Saturday, March 23, 2013

Two good friends of ours both got layoff notices this week. Yes, they are a couple, yes they have kids. A two-layoff family affair. One because of government cutbacks, the other from a merger. Bluddyelle!

In other news, here's what's happening with my job search. Nothin'! No bites, no nibbles, no interviews. So here's what I'm doing about my current admitedly not bad at all situation. Truthfully, despite the BS that comes from above, my department isn't in the crosshairs right now. As long as that is true, things are good. I work with a whole bunch of really nice people, and since January, a new project's been added to my plate that I'm really enjoying; at the same time, I've been taken off the work of one of the more troublesome groups (taken off at MY request). Worked well, since the new work was heading my way, and another member of my team was looking for a change as well. (Or at least she says she was; it might be that she's just that nice and wanted to give me a break from that group's team leader.)

In the meantime, I've been reading Cal Newport's "Study Hacks" blog. Newport is all about mastering deep focus, gaining deep expertise, and what he calls "deep work," and he sees it as the key to success and career satisfaction. Or as he puts it, he's "decoded patterns of success."

He's also written a very cool book called, So Good they Can't Ignore You, which finally came to me from the library (I was on a long waiting list), and which I pored over. Newport's premise is that following your passion is terrible advice, and that trying to find a job that fits your passions is extremely difficult, i.e. are there mind readers out there, devising the perfect thing for you to do and then pay you for it? Nopers!

Newport also has much to say about our "courage culture" - the constant harrangue that courage is all you need. Fact is, courage and passion is great, but it sure didn't do much good for the Toronto woman who died on Everest last year. What a horrifying, heartbreaking story, and what a senseless death. She refused to give up on her dream. But if you remember, it was the first mountain she'd ever climbed. That's not just courage, it's foolhardiness. That's like instead of training and exercising and then doing the 50-km Ride for Heart, you start with the Tour de France (3,360 kilometres in less than a month).

Okay, back to my point about work. The thing to do instead is to become so good at the job you have that you become irreplaceable.

Now, it's obviously not quite that simple, and he acknowledges that. It's what you do with the opportunities you have - that lead to other opportunities.

The thing that's struck me is that it's all about working smart and diving deep and stretching yourself to get good.

This has given me a kick in the motivational butt, and I am now - for my own satisfaction - trying to get better and better at what I do. Before I leap forward to my next opportunity. To increase my confidence, yes, increase my marketability, but also increase my satisfaction in my career now.

It's a big year, right? I'm hitting a milestone birthday, and I've now been in the working world and out of the student world for a long time. It's time to refresh, reinvigorate, and get beyond the plateau I feel I'm in. Upwards, of course!

Coincidentally, it's been super, extra busy at the office, workload-wise. I've been bringing work home almost every night, while working during the day with a deeper focus. Good timing. If I was flailing around like I've been feeling I've been doing from time to time, I'd be in deep doo-doo right about now.

I've also been keeping up the morning Yoga Tuneups and Just Dance sessions - and I'm just now starting to feel a difference. For example, I can do my Pilates DVD. I got it sometime last year, and tried it with great dismay, and just put the ruddy thing away. Pulled it out last week, and goodness gracious, I can do it - thanks to the four yoga dvd workout rotation, I've strengthened my neck, shoulders and core.

Hmmm. Almost feel like New Year's.

1 comment:

  1. Wow - that's a bit harsh... that double lay-off! I hope your friends are amply compensated with packages, and that they are snaffled up quickly by some other company.

    Congratulations on the positive moves in your own work life! I like your positivity over the situation. And also congrats with the improvements in your health. I have yet to get started but you are inspiring me, for sure!