I wasn’t always a good worker. I was young and stupid once upon a time.
One of my first jobs, at Arby’s I was insulted that they didn’t recognize how important I was in my own head. At my break they told me to hurry back as we were getting a rush. I was so offended they didn’t know how hard I had worked already that I never went back.
Factory work was the next step for me – assembly plants, plastic injection molding, silk-screen printing and furniture (fabricated wood mostly and working with glazes for sweet finishes). That was more to my liking – everyone seemed to be a drinker (like me) and I was introduced to some other fun things not to be mentioned.
I just showed up to collect the paycheck and see friends and then I’d head to the bar or home and complain, to who ever would listen, how awful my job was. Many a job was lost because I called in sick a lot, fell asleep on the job or just didn’t care.
I somehow found myself working in an office overnights at a half-way house. The secretary would ask me if I could do tasks for her and I said sure… having no idea how to actually do what she wanted. I taught myself how to use Microsoft Windows back in 1994.. amazing as that was. I found that I was actually not to bad at figuring out how to use computers for that type of thing.
One job after another after another and each job in an office environment I learned something new. I dabbled in database design, worked in MSDos, learned the ins and outs of the Microsoft Office suite and just generally liked learning all the stuff.
I ended up in Washington DC as a data manager type guy eventually. But I started to do things that went above and beyond that. I would look around at the department and try to discover what I could do to help other people with their work. I began to think outside of my regular duties and see what was stressing others out and then started to focus on that. Honestly, I found that pretty rewarding. I was able to get out of myself a bit and focus on helping someone else – as a result, my day got better… imagine that, focusing on my co-workers helped me to have a better day at work.
I also discovered I was quite good at what I did. Took me a long time to realize that and believe in myself but I did get there eventually. Not surprisingly to a lot of you I imagine, this comes and goes and there are days when I’m sure they’re about to discover I’m a fraud and have been for 20 years now.
I interviewed for a job as an office manager for a small architectural firm in 2006, I didn’t make a good impression but I did land a job – not as the Office Manager, but as an administrative assistant to their new office manager. I really think I just didn’t interview well and therefore didn’t get the job.. might have had something to do with telling one of the interviewers “the reason you get a ton of emails telling you about pills to make your dick bigger is because of the sites you visit” which I still think is true, but I probably could have said it better than I did. The office manager they hired didn’t really work out – she spent a lot of time on her cell phone with people, took long lunches and I was doing everything she was supposed to do in addition to what I was supposed to do. Wasn’t long (2 months maybe) before she was gone and I stepped into the role… didn’t need an administrative assistant to help me either.
It was a great job and allowed me to learn a little bit about accounting that I had never delved into before as well as how to support 4 -5 people in an office. I was having a grand time coordinating travel, planning site visits, writing reports and sending out invoices. I was thriving… so of course the job came to an end due to a riff between the two owners. I left with one of the owners and we started our own firm doing the same thing. The two of us doing what we enjoyed doing and that was a lot of fun.
Now days I am the Clerk of the Works at an insurance firm. The boss coined the name and it’s stuck with me – thus the name of the new blog. In my current position I deal a lot with insurance also training people, going to dreaded meetings and thinking of ways to get more done.
I work with temps who come in to help us with the workload and with direct hires that interviewed and read well enough for us to take them on. Surprisingly, to me, some of these people don’t have the faintest idea how to work with others, be part of a team and function. I don’t understand it.
There is a lot of talk on social media and in the press that says Millennials have ruined the workplace with always being on their phones, expecting participation trophies and whining… I’ve found this isn’t a Millennial thing, it’s all ages and all types of skill sets. There are reasons for behaviors and ways to address them other than just blaming certain demographics.
This is post one of what I hope is many and is the first thing I’ve written in quite a long time. I had a blog previously titled BookofJamez but I have shut it down and decided to do this one instead. I’m not looking to get rich or famous – people would want to spend time with me or talk to me and that’s not in my top 642 things I’d want. I just needed an outlet for my thoughts and sometimes frustrations.
This blog is going to be about work, not particular stories in my office… unless they are relevant but about what it takes to be a Clerk of the Works, how to do things in an office environment that will have you named an indispensable part of an organization..
We’ll talk about software, hardware, methods and madness that can happen in an office and maybe someone will use what’s shared to improve their current situation. It’s going to show folks how to learn to love their job.
That’s my hope anyway.
I’m going to do my best not to pretend to be the ultimate authority on things but also be open minded to what others might have to say about things… unless it’s about dreaded meetings… no one wants those.