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Diving into the Deep End

What have you done recently?

You! What have you done lately? by Clarkston SCAMP
This is a really hard question to answer. If you're not careful and take note of what you're working on and what your accomplishments are actively, you will forget them. And when you forget that you are capable of making a difference and getting things done it's easy to lose sight of both where you are and how far you've actually gone.

If you think about it really hard, you might be able to answer this question in some sort of haphazard reply like: "Uh, yeah I got this done, and that done, and ... you know, stuff..." -- which doesn't help you nor the person asking you. If you don't know what you're supposed to do, what you're doing, and what you've already done, you won't get anywhere.

This week is the first full week I've had at work. Obviously I can't and won't talk about what I did at work, but I can talk about what was going in my head at a meta level. During my alone time, I think about what I've done the day and the past week and it's something I don't do enough of. Maybe that's why I keep forgetting the things that I've accomplished in the past. It doesn't help that I don't like talking about the accomplishments nor the triumphs of years passed. Sometimes they come back in some nostalgic flash of memory because I'm discussing things with friends and co-workers but generally somehow they feel like repressed memories.

*Sigh* by PhotopediaPhotos
Maybe it's a personality fault that I don't put too much value in accomplishing things maybe because before I didn't get praised enough or get praised at all when I give it my best and actually get things done. I've had past relationships where effort didn't matter. Heck, in school effort largely didn't matter -- all that mattered is if you attended the classes, got through the standardized tests, and didn't do anything stupid. Maybe I trained myself to not give too much value on accomplishments because all throughout my professional career it largely didn't matter. Now these are things that I've had to unlearn.

Sure I've gotten my share of reward and recognition in various degrees. But that's not what I'm looking for. A lot of that -- the plaques, the money, the occasional email or public recognition -- are merely tokens that are fleeting. Nothing beats a sincere face to face "thank you for doing this" or "great job". As I write this I feel most of the emotion swell up from inside me, as all I always really just looked for when I worked was to be given the responsibility and the ability to make a difference in any way. I'm not looking to be a hero, I really just want to contribute. I actually don't want to be the hero, I just want to be the guy who helps get things done.

What goes on in my head at times when I accomplish little things and learn new things is really simple: I love the little things. The little personal victories I cherish are really simple like learning something new, finding out that I made a mistake and that I can learn from it, being able to make a suggestion that is valid, or asking a question that helps me and others see things differently. I love finding out that I can be better. I love learning that there's room to grow. I love finding out that every day that I've made the right decision and that I'm exactly where I want to be.

Sydney Symphony Orchestra by ozjimbob
This past week was somewhat of an eye opener to me. This is the first week in a long time that I felt that I was part of something that I really want to be part of. I'm a member of an organization that values the people in the organization, the accomplishments, the learnings, the improvements, and contributions of everyone. Best of all, it's a place where people value each other as individuals that contribute in their own little way. This was the week I was thrown in the deep end of the pool and I had a choice of sinking or swimming -- and swim I did.

I guess I can say I made it out whole and with a better appreciation of what really matters to me personally.



Where was this song when I needed it most?

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