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People with ISFJ preferences are dependable and considerate, committed to the people and groups with which they are associated, and faithful in carrying out responsibilities. They work with steady energy to complete jobs fully and on time. They will go to great trouble to do something they see as necessary but dislike being required to do anything that doesn’t make sense to them.

ISFJs focus on what people need and want, and they establish orderly procedures to meet people’s needs. They take roles and responsibilities seriously and want others to do the same.

ISFJs have a realistic, practical respect for facts. They use their Sensing primarily internally, where they have a wealth of stored information. They remember clearly the details of things that have personal meaning for them, such as tones of voice and facial expressions. ISFJs are likely to be practical, realistic, concrete, and specific. They use Feeling to make decisions based on personal values and concern for others. They value and work to create harmony and cooperation. Thus, they are likely to be cooperative, thoughtful of others, kind, and sensitive. Their opinions are firm because their decisions are based on their clear values and their wealth of stored data. ISFJs respect established procedures and authority, believing that these have persisted because they function well. Therefore, they will support change only when new data show it will be of practical benefit to people.

ISFJs are unassuming and quiet in their interactions, often putting the needs of others—especially family members—ahead of their own. They are uncomfortable with confrontation and will go a long way to accommodate others, though their respect for traditions and people’s feelings can lead them to challenge others. People see their values, their desire for structure and closure, their kindness. What others may not see is their wealth of rich, accurate internal Sensing impressions and memories. Others usually see ISFJs as quiet, serious, conscientious, and considerate, and as good caretakers and persons who honor commitments and preserve traditions.

I don’t like to go too much into detail on my job. However, in recent weeks I have been really struggling at work, solely based on my interactions with my new manager. For the first time in my 7 years at this firm, I have felt unsupported, I don’t have trust in my boss, and I was getting the underlying feeling that I’m not meeting [management’s] expectations.

I’ve stewed. I’ve tried to ignore it and focus elsewhere. I’ve talked in circles and non-specifics to get a feel if I was accurate in feeling this way. I’ve vented and gotten swept up alongside others who are far more angry and negative in my department than I am or ever want to be. I’ve let myself get irritated and annoyed by every minor interaction with this person as a result.

And so after a sleepless night last night, tossing and turning over this underlying anxiety and feeling of not being true to myself or my work ethic, today I took charge.

I set up a meeting to have a very honest conversation, as uncomfortable as it made me, to talk about this conflict head on. I did my best outline it from a standpoint that I care a lot about my daily work – and my career – and while I hoped it was my own misinterpretation and not an accurate reflection of my work – I have gotten the feeling while exceeding the expectations of those I work with daily, I may not be meeting management’s expectations fully.

I was sweating, and actually broke out in rash before going in.

It’s funny, I have and always can take conflict head-on in my romantic relationships, but it’s been a growing process – an ability to move past my discomfort – that has slowly changed my avoidance of conflict with friends and with work. At some point, I really hope I can do the same with my family.

The truth is, the things that are worth saving are worth pushing past the conflict and letting go of pride, the desire to “win”, being right, and not wanting to deal with the discomfort.

And every time I do, I realize, it’s worth it. Open and effective communication is the key to success in all relationships.

Really just taking that step to un-bottle everything (in a professional manner) was therapeutic in itself. To let the f go of that negative anxious energy.

For another it hashed out exactly what I needed to hear – and what I had been misinterpreting all along. When it came down to it, I myself am judging my own work (harshly) and management thinks I am meeting and if anything exceeding expectations. If there was any need to hear that more clearly, I did. The lines for communication now feel more open, and we have begun to build trust into our relationship as manager and employee.

It also made me accept that I can only adapt and manage up so much – at some point I have to accept that I may not get exactly what I want out of this relationship, but try to focus on what at a minimal I need to do to stay successful and happy here. Those are the battles worth fighting.

Anyway, I feel like a weight has been lifted off me. I feel re-energized. And while it was damn uncomfortable at the time, I am so, so very glad I didn’t just sweep it under the rug.

Here’s to taking on discomfort and conflict head-on.

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I’m more than ready for my beach vacation next week.

Moving went smoothly, well as smooth as it could have gone I guess. Since Thursday (first day in the new place) I have spent hours upon hours unpacking, cleaning, running errands, and building furniture on top of working ten hour days and sleeping.

At the end of last week, I was just a peach to the husband. I’m exhausted. Sore. Cranky. And best of all I got my period yesterday.

But I love, love, love the new place. In all of its quirks and outdatedness, I absolutely love it.

