I’ve had this post sitting in my drafts folder for a while now.  One of my new year’s resolutions was to work through or delete draft blog posts.  This one seemed important enough not to delete and it came up in conversation this afternoon.

Ideally we strive for a healthy work/life balance.  We all want to come home at the end of the day, unwind, do our thing and not have to think about work until the next day.  Depending upon your job, acheiving a happy balance is either easy or difficult.  A lot of times when starting a new job it’s very difficult to have a healthy work/life balance, but eventually as you learn the ropes and work gets easier, the scale evens out.

Social networking has thrown a bit of a wrinkle into this equation.  All of us seem to be online 24/7, whether updating our Facebook status, tweeting where we are eating dinner, posting pics of our pets to FriendFeed – whatever your social network of choice – our lives, both professional and personal are available for all to see.  This is both good and bad.

Good:  We can connect with others professionally and personally.  We find people with similar interests.  We feel connected to a larger community.  We can learn from one another.

Bad: As managers our staff can read these updates and posts and while our intent may be one thing, their reading and interpretation of it may be entirely different.  Not. Good.

So what to do?  Do we censor our online selves?  Do we only post off the clock?  Do we nuke our social networking profiles?  My answer to all of these is an emphatic no with a word to the wise:  be mindful.  We don’t need to censor ourselves, but we may need to choose our words more carefully.  We may need to consider the time we are posting.  Does your Facebook status of, “Don’t mind me, my head just imploded” refer to that staff meeting you had an hour ago?  Well, even if it doesn’t your staff may think it does since you posted it after the meeting.  Yes, there are coincidences in life, but most people don’t think of coicidences first, they think the worst case scenario.  Usually the worst case scenario involves you, the manager, being upset at them, the staff.

Our online personas tell a lot about the people we are and what we are doing and thinking.  As a manager, you need to keep that in the back of your mind at all times.  Perception is important and when it goes bad, it is hard to repair.  There is a time and a place to share thoughts and feelings about work, be mindful of what you are sharing and when.


Change is Good

January 5, 2010

Yesterday, Colleen and I were walking back from lunch and we ran into one of our staff whom I had not seen since before the holidays.  She had a very good holiday season as she became engaged, bought a new home and new furnishings.  Naturally, she was beyond happy. You could see her happiness coming from every pore of her body.  Her effusiveness while telling us about her latest life happenings, her body language, her eyes…..all spectacularly happy.  It was absolutely contagious.

Around May of 2009, this particular staff member was informed that her position that she has dutifully performed for 10 years was going away due to budget issues.  She was literally handed a new job description.  One that had absolutely nothing to do with the type of work she had been doing.  I was impressed with her positive attitude about this situation then and to say that now would be the biggest understatement on the planet.  She has embraced every aspect of her new position with energy, enthusiasm and flexibility.  It is amazing to watch and I could not be any more proud to have her in our department.

In our conversation yesterday she kept repeating something: “Change is good.  It is hard at first, but you have to go through.  It’s scary, but sometimes when something isn’t working you have to make a change.”  She recognized how much change she has gone through in her professional life this past year, and admits that while it was scary at first, in the end it turned out to be a good thing.

Her feelings nicely sum up my own thoughts about work and life.  Change is good.  We may not always realize it when it is happening, but if we allow ourselves to take a step back, give it some time or space, and look at it objectively we will find something positive.  I’m hoping to continue the trend of positive change that we’ve been riding in ADS for the past two years.  I am hoping that 2010 will be the year ADS kicks ass.  I think with people like this in the department there is no way that can’t happen.