Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Reflections on a so-called career, part 2

Continued from Part 1

You need to know if you are in an organization that values your time, or your results. For much of my work, they didn't care when I got in, how long I took for lunch, or when I left. They assumed I was a grownup and could manage my time to deliver my results. I got paid by the hour, and there was typically a maximum number of hours I could bill per month, but I could bill less if I wanted. They wanted my spreadsheets that told them things they needed to know, (even if they sometimes didn't want to know), and that typically nobody else in the organization could tell them. They didn't care how long it took, or what I had to do to produce them.

However, some places care about your time. They want you sitting at your desk by a certain time. You are allowed a certain number of minutes at certain times for break, and you can leave at a certain time. If you are stuck in such a world, do what it takes to obey. Punch that time clock. Learn to do your work in that time or less, and use the rest of the time to figure out how to get the fuck out of there. Unless you like that world, of course.

Related to time, I'm baffled by people that are reliably late. I simply don't get it. Sure, every now and then shit happens, and when it does, everybody is late. I'm talking about normally. One of the reasons I liked doing workouts alone is that I could get going when I wanted. The bigger the group, the more likely it is that one person will show up at the planned leaving time, figuring they are on time, but they need to pump up their bike tires, fix their snack, find their goggles, pee, change their pants, whatever. It's annoying and inconsiderate. Even at work, going for lunch in a group was often a gong show.

Which, as an aside, is why I don't believe most conspiracy theories. Any project manager can bring you to slit your wrists despair with stories of how hard it is to get a group of people to do some simple tasks to a particular standard by some deadline and what can go wrong along the way. Which is why project manager is one of the worst jobs in the world. Beware jobs with other titles that translate to project manager. I digress.

What I said earlier about being grownup and managing your time, you should know how long it takes to get out of the house. Whatever you need to do between getting out of bed, and getting out of the house, you should know how long it takes, and how fast you can do it when you're running late. It usually starts the night before. I like to make sure my swim bag is packed if I'm going to swim. Lunch is in a container in the fridge. I don't need to get gas on the way to work or wherever I'm going. Know what you're going to wear and have it ready to put on. Make some reasonable allowance for traffic, or public transit problems, and leave to get there on time. Never, ever, be late for a job interview. Infinitely better to sit in the lobby coffee shop for an hour reviewing your interview research, than be one minute late.

As an aside, and this is coming from a childless adult, I know nothing of getting some place on time with a child involved. My go-to solution around problems with children involves duct tape. You probably want to find other solutions.

Do not hit the snooze button on your alarm clock. Get one without it if you can. Once you know how long it takes to get out of the house, set your clock for that time. Get to bed at a reasonable time and get up when the clock goes off. Let me say that more slowly. Set the clock for the amount of time you need. Get. Up. When. It. Goes. Off. I don't understand how this is difficult. Just do it.

There are lots of rules about how to get ahead in the world, but one of the reliable ways to put yourself ahead of most other people is show up on time, ready to get on with it. Learn how to do that. Do it day in, day out. Do the planning, do the preparation, then get on with it.

Continued in Part 3.

This has nothing to do with the blog, unless you want to get into a complicated metaphor about the road leading to your goal, but you can't see all of it, and maybe there are trolls waiting around the hill.

Deadwood of the Day

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