I love my new routine. I love my new commute. Short, quiet and easy. I love the super sunny kitchen and how refreshing it feels to sit down and have breakfast at the island. I love that the husband and I have eaten dinner at the kitchen table rather than on the couch in front of the TV. I love that our bedroom feels like this big open airy loft that is completely separate from the rest of the apartment. I love how safe I feel parking in the driveway at any time of night. I love how we’re so close to restaurants, grocery stores, and many other shops. Everything about this place just feels light and easy. I can’t wait to fully finish unpacking, have cable and internet installed, and finish decorating so we just feel fully at home there.

Unfortunately, on top of all the recent chaos… work has been tough. I felt like I failed for the first time in my new role at the end of last Friday. I am in the process of having risks turn into actual issues, I feel like I’m not on top of things completely, and truly, I just feel burnt out. I’m doing my best to think of this all as a learning experience, but man, I hate failure. I need to pull it together and focus this week and do the best I can so that I can just enjoy next week.

It probably doesn’t help that for the last 3 weeks during the moving and other chaos, I have been skipping the gym (going maybe 3-4 times total) and eating take-out galore. Mentally and physically at this point, I’m just so checked out.

I’m turning around my focus this week so that when it comes time to my relaxing beach week with a book in hand, I’m happy. Until then, morning workouts. Working efficiently. Get apartment shit done in the evenings. Eating healthy. At least 7 hours of sleep.

Is it Friday yet?

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Yesterday as I was packing up my office it really hit me, deep down I know this is the right move for me and for my future career path. I might be anxious and uncomfortable, but I’m not doubting my decision.

I know not everyone around me agrees. For many they just don’t get it. Right now, I’m managing people and in the new role I’ll only manage projects. To many, including my Mom, they think it’s a step down. A step back down the ladder I’ve been climbing for 6 years. And shouldn’t I want to keep climbing the ladder and getting to the top? Shouldn’t I want to keep going until I’m at the Chief level? Shouldn’t I want to use every relevant part of my masters?

The answer is no. I just don’t.

For a while I thought I wanted that. I wanted to want that. I felt pride in saying I wanted that.

But I truly don’t want that anymore – or maybe I never did to begin with. The decision I’ve made to switch career paths solidifies that.

I want to work hard and see the tangible results of my work. I want to spend my time pushing projects through deadlines, organizing tasks, and managing people’s roles. I want to see the start and end of each project. And most of all, I want to have a life outside of work.

I don’t want to spend more than half my time managing people and a budget.  I don’t want to worry about payroll, vacation requests,  or personnel issues. It’s not that I was bad at managing people, or really great at it either, I think it just doesn’t interest me at this time. I also don’t want to continue being in a support role – where I think I’m heading home at 5:30pm only to be still at my desk at 8pm.

I think there are parts of the new job I’m going to really excel at right away. I’m a great organizer, I can see the big picture and yet still hone in on all the little details, and I have no problem jumping in and getting my hands dirty. I also think there are going to be parts of the job that will throw my comfort out the window. Networking, socializing, building relationships, leading – I have a hard time doing all of those things with people I don’t know.  I’m used to being the quiet one, taking it all in and stepping in only when I was 100% confident in what I was going to say. I definitely don’t get to do that anymore.

But that’s when I remember what discomfort does. Obviously it pushes me to grow, but it also makes me feel alive. And that’s how I’m feeling at the end of this last day at my old desk. The anxiety and fear is still very much apparent but mostly, I feel energized and motivated.

Someone remind me of that in a few weeks when I’m crying out from the discomfort.

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Okay so this post may be a jumble but that’s what my brain is like now anyway!

First, it snowed buckets today, literally. There’s about 25+ inches where I am in New York and that made commuting into my NYC office impossible. I had a rather stressful day working from my Mom’s home. The anxiety is finally fading a bit and that’s all helped by my to do list.

Never underestimate the to do list. At about 1pm this afternoon I almost felt like I was having an anxiety attack. I just had too much to even imagine doing before being out of the office for almost two weeks and travelling all over South America.

Just writing out my to do’s helped. It eased me to see everything I needed to do and realize it wasn’t 1,000 large things – it was about 20 small things that I slowly have crossed off my life. I have two remaining work things to do, and 1 personal, and then I’m done for the night.

And tomorrow I will be leaving for my South America journey. A few big things on my mind that I’ll be thinking about while I’m away:

1. Physically I don’t feel great. I’ve been eating sugar up the wazoo and sure the scale is up 6lbs but the worst part is that I feel it.  However, I’ll be hiking or biking daily on this trip so I plan on kicking my exercise appetite right back into gear!

