Today, one of my coworkers was instructed to delegate a task that he was assigned because he’s got a lot on his plate. So he sent me a message saying “hey, I’ve been told to delegate this task and I’m pretty sure there are zero people in the company who have relevant experience with both of the things involved in it who aren’t you. Can you do it?”
Of course I said yes. And then I felt really special, cause there are a lot of people in the company and being the only one who literally anything is a pretty big deal. Realistically it’s just a coincidence due to my current and former positions, but regardless, I felt awesome.
I’ve been my manager’s go-to metrics person for my group for quite some time now, so there are a couple of presentations I have to put together every month. This month, my manager was on vacation when I had to do them so he asked me to send one of them to my director for approval. It’s important to note here that due to a recent org change, my director is actually my boss’s boss’s boss.
That in itself wasn’t a huge deal. I make these presentations every month, and I’ve met my director before, so I felt like I had it mostly under control. When my director started asking me for additional metrics I started to worry a bit more, but they were easy to compile so I still was only mildly concerned.
I really shouldn’t be complaining because I’m very fortunate that I’ve gotten to travel much, especially as a new hire, but I spend so much time on airplanes. I’m over it. And it especially doesn’t help that I’m completely on the other side of the country so it took a very long flight to get here (and THREE flights on the way home). But on the bright side, I get a four day weekend because Thursday counts as a travel day and Friday is holiday.
Plus, you know, I got to travel. And I met a whole bunch of new people (mostly managers) whom I wouldn’t have met otherwise. And I met a coworker I talk to regularly but had never seen in person. And I got to see a friend from college. And of course, I still get free food while I’m traveling. So there are certainly perks.
I just wish I didn’t have to fly. And that it weren’t so disruptive to my life (I miss my cats, and I hate having to skip aerial for several days in a row). And if I could potentially get a little more than a week and a half notice before I had to go somewhere that would be great too.
Except this time it’s way less exciting – partly because with all the traveling I’ve been doing to visit boyfriend in Wisconsin I am beyond sick of airports and airplanes, partly because I think the initial “wonder” has worn off, and partly because I’m not traveling with any of my teammates this time so I anticipate it being a bit lonelier than my past travels. Which is fine, really, cause it means I get to spend more time in my room practicing poi (more on that later this week), but it’s still a very different experience.
Look, I’m writing about something that’s not aerial! It’s almost as if I do other things occasionally (which I totally do – I go to work, do my homework, eat, and sleep!). Incidentally, this “story” is about work.
For the past several months, I have been working with a team to develop a new process which allocates funding for emergent, unplanned work. It was the reason for my last business trip, it typically involved having four (or more!) meetings a week, and it was generally a massive part of what everyone on the team has been doing for most of 2015. More importantly, though, we officially released the process on April 1st and it has been a huge success.
The large majority of the people that I work with (particularly those on my team) are quite a bit older than I am. There’s one who’s only a year older, but the next youngest person is 43. I believe there’s one other person in his forties, then the remaining fifteen or so are fifty or older. So, yeah. I’m very strongly in the minority.
There seems to be a whole lot of emphasis on the fact that there are currently four different generations in the workplace together (The Greatest Generation, Boomers, Gen X, and Millenials), so I’ve actually done quite a bit of reading on the subject. A lot of people talk about the stereotypical characteristics of each generation, how you have to treat and reward each one differently, and how we can learn to be more respectful of each other’s differences. And that’s all very important. But today I would like to do the exact opposite of that and whine about one of those differences.
Well, that might be expressing a bit too much enthusiasm. I had to fly all the way across the country for a two day long meeting, missed several things at home that I was really excited about, including a homemade pasta cooking class and an aerial class (don’t worry – I made that one up), and felt really guilty about leaving my cats alone for four days. But all of that aside, this was a pretty exciting trip.
I’ve known that office politics exist for a while now. I indirectly encountered them in my internships, learned about them in a few of my classes, and was acutely aware of them in my college job as I was working in the middle of an organizational restructuring which left my boss reporting up to two different managers… who hated each other. But there’s something very different about being aware of office politics and actually watching them in action.
Enter the large majority of my job responsibilities over the past month and a half.
For a while, I was complaining that I was frequently bored at work and had nothing to do. And while that is, unfortunately, still often true, I do have a pretty huge deadline for a project I’ve been putting a ton of time into looming on Tuesday. Things are mostly done, and I’m not too worried, but looming deadlines on group projects mean a lot of meetings, and this project is definitely not an exception.
The good news is I really like meetings because they a) give me an opportunity to get to know other people, b) pretty much always help me learn something new, and c) are generally where I get opportunities to volunteer for work and then am less bored because I have things to do.
The bad news is the people I’ve been in these meetings with are in a variety of time zones, which means a lot of late meetings for people like me for are in EST.