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I had something happen to me today that reminded me how important it is to have boundaries.

And stick to them.

Far to often, whether or not I agreed with what I was being asked to do, I did it.  I didn’t question.  I did my job.  I did it 99% of the time with a smile.  I didn’t ask why.  Why didn’t matter.  Or, at least that’s what I thought.

Why matters.

I have had time to reflect on my career and what I’ve learned is that by being so agreeable, doing the job without raising to much of a fuss, being a “yes” woman and never questioning will make everyone around you happy.

Everyone around you.

Everyone but you.

I felt completely taken for granted.  Not valued.  And, you know what?  I finally decided that I was worth more than that.  I wanted needed to feel appreciated and valued and know that my work mattered.

The e-mail I received today reminded me of exactly why I left.

But, today was different.

Today, I put myself first.  Today, I protected my soul.  Today, I respected myself.

Today, I honored my boundaries.

I blogged recently about Generosity Day created by Sasha Dicter.  You can read that post here:  https://jamiddix.wordpress.com/2011/08/09/generosity-day-2012/.

It’s been a challenging almost 3 months since I quit my full time job.  The plan was to take the kiddos to school, come home and get a quick run in, shower and sit down to do some work.  Doesn’t that sound like an awesome plan?  I thought so.  Until I realized that I can’t focus at home.  I look around and there are toys to be picked up, laundry to be done, kitchen to be cleaned and that stuff is way easier to do without children at home.  I’ve been struggling with what it means to feel valued.  Feeling valued at home is much different than feeling valued at work.  For some reason, cleaning toilets and changing dirty diapers just doesn’t give me nearly as much satisfaction as hitting all my fundraising goals did at my old job.

I’m over the whole “working from home” piece.  In order for me to be productive and feel like a functioning member of society, I need to be in a space with my colleague doing work.  And, that’s exactly what I did today.  It’s amazing the amount of work you can get down when you’re focused.

And, when the Christmas music is playing.   Yes, it’s August.  Don’t judge.

And, when I’m sipping on my coffee.

Yes, all was right in my world today and it wasn’t until my drive home that I figured out why Generosity Day is so important to me.  Other than the obvious, touchy-feely,  it’s just the right thing to do reasons, just thinking about spreading the word and rallying a group of people in the city of St. Louis makes me genuinely happy.  But, it’s more than just the warm-fuzzies.   I was feeling really grateful for my life and the work I’m doing and I just want to be able to pass that happy on to someone else and not just on February 14, 2012, but every day.  It seems to me that being generous is easy to do when you’re feeling really grateful for your life.

Today, I was feeling very grateful.

If you’re feeling grateful, pass it on.  It will make someone’s day.

Including yours.

Trust me.

It’s always rough to come back from vacation.  This year, I think it was harder for me to go on a vacation.  As our week in Wisconsin got closer, I kept asking myself – what do I need a vacation from?  I wasn’t sure.

I have spent the last 11 years working full time.  I got married, had 2 kids and maintained a home.  Now?  Take away the 40+ hour job.  I am doing some consulting work, but I spend most of my days with my kids.  The decision to leave the only job I knew was a really tough one.  I poured my heart into that job and into the people.  I loved it.

Well, that is until I didn’t.  The job became emotionally and intellectually unfulfilling.  I want to be clear though, the people did not.  I thrive being with a group.  When I’m asked to do something, I almost always say yes.  I love to help out when and where I can.  I’m definitely a people-pleaser.  I love talking to people, learning about their lives and telling them about mine.

As we drove to Wisconsin, I couldn’t help but not feel that excited.  Something was bothering me that I couldn’t quite put my finger on.  Why wasn’t I happy?  I left the job that made me unhappy, I was getting to spend more time with my kids who I adore.   I knew not being around the people (many who became dear friends) was going to be a huge adjustment.  But, it was more than that.  I was being short with my family, especially my husband.  As we pulled into Wisconsin, got everything settled and all tucked in bed, it hit me.

Enter: athazagoraphobia.

As I lay in the dark, tears quietly streaming down my face, I realized exactly what I was scared of.  I was terrified of being forgotten.  Or worse, terrified of being remembered for something that was insignificant.

When I’m gone, I don’t want people to think, “oh, Jami made the best salads.”  Or, “she was so organized.”  Or, “wow, she got some really great donations for the auction.”  Are you kidding?  Gag.

I truly believe that I was put on this earth to do good work, to do good things.  I don’t want to be remembered for being, well, ordinary.  I know it’s not going to be easy.  I have days when I feel very brave, like I can conquer the world and there are days when I don’t.  I just know there is something inside of me, something waiting to come out.  I know at times it will be scary.  But, I also know that I must do it.

I’m pretty sure that my athazagoraphobia is only temporary.  So, watch out world.  I’m coming to help.

