Every year our fabulous boss sends out a special It’s-Independence-Day-YAY!-And-We’ve-Hit-the-Mid-Year-Point-YAY AGAIN! email right before we head out for a our time off for the 4th of July. Marcy’s father was a distinguished World War II veteran and a history teacher, so these communications serve to honor him while simultaneously preparing us to enjoy our time off and get ready to take on Qs 3 and 4.
It is with her permission that I paraphrase and share this year’s “Annual 4th of July Message.”
The 4th of July is quickly approaching which means it’s the MID YEAR point. A time for summer cook outs, fireworks and the celebration of our nation’s 239th birthday! As always, it’s my opportunity for a history lesson combined with some reflective thoughts on our work.
In past communications, I’ve commented on different branches of the military, our operating beliefs/philosophy in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the struggle that resulted in the Gettysburg Address, and our country’s Pledge of Allegiance. Last year, it was the power of visual symbols and how they evoke emotion and stability during times of change and turmoil.
While philosophy, a tone of voice, and symbols are paramount, it’s critical that a form of governing is in place to carry out the ideals properly. So, my next topic is… wait for it… GOVERNMENT!
A brief refresher…
The Founding Fathers, the framers of our Constitution, wanted to form a government that did not allow one person to have too much control. With this in mind, the framers wrote the Constitution to provide for a separation of powers, or three separate branches of government. Each has its own responsibilities and at the same time they work together to make the country run smoothly and to assure that the rights of citizens are not ignored or disallowed. This is done through checks and balances. A branch may use its powers to check the powers of the other two in order to maintain a balance of power among the three branches of government. These branches all deal with law – the legislative branch makes the laws, the executive branch carries out the laws and the judicial branch evaluates laws. The purpose of law is to preserve freedom and moral agency.
So looking at this from a work perspective…
The closest thing we have to “laws” can be found in the our Employee Handbook, and in our Polices and Operating Procedures. Here, the company outlines “rules” on how to dress, how to use social media, and the expectation of professionalism. This provides us with a framework for behavior. In addition, each of us has an internal set of rules we follow in our personal life: My 30+ years in the workforce helped me figure out a few rules of my own. Now I will share them with you.
10 of “Marcy’s Rules” of the Workplace:
- Align objectives with abilities.
It’s important to take the time to think about what you are really good at or can become very good at, this includes assessing your existing skills and knowledge as well as your ability to learn and master new things.
- Think a few steps ahead.
Effort without a clear plan is likely to not produce the desired outcome.
- Take measured risks.
Every new endeavor carries some degree of risk. Of course, all risk-taking should be measured and responsible in nature.
- Learn how to get unstuck.
Think of ways around the problem so that you can maintain your progress.
- Work hard.
Once you identify your goal, be willing to put in the requisite time and effort to make your dreams a reality.
- Take rejection standing up.
Countless success stories began with multiple rejections and setbacks at the outset. Every NO is one step closer to YES. See Step 4.
- Refine your people skills.
This is perhaps the most important. Despite our increased use of technology, our ability to interact with and gain the support and trust of others remains critical. Learn how to speak so that others will listen. In the end, all things being equal, people will hire or select those whom they like and relate best to. Consider it the human side of doing business.
- Karma happens but you may not see it.
Don’t waste your energy dwelling on negatives – no good comes of that for you. Stay focused on you and let karma take care of the rest, it always does.
- All things are not equal, strive for fair.
I compare this to being graded on a curve – there is always a high and low score and that can change depending on who is taking the test. But one thing is for sure someone ends up on the top and the bottom. The workplace can seem unfair and sometimes things are out of your control. Priorities shift, economies change and new technology becomes required. What you can control is your ability to put yourself in an environment you feel is fair and ALWAYS keep your skills up to date!
- Work to live don’t live to work.
Have interests outside of work. Your mind needs a break, it can help you be creative.
Lastly, the more you know the more you forgive. I’ve seen a lot of things happen in the workplace that left me scratching my head. And I’m sure that my actions have been the cause of an itch or two from time to time. No one is perfect but I believe that all of my coworkers try to do their best. So, regardless if you are starting your career or working on retirement, please wake up every day, knowing YOU add value to our organization. Happy 4th of July… I wish all of you a wonderful Holiday Weekend!
SEE!! I TOLD you she was fabulous!
Happy Independence Day!
*Photo courtesy of Chad Hutson.