A Pair Of Ruby Slippers

February 17, 2007

Dorothy? Well, what has Dorothy done?

Filed under: MACMP — author @ 9:39 am


This was never going to be my favourite part of the course and I have struggled a little recently, OK I’ve blubbed like a baby however, I think I can feel an epiphany coming on. Unfortunately it has come at a price, the diet has suffered and I broke the rule about no drinking on a school night. I am not going to transform personality overnight but I think there could be a glimmer of change brewing.

One of my issues with this reflective part of the course has been around disclosure. Funny really as in my day to day activities I am a very open person, I always think I say too much rather than the other way round. It is in a formal setting I find this stuff hard; I am just not comfortable being in the spot light and discussing myself. I know why and I have decided not to share that information and I think that that is fair enough. The reason for not sharing is that I feel there is a fine line between formal self disclosure in a setting such as education or work and self indulgence. This may just apply to me personally but I think that if I were to discuss my personal issues here it would be the latter. I have given this much thought, it is not a snap decision. I genuinely believe I would not benefit from it and neither would you, for me this is not the right place, and you are not the right audience. It is not a big deal. Am I scared of making myself vulnerable? Possibly, but why would making myself vulnerable make me better at my job? Even the Johari window agrees with me here as it states that there is some personal information that has no bearing on work and as such is fine to remain in the 3rd quadrant of their window known as the “hidden self”. It is not easy to decide what bit of information belongs in which quadrant but I have drawn my lines.

My way through this section of the reflective unit – i.e. the bit about me and my experience is to start with and concentrate on my current life. I will set the scene here and then move on to the skills evaluation and plan in my next posts.

How did I come to be in my current role? I was already working in Munchkin Land, albeit not for the Lollipop Guild at the time. I had arrived there from The Chocolate Factory in 1998 after an horrendous 6 months in Sales (I was rubbish) followed by a year in the office working on the sales system which was much more fun if not exactly challenging. The reason I decided to leave The Chocolate Factory was because my colleagues were low on morale and it became a slightly depressing place to be. I found that having everyone around me moaning about the company soon brought me down too. I was new into this kind of work and was actually rather enjoying it and its perks so decided that I would look for a job elsewhere. I wanted to be somewhere where the other employees enjoyed being. Salary was not a huge consideration although more money would of course be handy; I did give some thought to career prospects at that stage but actually the move was much more about instant gratification.

I heard about a job in Munchkin Land working on setting up and implementing their sales system. As I said, I had gained relevant experience and so decided to apply. I loved my interview which consisted amongst other things of a senior Munchkin with his feet up on his desk asking “why the hell do you want to work here?” and various other non standard interview questions. He was lovely, unusual, a character, funny and best of all as I was to find out later, a bit of a thorn in the side of bureaucracy. I would go as far as to say that I consider him to be a critical incident in my professional development. He made me see and believe (by demonstration) that you don’t always have to fit the current business manager model to progress in that type of environment. Mind you, he was made redundant last year. I miss his take on life and his “unprofessional” advice. He was one of many characters that were more in evidence a few years ago in our company.

Anyway, I got the job… talk about a hospital pass, the system was naff, the kit almost never turned up and I had to train 800 users who didn’t want to use the flaming thing. Great, should have paid more attention at my interview. I found though that when I should have hated every second of it I rather enjoyed it. There were moments when I wanted a big hole to swallow me up, but I derived so much satisfaction from resolving the tricky situations. I had to travel a fair bit around Europe which again I enjoyed (except when I hated it, if you know what I mean?). I managed to discover much about the sales system and become An Expert helping to resolve a few bugs which had dogged the system for years. I worked with some interesting and very varied people. For example, I learnt that throwing your mouse really hard at a wall in the Paris office followed by profuse swearing in several languages could be an effective form of stress management (a different form of bleep test perhaps?). Another moment of clarity, actually maybe even another critical incident was getting a new boss. He was different from any I have had before or since in that he was hell bent on enjoying himself all the time at work. Apart from the times when I would have liked to have thrown him through the 2nd floor windows, we really did have a fun whilst working harder than I had ever done before. I think this was when I realised (call me a slow learner) that whatever I ended up doing I needed to enjoy it. Money was not the be all and end all. I have always found money to be more of a de-motivator rather than a motivator, what I mean is that if you offered me loads of it to do a crap job I wouldn’t be interested but I do get fed up with never having enough of it doing a job I enjoy.

Then that boss left and I was promoted into the role. I trucked along happily for a while and then realised I was bored of doing the same thing. I watched my director carving out a new role for himself in what he decided to call eBuisness and figured that he would probably need someone to actually do the work whilst he was busy strategic visioning. I put this to him and he agreed. It was not completely daft, I had a certain technical know how, good contacts within the business, experience of project management and probably most importantly, experience of change management in a “hostile” environment. Initially I ran the two roles side by side and then the internet side of things became large enough to separate them and it became a job of its own. Oh yes, I also had 2 children and took some time out returning between them for a frustrating and unproductive year and then coming back again after the second child wanting to take the world on and change it. Unfortunately I found this slightly tougher than I had first anticipated. This brings us up to date. I started this course (why didn’t any of you talk me out of it?) as I was bored at work, frustrated with encountering the same old issues and at the same time feeling that I was the one who could really change things, if only I just had a bit more brain, some courage and a fabulous pair of shoes.

So I think I am different from some of my colleagues on this course, many of whom are completely dedicated to their work. I do love the internet and web design and if it wasn’t my job I would still do it. But I think it could be a different media and I would be just as happy. It is not my first or only love. I like the idea of the Hollywood Model, of working on a project I am passionate about with other likeminded people then going off and using my skills to do something else with someone else. What makes me tick is being creative, doing something different from the status quo, being progressive, helping people out, being autonomous, building relationships, resolving issues and perhaps even making some of my colleagues’ working lives easier. What I am trying to say is that those are the elements I look for in a job, rather than it being a job to do with the web. I have other outlets in my life for my real passions, that doesn’t need to be my day job. I am working on getting the balance right in these areas and should have it licked around 2068 I think.


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