I wouldn’t know.  I’m not retired.

Once some of my family members heard that I was leaving my full time job, I was immediately asked the following questions:

What’s it like being retired?
What’s it like being a parent?
What do you do with all your free time?

Um, I’m not retired.  I’ve always been a parent.  I’m not really sure what you mean by “free time”.  I don’t want to take the time to explain to people that while yes, I’m not going to an office every day,  that I do still work.  I tried explaining it once, but I got an eye roll and a “yeah, sure”.

Not going to an office, not having to clock-in is very strange to me.  It’s all I know.  My new world is a little different.  Now, I’ve got Jordan with me all day and Joey is going to daycare for 1/2 days.  If I have meetings I schedule them in the morning and then the afternoons are reserved for fun family time.

I feel very lucky to have this opportunity.  I’m doing work that excites me.  Work I can be passionate about.  Work that is allowing me to learn new things.  However, the balance between time with my kids and my own need to make a difference in the world, contribute to our family’s income and keep my own skills sharpened is challenging.  I’m not afraid to say that I love to work, I love being busy, I love learning new things.   I’m also not afraid to say I don’t want to spend every day all day with my children.  I have said before that I think I’m a better parent because I do work.

I treasure those moments that I do find my kids doing something cute.  But, not working?  No way.  there is to much work that needs to be done.

Hi everyone!  It’s been a while since my last post.  I think the #Trust30 challenge was just that…a challenge.  I pooped out when that was over.

I’m still here and have been surprisingly busy with my life since leaving full time employment.  My kids are visiting their grandparents this week in Kansas.  We did the trade off on Saturday, and on Sunday I thought I would be driving back to Kansas City to pick up two homesick kids, but they have settled in and all is well.  I miss them a ton when they’re gone, but the time away gives my husband and I time to reconnect and have conversations without being interrupted 82 times during dinner.  Always a plus.

While driving to Kansas City, I began reading Walk Out Walk On by Margaret Wheatley and Deborah Frieze.  It’s an amazingly inspirational book about not accepting the norm and creating your own.  It’s about solving problems.  It’s about being engaged with your community.  It’s about working with what you have and not what you’re missing.  I’ve underlined so many parts of this book and folded over so many corners of pages, it’s hard to just pick out one to share with you.  I decided to give you a little taste of their take on the importance of play in our work.  Seems to me that more often than not, we’re all taking ourselves a bit to seriously.

Walk Out Walk On talks about the need for play not only in our work, but at solving problems.  They argue that the “command and control leadership smothers basic human capacities such as intelligence, creativity, caring, dreaming.  Yet it is the most common form of leadership worldwide.”  It seems like so many times that when a problem comes up, we all start out with the best of intentions in solving it, but that quickly turns into getting so bogged down in the process that we quickly lose site of what we’re trying to solve in the first place.  Or, the “problem-solvers” are so far removed from the situation and the community that they’re not even sure what the core problems are.  This reiterates the point that we need strong individuals who aren’t afraid to walk out and walk on in solving problems.  There isn’t any reason that we just need to accept the status quo.

Especially when the status quo is crap.

I’ll leave you with this quote about the importance of play.

How did we forget who we are?
Play is not a foolish waste of time.
Play is not a mindless diversion from work.
Play is how we rediscover ourselves.
Play is how we ignite the human spirit in which our true power lies.

How will YOU incorporate play into your work today?

So, this has been an emotional couple of days.  Yesterday, my day consisted of letting everyone know that I wouldn’t be returning next year, watching volunteers cry in a meeting when they heard, me crying in the same meeting and a steady flow of staff coming in to ask “what am I going to do next year without you?”  So, I decided since the day was emotional already, I might as well break the news to tell my little girl that she was going to change schools next year.

I. Was. Terrified.

I didn’t know how she would react.  It is the only school she’s ever attended.  If she got sick, or a boo-boo, or just needed a hug, she could come to my office.  This was all about to change.

I told her in the car on the way home.

She cried.  I cried.

I did the best I could and told that we would of course keep in touch with her friends.

And then she was just quiet, so I shut up (because normally, I talk things to death and this was one of the few times I was speechless.  Nothing I could say was going to change this or make it any better for her).

And because it was Monday and already a banner (NOT!) day I had to go to the dentist and get a permanent crown put on.  Jordan went with me and played in the waiting room the entire time.  She’s a great kid.  After the dentist, we drove home and as we pulled into the driveway, four neighborhood kids came running to the car and I knew things were going to be okay.

It wasn’t until bedtime though that I realized all of the stress and tears and worry that I had about telling her the news was really all of my anxiety.  We finished reading, wrote in her reading log and did our happy thoughts.  She then looked up at me and said, “I’m kinda glad I get to start a new school in 2nd grade.  I mean, I’m really glad I get to finish 1st grade and that you didn’t like come in the classroom like in the middle of math and say, (she’s waving her arms at this point) “Hey, we’re going to a new school RIGHT NOW.”

