Saturday, October 18, 2014

Do Something

This week I found myself sharing a bit of my experience with a good friend. When that happens, it starts a snowball effect in my mind and it's hard to shut off ... and when that happens, I write.
 
Our conversation reminded me of the fear I felt when I got close to high school graduation. I'm not sure exactly when it hit me that I would be gathering up my diploma and be cast out into the world of grownups but it was probably a week before I graduated. I have an incredible denial system that is still with me today. I wouldn't call it a character defect as it often saves me from sleepless nights. I'm a fly by the seat of my pants kinda girl and I like it that way, thank you very much.
 
Having said that, my parents decided to move from Haines, Alaska to Fairbanks, Alaska immediately after commencement. I had a hot boyfriend and he invited me to move in with him and it sounded like a great idea at the time. It was a crazy, fun-loving summer but then he got into a motorcycle accident which laid him up and it was time for me to go. I ended up in Fairbanks, clueless about what I was going to do with my life. My folks were going to charge me rent so I had to get a job fast. College was on the table and I was registered to go but my grades in high school were so mediocre that I was going to be on probation the first semester. I got a job at JC Penny and blew off college. Regrets?  Yes, I regret not going to college, however, at that time I was not college material. It would have been a waste of good money and time. At that point, I'm pretty sure my parents said do something, Susan.
 
Do something.
 
This is encouraging advice I remember giving to my son a very long time ago when he struggled to figure out what to do next. I believe those two words invite action. Trying to figure out the right move can be paralyzing.  I get it. Just do something and while you are doing that you will be exposed to new people and new ideas. That's my experience. Not everyone knows early on in life what they want to do.  
 
I eventually took a better job at a bank. After banking, I worked in the mental health field for a while and eventually into public service in the legal system. I was never afraid of changing jobs. Really, I was more afraid of standing still.
 
Stuck?
 
Just do something. Say yes. Acknowledge fear. Make some plans. Be willing to change those plans. Be open to change. Don't get hung up on results. Ask questions. Talk to people. Write about it. Do anything. Let go of old ideas. Ask others what they did.  Start today.
 
I'm closer to the end of my working life than I've ever been. I have enjoyed a couple of different career choices and have definitely been able to continue flying by the seat of my pants. If I had it to do over again ... well, I can't do it over again. This is the path I chose. I am making the best of it.
 
Do I still struggle with figuring out what I want to do with my life?  You bet I do. It dawned on me after the conversation with my friend that I still get to live by my own words.  Today I'm going to do something and see what happens.
 
How about you? Are you doing something, or are you stuck?
 
love, susan

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Happy Bosses Day!

Happy day to all the bosses in the world!. This is your day. I've got meatballs swimming in bbq sauce and grape jelly sitting on the counter, heating up for a fantastic day at work. The girls  in my office are putting together a fabulous feast for all the bossy-types we work with. And it's going to be big fun!
 
I challenged a friend to sit for 30 minutes this morning and write about her favorite bosses. It got me to thinking about all the great bosses and mentors I've had in my 30+ years of working. Today I'll leave you with the highlights from the best of the best:
 
Archie was my first boss when I was in high school. He ran the local theater in my small hometown of Haines, Alaska. I learned how to do every job except running the films. Back then, the movies came in on big, heavy tape reels and he mostly left that job to the guys. Archie was a great first boss. He never once yelled at me or made me feel stupid. 
 
Jean was my boss at JC Penny ... my first real job after high school. I only worked there a year but she taught me the value of putting the customer first. She was kind of a staunch woman who didn't smile a lot but she was all about business and I admired her. Sure wish I would have gone back and thanked her for the great start in my working life. Funny how I can forget a lot of things but still remember her name. Huh. That's interesting to me.
 
Tom Hishimoto (haha, made that last name up as I cannot remember his last name, he was Japanese) was a boss  I worked for in the early part of my banking career. He ALWAYS had a smile on his face and he taught me the only word I know in Japanese.  Hai = yes. Yes, we always care about the customer. Yes, we answer the phone by the 2nd ring. Yes, you can do it, Susan! He loved everyone and I learned a lot about customer service from him. Just a good guy.

Ginny is right up there as one of my favorite bosses of all time. She taught me and many others on our team the true meaning of teamwork. She had a magic way about her that brought people together to use their hidden talents and she really helped me shine. Working with her was truly the highlight of my working experience and I will be forever grateful for her example of a great team leader. She also became one of my most treasured friends. Love that!

Jane taught me to think past the limitations in my mind. She once made me put together a desk and hook up a computer. I thought that was man's work and she set me straight about that. Kinda funny how those small experiences can translate into life changing moments. She is still my friend and I got to visit with her about 3 years ago when she moved to the Pacific NW. Love you, Jane!

Mike was an attorney at a local law firm. He was still old school then and everything he wrote was done by dictation. I had forgotten how much I love transcribing until I went to work for him. He was the most prepared attorney I've ever worked for and he always did his work well in advance of when it needed to be done. None of this wait til the last minute, let's everybody get an ulcer kind of work. He was a meticulous writer and I learned a lot about cutting out the fluff in my writing by his example.

Margaret is my current boss. She has been in her job, well, let's just say a very long time. She is perhaps the easiest going person I've ever worked for and it takes a lot to get her feathers ruffled. I'm not sure I've ever seen her get mad. She is older than me and I like that she leads by example. She has never once said no when I asked for time off, which make her hunky dory, in my book!

I've been one lucky girl in my working career. There has been rarely an occasion when I didn't like my boss. Over the years, I've learned that every supervisor has a different style.  I have learned from every person in my working path and have tried to find something positive even in situations that have not always been ideal.

Do you have memories of great bosses?  I hope you'll think about it and leave a message or better yet, thank your wonderful boss today!

love, susan