Work.Posted: November 10, 2008
Full disclosure: I love my job. I truly do.
I’m good at it, too. At least I think so. But, I mean, hey, this is my blog, so I can say anything I want.
I’m the director of public relations for a (fairly) well-known museum.
I also love the people I work with. In fact, that’s probably the best thing about where I work — the people. For example, my blog roll has 14 people on it I’ve met through work in one way or another — 14!
Of those 14, I work with five on a daily basis.
They know me. They read me. I know them. I read them.
So, in one way, this is going to be a bit weird — primarily because I’ve never talked about work here in the way that I’m going to talk about it.
And, I’m not just saying that because of the five. I’m saying that because it’s true. I’m only writing for one person — me. Sorry, work blogging friends, I’m really not writing for you. I’m also not asking anything of you either.
You’ve probably seen the stress in my face. And that’s fine. It’s been stressful. But, I’m not writing this to seek your approval or anything of the matter. Again, writing this one for me.
I’m not asking you, my working blogger friends, to look at me any differently because of this. In fact, I hope you don’t.
For me, there’s been a lot going on at work lately. We’ve announced a new president, reached a point in a project that has been planned for five years and announced staff reduction plans — all in a week’s time.
And, those things don’t just happen. The message to the outside world (and sometimes the inside world) is carefully crafted before dissemination. And guess who does that? Yup. Me.
Can’t ask for much more when you do PR. I just wish it was spread out a bit more. But, because it wasn’t, it actually made my job more interesting — and more stressful.
I have spent a great deal of time with senior leadership — advising on the best way to proceed, given all on the plate and how we can both maximize and minimize coverage — depending on the subject.
And, for the most part, mission accomplished. The good news is good. The bad news is virtually non existent. And a big part of that is because of things I recommended — and that feels good.
So what’s the big deal? Well, nothing really. And this is beyond my working blogger friends, but during this process, I was getting questions from everyone wanting to know what’s going on. Now, normally, I’m the biggest gossip there is. I love it. Can’t get enough of it.
But, at the same time, given my job, there are moments when I can’t share all I know. At least not at the particular moment when I’m asked. And, strangely enough, for the most part, people tell me stuff. But, with all that’s been going on — I’ve been asked a lot more than I’ve been told.
I always try to answer any questions I get. But sometimes I just can’t. And there are people who know this and people who don’t. Or maybe they do but they keep asking me anyway. I don’t know. But, honestly, sometimes, it’s annoying.
There’s just a lot of uncertainty right now with the staff reduction thing out there. Everyone is on edge. Everyone is stressed. People want to know who is taking the buy out, what happens next? Who is going to be let go? Part of me wishes I knew. But the bigger part is glad that I don’t. At least for now.
My goal is just to help keep people focused. We can only control what we control. Don’t let the other outside influences affect what you’re doing. We have to have the ship first mentality. At all costs.
So, besides the new president, staff reductions and other project, there’s been another rather significant issue going on at work, too.
Let’s just say that steps have been taken to (hopefully) improve the work environment that my colleagues and I are in every day.
This has been a big burden on me. Why? Because apparently I’m the leader of my immediate group — in this case, serving as the spokesperson (albeit very appropriate) for the staff in an issue we have brought forward to human resources.
Now, don’t get me wrong (especially you, work blogger friends), I’m happy to do it. In fact, feel a responsibility to the group to do it. But, again, stress level? Um, high. We, as a department, took a few unprecedented steps together. Part of the issue? My feet were taking the steps.
Again, happy to do it. Actually enjoyed doing it. But, it’s been a lot for me. Honestly. It has left me unfocused on things I should be focused on. But, at the same time, I think it was imperative for me to take the role in this situation that I did.
And I guess that’s part of the hard part for me — seeing myself as a leader.
Am I leader? Yeah, I guess I am. But, again, not always easy for me to see. In fact, up until a few months ago, I wasn’t seeing it at all at work. It took someone to point out some apparently very obvious signals for me to go, yeah, you know what, maybe you’re right.
Maybe I am being looked at to give my perspective, to draw on my experience — to take the lead.
If that happened before, I just fell into it without really knowing what was happening. But, quite honestly, since my eyes have been opened a bit, I feel more valuable — but also more stressed.
I feel like I do have a good voice of reason. That I can draw on my experience. That I do have the ear of key senior managers.
Along with that, I feel like I can’t let my team down. And, honestly, hope to god that I haven’t. If they are, in fact, looking me to lead, then, damnit, I better lead. And lead effectively.
(Again, work blogger friends, this isn’t me asking you to answer….this is just me being me.)
Because I’ve taken on this role, I’ve sat in some pretty interesting meetings lately, not too mention have had some pretty strong conversations with people about their management style and why it is difficult for me and the team. And that, quite frankly, is just the tip of the iceberg.
The team I work with is talented, dedicated and, well, a ton of fun. I’m trying to take pressure off of them, quite frankly. My hope is that they can continue to focus and shine with what they do best and that I’ll take some of this other stuff off of their plates.
Is it a lot for me? Sure it is. Am I stressed? More than ever, actually.
But, it’s a ship first mentality. Do what’s right for the ship first. Nothing else matters.
That’s what I’m trying so hard to do.