Saturday, March 15, 2008

Finally, the weekend!


What a busy week it has been for me! I have been negotiating with my managers for more responsibility and better opportunities and, lucky me, I got one! So I've been working diligently to make the most out of my chance to prove to my managers that they made the right decision in giving me a big project to manage. I've been sending emails out daily, talking to folks abroad, and I've been training up employees on new procedures and documenting the processes in our wiki. I must say, a wiki is a magical thing. It's absolutely essential for documenting new processes in a business, and it's great how it can be edited by wiki users at any time. We can all compile and share our knowledge at work, and future employees can benefit from our documented experience.

I feel like I did a great job this week in managing my new project, and I'm proud of all the new knowledge I've gained. I'm also happy with some new tools that I've built to streamline the process. I've been at my company for 3 years now, and I've been creating extensive documentation and tools all along. However, I'm also really quiet so I guess no one knows what I'm doing.

With all the high housing prices in Vancouver and the rising cost of living, I realized that I'd never be able to support myself on my own with my current job. I set myself the goal of trying to buy my own place one day - it can even be tiny! - and it still came down to being impossible. The bank told me flat out that I couldn't afford to buy my own place. They told me that I'd either have to wait until I'd saved a LOT more money, or I'd have to make a LOT more money. Truth like that can be painful to hear.

I became convinced that I'd have to move up in my company to a better paying position or get out and find a better paying job. With nothing to lose, I approached my manager with my proposal for an opportunity to prove myself. I let him know that, with 3 years of no promotion or recognition, I was ready to either move up or move out. He seemed surprised, but he promised to speak with his superiors to see if something could be arranged.

Last week, I began to work on a new project. I think my manager's superiors were reluctant to really release the project to me in full. They kind of kept me at a distance, figuratively speaking, and gave me small assignments at a time. I was intent on taking this project seriously however, and I worked really hard at doing a good job on each small assignment. I also made new assignments for myself that I knew would benefit the project. If I learned a new way to make the process simpler, I would go ahead and implement it, making sure that everyone involved was aware of my progress.

By the end of the week, everything was running smoothly, and I felt good about myself and my value to the company. I guess everyone wants to feel like their work is important, and I hadn't felt that way about the regular work I was doing. This new project was the perfect fit for me. One of the other managers walked up to me and told me that he had been really glad when I was assigned this project. I had done some work for him in the past and he felt that I would be the best person to take it on because I was so organized. He thought it was the best situation for this project which needed someone to really get in there and manage it and watch every aspect of it. I felt so happy to hear that I had his support.

I can't say whether this good streak will continue, but I have learned some things about making my work situation better. I have learned that I have to be proactive about my job. I can't just go to work every day and do what I'm told. I have to find out about new opportunities at work that I'm interested in and offer to help. People rarely turn down help. Then I have to do a good job with those opportunities and see what I can do to make things better. It seems that there is always a better way to do something. If I can find out what it is and implement it, I will feel proud of myself for my achievement, but I'll also have more value to my company. Lastly, I have to be more vocal about what I want and about what I have achieved. I'm my own best advocate at work, and if I'm not promoting myself and my achievements, then no one is. There might be people at work who notice what I'm doing and recognize my skills and potential, but if I don't take steps to move forward and be heard, they seem to keep quiet too.

I'll keep you posted on how things go. One thing's for sure, it's not easy. I am sooooo exhausted now and super glad it's the weekend!

Cheers!

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