Everything you didn't learn in school that will help you survive the world of work. A place for newbies, for working moms, for seasoned professionals and "free agents" to share strategies, tips and tales from the trenches.

Apr 16, 2010

The Kumbaya File

Instructor, Caroline Bender
Like many things I learned in the world of work,I learned this practice in the trenches with my foxhole buddy Jay. I was reminded of it today, when one of our favorite trench writers Pam Slim, of Escape from Cubicle Nation, guest posted on Gapingvoid.com an essay called "you, less than."  That is a lot of blogrolling.  Let me get to my point.  There is a lot more to click below.

In the course of your work life, you will encounter many stumbles where you may question your competence, your worthiness, the gifts and skills you came in with.  Sometimes this will go on for years -- but most of the time it is a momentary hiccup that left unmanaged could bring you to your knees.  Sometimes, your self-doubt is correct -- you really do need to kick it in gear and rediscover that other version of you lost in the shadows of your stress and "fatalistic attitude."

Prepare for these lean times by setting up your stores in times of plenty.  When you are paid a compliment, an especially nice Thank You, or a certificate of achievement, file it away in a place where you can retrieve it when you need that reminder.  Every child knows how to start and keep a treasure box, and somewhere along the way we stop doing it.  It doesn't mean we stop needing a moment to lie on our beds and sift through those small and seemingly insignificant things that are important to us.

In our youthful management days before electricity, the Kumbaya File was a green Pendaflex, mixed in with all the others that we literally named "Kumbaya."  Today, for me,  it is an email or desktop folder, though I still call it Kumbaya.  Some of the contents are formal and flowery, some are snarky and insidery.  Some say hello and some say good-bye.  What they have in common is they make me feel good about myself and remind me of the great rewards that come from random acts of professional kindess.  Artifacts like these can keep you grounded.
Remember to give as well as receive.  End this week by acknowledging one of your co-workers today.  Tell them something they do that you admire and ask for nothing in return.  And thank God it's Friday.

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