Finding valuable takeaways through everyday work experiences is something I started thinking about a few years ago. I attribute this behavior to my writing hobby. Since I try to blog on a regular cadence, I examine events during the work week as potential subject matter for writing.
How would you answer this?
Do you think about opportunities for strengthening individual relationships or for improving business workflows through the course of everyday experiences and interactions with others?
Admittedly this isn’t easy and not really natural. During a typical day I’m very task focused. How do I solve the problem in front of me? How do I complete a service request? How do I follow a process? How do I get as much done as possible? How can I complete more tasks?
I find that it’s easier to think about deeper meanings and opportunities after the day is over or when I carve out time for reflection. I don’t do it nearly enough. But the value in the exercise is that it helps me enjoy my job more and appreciate the efforts of my coworkers.
This week I saw a quote, “you may think the grass is greener on the other side. But if you take the time to water your own grass it would be just as green.” Maybe that’s not always true. But the intent of the words is clear and it agrees with the mindset of looking for opportunity and positive meanings in our current situations.
To help put some practical examples to my ideas this week I thought of a few common tasks in Information Technology that could have much deeper meaning or opportunity:
Common experience: Fixing a printer that won’t print.
Immediate need: Enable a co-worker to print invoices so that the company can pay suppliers.
Opportunity: A chance to discuss with the co-worker alternatives to printing by using an electronic method.
Common experience: Rerunning a report that didn’t generate.
Immediate need: Showing daily order totals for a product category.
Opportunity: A chance to deliver the reporting data real-time or improve the scheduled process flow that generates reports to make it more reliable.
Common experience: Setup computer and email for new employee.
Immediate need: Putting a fresh image on a computer so that it can be placed in service.
Opportunity: A chance to be one of the first smiling faces the new employee sees when you deliver the equipment and show them where things are located.
Common experience: A web form is susceptible to a hacker attack and reported on a penetration scan.
Immediate need: Fix the problem so the scanner passes the test.
Opportunity: A chance to see how hackers are breaking and entering. Play the role of cyber-cop by resolving the issue but learn from the experience and program to tougher standards with the next software release.
What’s great about this is that searching for the deeper meaning and opportunity in our everyday experiences can happen with any job at any level. It’s like watering the grass on your side of the fence. Do that and you might just find that the grass is greener in your current yard.
Onward and upward!