I don’t think I’ve ever been more proud of her.  What is it about growing up that change, even change we’ve been wanting, causes so much stress?  I am sick as a dog today and I know it’s because the last 2 days I’ve been an emotional wreck.  All I have to say is Jordan ROCKS.

See? She's One Smart Kiddo.

One of my all time favorite songs is by Matchbox 20.  It’s called Long Day.

And if there ever was a way to describe today…it’s been a long, long day.

It became public, or mostly public knowledge that I would not be returning to my job upon the completion of this school year.

I knew when I started, that it was a place I wanted my children to attend.

I believed (still believe) deeply in its mission.

At the beginning of the year, I wrote up a long list of things that I would love to do.  It basically boiled down to me becoming the community manager.  After 11 years of doing the exact same thing, I needed change.

But, we’re stuck.  Actually, they’re stuck.

I told them what it would take for me to stay, what would make me happy, what would re-energize my heart and soul back into my work.  My idea of a community manager position answered many questions about things we haven’t done well for a really long time.  I really didn’t know how someone could say no.

They did say no, in a very indirect way.

It’s been a painful year.

Today was no different.  As I sat in one of the last committee meetings today and listened to my boss tell the group that I would not be returning.  I started to get tears in my eye.  I looked around the table and so were many of the members.  I hear the head of our committee say that “we are a better place because Jami Dix was here.”  It was all so bittersweet.

I’m getting the change, just not in a way I expected.  Funny how that works.

And, while I’m excited on a new chapter in my life (yet to be named!), I’m mourning the thought of what could have been, what should have been and what it will never be.

Farewell….it’s been a great ride.

Hello…to my new journey.

I’ve been looking at job posting websites a lot.  I look at the qualifications needed, the description of the company and I wonder…will they have what I’m looking for in a company?  Will they fulfill my need to know that I’m making a difference?  Will they have the same deep belief in helping your customer or clients?  Will they appreciate me and tell me if they do?  Will the words “because this is how we’ve always done it” never be spoken?  Will they be open to change?

Instead of looking for jobs.  I’m going to start looking for companies.

Interviews will be conducted at Starbucks.

You name the time.

My treat.

Wanted:  Company who has work that will challenge me.  Work that will fill my soul with good.  Work that makes me want to come back every day.  Must trust.  Must have a deep belief in helping their clients.  Company must be open to new ideas and willing to change if need be.  Must believe that you don’t have to sit in an office for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week to get work done.  Must love to laugh and share an occasional glass (or bottle) of wine.  Serious applicants only.

(Blog post inspired by a dear, dear friend of mine!)

 

I was recently asked the question – What is it you want to do?

I have asked myself that question so many times in the past 6 months I can hardly see straight.

People keep telling me that I need to find a focus or have a vision.  Lately, I just feel like I’m walking around without my contacts in lately.  That’s bad.  Seriously, you should see how blind I am.

I feel like in order to find a focus or vision that I need to pick that one thing I want to do.

The problem with that is, I’m passionate about many, many things, mainly helping people.  So, my question is in a world filled with so much hurt, how do I decide who is the most worthy of my time?

Our public schools (in St. Louis) are failing.  In fact, I believe that our entire education system overall needs some new leadership.

There are still major social inequities.

People are still treated differently because of the color of their skin.

Cancer is still killing.

Drunks are still driving.

When I look at that list it leaves me, well, um…depressed.

I also feel fairly unfocused when it comes to my calling.  Maybe I’m not supposed to take up a cause.  Maybe I’m supposed to help make the cause or the company better.  I know my strengths are working with people, recruiting volunteers, making them feel good about their work.  I pretty much do what I can do keep people (client) happy.  They’re happy.  I’m happy.

That’s one thing I’m 20/20 about.

I believe that people are inherently good.

I believe that it’s time to stop using “because that’s how we’ve always done it” as a reason for anything.

I believe it’s time for to start thinking of new, more efficient ways to work.

I believe in hard work.

I believe that you can have a good balance of work and home life.

I believe in having fun while you work.

I believe in sharing what you know in order to help others.

I believe in trusting others.

I believe in having values and not wavering from them.

I believe in honesty.

I believe in telling those you are closest to the hard truth.  Even if it hurts.

I believe in compassion.

I believe that its time for me to step-up.

I believe that when you find the right people you can accomplish anything.

I believe in great customer service.

I believe in never shutting someone down during a brainstorming session.

I believe in dreams.

I believe that in order to establish trust you need to be willing to share things about yourself.

I believe in grassroots efforts.

I believe in myself.

Tell me what YOU believe in.

May 2017
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