Monday, December 7, 2009

Urgent Requests

Why do they do it? How do they do it? How do they manage to come up with urgent projects at the end of the day, at the end of the week, or, as happened to me last week, just as I was about to take two days of leave? Of course, when I asked on Wednesday at 4 p.m. when the information was needed, I was told it was needed by close of business on Friday. It couldn't possibly wait till Monday. I was in a hurry to leave for an appointment so I promised to get done by the deadline, even though I would be out of the office.

On Friday morning I sat down at home in my sweats to work on the project. I figured it would take an hour, tops. Unfortunately, it was not to be. Turned out I needed information from other people, two of whom did not have updated information. I worked on the project for quite a while, then rushed around doing the other things I had to get done. Just as I thought I was going to get everything done by the deadline, I discovered a disconnect between two sources of information. I ended up having to email the attorney that one piece of information would not be available until Monday.

Amazingly, when I sent the email, nothing happened! There was no lightning and thunder and the world continued to spin on its axis.

I know the legal field is not the only field where urgent requests turn out to be not as urgent as described, but surely it is one of the worst offenders. Those making the requests usually make no allowances for vacations, holidays, personal commitments, or even other work responsibilities.

Having worked as a paralegal for a while, I've come to expect these situations. And while I will always do my best to meet a deadline, particularly an urgent one, I know most of them have some wiggle room, if necessary. Especially if it means getting accurate information.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Taking the High Road

There's at least one in every office. The person who drives you crazy. The person who can make you lose your cool by doing or saying something so irritating, so unnecessary, so off-putting, so - well, you get the idea. Sometimes these people are blissfully unaware how much they get under people's skin. Sometimes these people have figured out they can push your buttons and enjoy nothing more than continuing to do just that.

While it is oh-so-tempting to tell these people off, to let them know that their statements or actions are inappropriate, unprofessional, etc., don't. I know they deserve to be told what their problems are and no one would deny that they have it coming. But don't do it.

The problem with blasting these annoying zipperheads is that the only person who will look bad is you. While everyone else would love to join you in verbally smacking them, doing so would be unprofessional. There is never a defense for behaving unprofessionally and your wrong will definitely not make a right.

So, take a deep breath, roll your eyes as you walk back to your desk, change the topic of conversation if you can't get away, and try not to let it bother you today.

No one ever regretted taking the high road.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Holiday Stress at Work

It's the holidays and some of your coworkers may not handle the stress well. I wrote the poem below a couple of years ago when the atmosphere at my office was rather unpleasant. Hey, it was either write this poem or say something unprofessional to the worst offenders! I figured this was a much better way to deal with the stress. Enjoy!


‘Twas early December and Christmas was nigh
Emotions (and hormones) were all running high
Comments were snippy, feelings got hurt
Many thought others were just much too curt
Stress and anxiety both ruled the day
And bad attitudes seemed here to stay
Then it occurred to all the stressed-out
That each one could help, without any doubt
By changing their attitudes, being less rude
Not taking offense where none was imbued
By keeping their focus on doing their work
And not getting involved in being a jerk
They then found the others’ shortcomings less frightful
Which made the environment much more delightful
People were calmer, interactions more kind
And they were reminded to all bear in mind
That they all worked together, they were on the same team
And people aren’t usually as bad as they seem
They could all get along to get the work done
And working together meant each of them won
No more concerned about things that don’t matter
No more desire for negative chatter
The employees no longer complained without reason
And focused instead on the joy of the season

©2007 Ellen Lockwood