As the year comes to a close, it’s time to both reflect back and look forward. In the office you are likely wrapping up thoughts on things like your goals and objectives, both made and missed through the 2011 calendar year. And, at the same time you are likely looking forward to 2012. The planning of 12 months of goals, objectives, milestones and tasks. All, while people hover over your cube wall (literally) and in your email (virtually) asking for updates on a quarter-hour basis on some super urgent project that no one will look at until the 2nd week in January. But, I digress.
Me, I’m looking back at the past 12 months with a slightly sinister smile. I’m very proud of all I’ve accomplished in the past year, given the many challenges and obstacles put in front of me (many by a-hole coworkers both covering their butts and trying to make themselves look better at your expense). Mostly however I’m
proud happy shocked that I do what I do. I mean seriously, I may be middle aged and “experienced” but I feel like I’m quite often a kid when it comes to all of this. In fact, one thing Mom taught me can best be summed up by the idea of “Fake it until you make it!” See, I’ve learned that you don’t always need to have the answers, in fact the vast majority of time you don’t need to know them at all. But, knowing who does know the answers, well that may be even more important
So, as I look back fondly on 2011 and look forward to 2012, I’d like to bring you my Top 7 (I hate top 10 lists) New Year’s Cubicle Resolutions (insert drum roll here)
#1 – Limit my Inbox to less than 20 items by day’s end.
This is one of those productivity things folks. I used to be great at this. Actually years ago I had a bet with an old boss to see how long we could keep this up (he lost). How do I accomplish this? Well, it’s pretty simple really. No action for me, an FYI? Skim and delete. Does it call for my action? Well then go with what Nike says…Just Do It! And, move on. Plus if you accidentally (on purpose) delete something, and it’s important, trust me. It. Will. Come. Back.
#2 – Use my vacation time.
It’s harder and harder to use that yearly vacation with all the demands put on you. I’m constantly bumping up against my company’s maximum accrued hours, because I just can’t use it all. And, if you don’t you lose it. PTO or vacation time is a benefit and it’s best for all if you actually do use it. It get’s it off the company’s books and you are recharged (at least until you walk back into the office and are crushed by the weight of your inbox-see #1). So screw it, no longer will I count on my unused PTO time as my “going away bonus” when I quit or get fired. I’m going to use it. And, in fact I’m posting this while on holiday right now!
#3 – Turn off during off hours.
That made me laugh. I mean what are “off hours” anyway? With iPhones, BlackBerries, Android-thingies, VPN’s, Outlook Web Access, etc, it’s WAY too easy to be connected 24×7. But, is that really necessary? I mean seriously, unless you are an on-call surgeon or the POTUS, do you really need to be connected 24×7, during holidays and while on vacation at some remote, tropical island?
Let me see if I can answer this. Hell friggin no you don’t! My Dad taught me some stuff too. He taught me that you can work hard during the day and turn off. Of course, he didn’t have a cell phone or email for 99% of his professional career, but that’s beside the point. When he was home, he was home, not sneaking glances at his iPhAndroiBerry under the table while Mom bitched him out for it. Nope, when I pull into my suburban driveway and I see my family looming in my headlights I’m going to turn work off (and turn the big game on…shhh).
#4 – I’m going to say NO more often.
It used to be that Yes Men got everything. They sucked up to the boss by constantly saying “sure I can do that”, “That’s a great idea bossman”, “Thank you sir may I have another”. But, over the past 2 or so years I’ve seen a new trend. More often than not those in management positions (aka The Man) say no. They often will come out and say something like, “that’s a great idea, however, given our current resources and plans, it’s just not something we can prioritize right now.” Damn that’s smooth – he said 20 words, gave a compliment, effectively said no AND didn’t even use the word NO. That my fellow cell cubicle dwellers is a pro at work. So, screw it, I’m saying NO more often.
#5 – I’m going to be more direct.
This country is a bunch of politically correct pansies (see I’m already doing it). People are afraid to offend others. In our quest to build the Great Utopia we believe we must be sensitive and cognizant of others feelings all the time. Well screw that. Sometimes it’s just best to call it like it is. When Cubicle George is having one of his many “come drink the Kool-Aid with me” calls from his cube and my Cubicle George-canceling headphones aren’t doing the trick, I’m going to tell him to get a room. After all, he’s disturbing the Facebook surfing status updates of the other 10 nearby
cell-mates co-workers and he really needs to go to a conference room.
#6 – Be more self-promoting.
Mom always said, be a team player. You don’t win – the team does. And, the team doesn’t fail – you take responsibility. After all, there’s no I in team. Ok that’s fine and dandy, but there’s also no look-the-team-got-promoted-more-money-an-office-and-a-assistant in team either. Let’s face it, Norm from Cheers may have said it best when he said, “It’s a dog eat dog world, and I’m wearing Milk Bone underwear.” Essentially, it’s every man and woman for themselves. So, I’m going to take credit and I’m going to let the world know.
#7 – Resist the urge to punch a certain coworker in the throat.
Let’s face it, we all have that coworker. I’ve got George. He’s a walking blow-hard, loud, HR-nightmare, sexual harassment lawsuit in the making. He needs a good punch in the throat and, in more than one occasion, I’ve been close to doing it. But, times are tough. Jobs are not easy to come by. And, punching George, despite how utterly satisfying it would be, would not be wise. So, in the spirit of being a better man I will resist the urge to go ape dung on George – at least until I see if we get a quarterly bonus (yeah like that will happen).
So there you have it, my 7 New Years Cubicle Resolutions.
What are your resolutions?
And, the real question is: What’s the over/under for when I will break all of these lofty goals?