2. Work.  I just don’t know what I want. But I need to start thinking about it and not just letting day by day go by.

3. B. Well in this case, I won’t be thinking about him. We haven’t talked – not a text, email, call, (well we glanced a each other at the 5k) etc in 11 days. I won’t have any access to phone/email while I’m away so in a few days it will mark the longest we have ever gone not speaking in 3.5 years. But that is OK. I feel OK about it. When I return I have to give him back his gear and my heart and head tells me that this break was meant to happen.

4. What are my year’s goals? Fitness? Relationships? Work? Hobbies? Challenges for myself?

And of course, I’ll be letting myself relax and enjoy this insane trip!!!

Happy & Safe new year to all, I’ll be posting many pictures, updates and hopefully some epiphany moments when I get back 🙂

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As somewhat of a type-A person I have a really bad procrastination habit.

For example, when I was finishing grad school a few months ago I would leave papers until the last-minute. Literally until the last-minute. I would be up at 4am just starting a 12 page paper in hopes of getting it done before my 7am shower time for work and then my 5pm run time to get to class.

The funny thing is I would stress about it for the entire week prior. In the back of my mind it would be there, nagging me. And yet I’d do anything to put it off. I’d clean my apartment, watch endless tv, take short naps, call my Grandmother who can’t hear, I mean really just about anything. But during every one of those activities my stress level would rise and rise about the impending paper deadline.

Yet it was a repeated habit. It happened with every final paper and project.

And lately it’s happening elsewhere.

At work I got a couple of huge and difficult new projects. In my mind I’m finding ways to put them off or focus elsewhere. Yet I was becoming so stressed about them that I’m having nightmares and I’m thinking about them all the time. I swear I found my first grey hair two nights ago.

The real issue is that I’m uncomfortable with these new projects. I’m not sure I know how to do them so rather than face that, I’ve been ignoring them and completely procrastinating. But that does no one good, especially myself.

So today I bit the bullet. I got two of these projects worked on, one of which is almost complete. And you know what? It’s not perfect, but I feel like 6,000 pounds has been lifted off my shoulders.

Seriously it’s time I learned my lesson. Sometimes you just need to get it done.

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Sometimes you just have a bad day. While there are a lot of positives I can focus on today sometimes you have to just accept that it was a bad day and tomorrow will be better.

My day started with a very long and very frustrating meeting. I have done my job for over 3 years and I work pretty hard. I’ve had long days and long nights of graduate school to be even better at my job. I have been promoted twice in the few years. I always try to be extremely accommodating to all of those I work with.

But today was different. There’s a woman at work who is just miserable to me. Out of defense, insecurity, or just disliking me – whatever it is – her behavior is absurd. Today in a meeting she kept referencing me in front of others as “poor Caitlin”. She was referring to me as that because  before my boss came into the meeting (late) she and her manager had been airing their gripes about my team to me. I can hold my own. Don’t call me poor anything.

Minutes later as she is explaining something she says, “J, it would be helpful to see this, or do this, and you [she looks at me and waves her hand] whatever your name is, can help with this.”

She had just said my name prior. She was sitting right next to me.

She was trying to make me feel disposable.

I was livid. Flustered. Appalled. We’re in a large professional law firm. We’re practically teammates in the same department. She is not my boss. She is not even close to my boss. Who does she think she is?

Never have I had a Partner or an Associate even talk to me like that let alone an informational professional. Never would that woman imagine to talk to me like that with our Director or COO present. It’s absolutely unprofessional. And childish. And no where near the first time it’s happened. That cow.

Anyway, after lots of thinking and cooling down I decided my amazing mother helped me formulate my action plan. I’ll be mentioning to my boss (who witnessed some of this anyway) that I felt it was really inappropriate the way the cow treated me and that if it happens again I plan on asking the cow to talk after with just me.

The cow and I will have a nice conversation. I will say, we have a large project that is going to span the next 6 months and will be working together often. We both have the same goals at the end of the day. I am willing to put 100% into this project. However, I find it very inappropriate and belittling when you say blank blank blank to me. I’d appreciate you treat me the same way you would any other team member.

My mother mentioned that people like that will usually continue until confronted because they know they can. And if that doesn’t work then I’ll really ask my boss to step in.

I’m trying so very hard to keep a cool head about this. To be the bigger person. To know that karma will take care of it all.

But it sure is difficult…Cow.

 

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