Hopkins of Flickr

Another Office Shift by Peta Hopkins of Flickr

I’ve been thinking about my job a lot recently and how so much of it depends on talking to people all day. I speak to my editorial offices (mostly via email, but also on the phone), both internal and external colleagues, and authors constantly. I’m a shy (less so than I used to be), mostly quiet person and I remember wanting to pursue a career where I could get out of comfort zone a little, but not too much! Ironically, I chose a career in publishing that requires me to speak to people for most of my day. This communication, both professional and personal, helps maintain relationships in and out of work that can only benefit me in the long run.

I can speak with someone on the phone, answer an email, and talk to a colleague all within the span of 10 minutes while at work, but I don’t feel burnt out from doing this. Surprisingly, it tends to energize me! Staying close with my colleagues and my editorial offices has made a huge difference in the way I work. I could come in, do my job, and leave without cultivating any relationships whatsoever (it might be difficult, but I could do it). Not only would this be so unbelievably boring that I can’t imagine doing it, it would also be unwise for me to miss these opportunities. Every time I solve a problem an author is having via email or speak to one of my managing editors on the phone, I’m developing my interpersonal skills and preparing myself for the rest of my career. “Interpersonal skills” sounds like such a generic term, but these skills are very real and necessary. If I can’t communicate effectively with those around me at work, I will make my life (and theirs) much harder.

I’m a naturally introverted person and when I come home after work or a day spent with people, I tend to need to decompress for awhile and “rest,” so to speak. I sit in silence and do something by myself, such as read, watch TV, or engage in one of my hobbies, and this centers me and makes me feel more myself. That’s okay, especially after a long day! It prepares me for the next day where I will have to speak with many different kinds of people about a variety of topics, and I feel powerful because I can have a positive impact on someone else’s day.

Does your job or the classes you take in school require you to constantly communicate with people? How do you feel about it?

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