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Measuring Your Importance at Work

October 30, 2016 2 comments

REVISION 10/31/2016: I made an explicit Assessment Guide with examples and revised the scoring interpretation as appropriate.

I wondered the other day if there was some anecdotal measure that can be used to attempt to quantify how important you are in the office.

I eventually came up with some measures to figure out one’s importance at work.  I’ve tried to take into consideration the nature of the work involved and all the relevant parties at stake that will influence one’s sense of importance.  Obviously whatever these measures are, these are going to be subjective and outright arbitrary.  Note that these measures operate on the premise that such items mentioned are part of the normal conduct of business, and so are expected.  If your industry doesn’t make use of such heavily, then, in this day and age, probably the work involved isn’t as important to require it, too.

Assessment Guide:

1. Factors of importance are divided into categories.  Review your work experience in the last 12 months, with emphasis on the last three months in particular, when assessing how many points you can earn for each description in each category.

2. Each category has descriptions of the category in question in varying degrees of importance, with corresponding points assigned to it for purposes of designating a measure for the same.  If you typically experience what’s described, then take the corresponding points allocated to it.  The maximum number of points you can earn for each category is 155 points – this means you experience a majority of the descriptions.

Example: Category: Tasks – Within the last several months you experience a fair amount each of what’s described except for the last item that has negative points; in this case you earn all the points, a total of 155 points, for this category.

3. Negative points become applicable if you experience what’s described at least 50% of the time in the last three months.  Such is an indication that you are trending to NOT be important in this particular category, therefore they supersede whatever points you could have earned from the other descriptions.

Example: Category: Tasks – You experience a fair amount each of what’s described, and if this continued then you would have earned the full 155 points.  However for the last three months, half of that time you were literally not given anything to do.  Because of that, you don’t earn 155 points but instead merit the -50 points for this category.

The maximum score is pegged at 930 points.

Category: Tasks

Points Description
0 You are given a task just so that you have something to do – there is no significance / impact in what’s asked of you.
+5 You are given tasks but the deadlines for such aren’t pressing.
+10 The deadline of the task(s) is (are) on the same day you get it – or worse, the deadline was yesterday.
+20 You are given more tasks than you have the time to complete them within the required deadlines.  You have more than a full workload.
+30 You are given additional work on top of the more than full workload that you already have.
+40 You get assigned to help out with the tasks of other people because they can’t complete it without you and so your help is crucial.  This is more additional work on top of your more than full workload.
+50 You are given tasks considered as “critical.”  By “critical,” this means the future of the company (and consequently your career) is dependent on it and the company needs you to make it work.
-50 You are literally not assigned any task at all.  What the hell are you doing?

Category: E-mails

Points Description
+0 You are just part of the distribution, or are copied, just for your information.
+5 The e-mail is addressed to you for your reply or action – but your response doesn’t seem pressing.
+10 The e-mail is addressed to you for your reply or action – and your response is urgent.
+20 You are expected to check and respond to e-mail outside of business hours.
+30 Despite your best efforts to get caught up in e-mail, the volume of unread you have to deal with is obstinately ridiculous.  You delete all the “noise” and still end up with a ton of important e-mail.
+40 The audience copied in the e-mails is mostly people that are part of senior management and / or the leadership team of the company.  Your response to the matter is important enough for them to see it – it should have their visibility.
+50 The e-mail is an escalation for your intervention.
-50 You are literally not getting any e-mail at all.  Translation: Nobody bothers to at least tell you anything via this channel of communication.  As a result, you don’t know what’s happening.  The only things you hear about what happens in the company are what you hear in the news instead of any internal communication; it feels like you’re not even part of the company.

Category: Calls and Texts

Points Description
+0 You get texts to inform you of something.
+5 You get texts that are asking something from you or telling you to do something – but your response doesn’t seem pressing.
+10 You get texts that are asking something from you or telling you to do something – and your response is urgent.
+20 You are called to be informed of something, asked of something, or told to do something, instead of just getting texted about it.  The matter is important enough that the person needs to talk to you immediately.
+30 You are expected to always be on call and thus never turn off your phone – even if it’s technically not required for you to be such.
+40 You get calls and texts during off hours and most especially during the late evening and early morning hours of the weekday, weekend, and holidays.
+50 You are called upon so much such that it feels like you no longer have a personal life outside of work.  You end up working, in one way or another, even during your vacation time.
-50 You don’t hear anything at all outside of official business hours – that by itself isn’t bad, but it becomes bad if out of curiosity you ask someone what’s happening in the office, but you don’t get any response.  You send a text but never receive a reply.  You try calling but no one answers.

Meetings

Points Description
+0 You are invited to meetings as an optional attendee.
+5 You are invited to meetings as a required attendee, mostly in a participative / inclusive capacity.
+10 You are invited to meetings as a required attendee to make decisions, give and set the direction, provide guidance, and related.  You get invited to meetings to resolve conflicts.
+20 You are invited to pre-meeting meetings – meetings held to prepare for the actual meeting, because the actual meeting is important enough such that this type of meeting should exist.
+30 You are invited to multiple meetings that conflict with each other in schedule and / or priority and / or objective – you are needed by a lot of people.  It’s an endless string of meetings – and the topics don’t even necessarily matter to you.  It’s hard to do any real work because the only time you have is used to attend meetings.
+40 Meeting organizers rearrange their meeting schedules to accommodate your schedule.  The meeting is cancelled because you cannot attend and there’s no other available schedule.  Nothing can happen and nothing will happen without you.
+50 E-mail is not enough.  And even a virtual meeting can no longer cut it.  Meetings with you are scheduled in person.  And if that means travel is required, then you go show up to where the meeting is held – or the people that need to talk to you show up where you are.
-50 You are not invited to any meeting at all while most if not everybody is asked to attend one or several meetings – you are intentionally excluded.

Category: Online Presence

Points Description
+0 You are expected to be online and reasonably available during business hours.
+5 People ping you for whatever reason because you have something they need.
+10 People ping you for something urgent.  They ping back and nag every so often.
+20 You experience the “Christmas Lights effect.”  Your taskbar is lighting up from multiple pings of various people – it’s a ping storm such that there’s a challenge to reply back to each one in a timely manner.
+30 The matter is important enough that people ping you to ask to talk to you live – either immediately, or at the soonest possible time, because chatting about it isn’t sufficient anymore.
+40 You are expected to be online and available all the time, literally 24 x 7, and not allowed to go on “Do Not Disturb.”
+50 People contact you via your personal instant messaging platform or on social media for work related matters.  The normal business channels of communication aren’t enough to ensure you are reachable.  Personal space has become indistinguishable from professional space, even in the online world.
-50 You are online and available but no one bothers to ping you at all – most if not all the time.  A lot of people seem to be offline even during business hours – you have been blocked!

Category: Recognition

Points Description
+0 Your output is at least acknowledged by your immediate supervisor, but nothing more.
+5 You get credit and recognition for your individual contribution, within your team, up to the management of your team.
+10 You get public recognition with the larger organization.
+20 You are rewarded with compensation that is substantial and meaningful.
+30 You have name recall with management.  Your reputation for producing good work rewards you with even more work.  If something important comes up, then it’s given to you because by doing so it’s as good as done and sure to be a success.  You get all the best career-making assignments which positions you for further future success and advancement.
+40 Your influence is such that what you say is The Law, and everybody should listen to you and comply with what you dictate.  Your opinion over certain matters is so valuable to the point that your arrogance over such is tolerated.
+50 You are credited for the work that other people put in a lot of effort for, simply because of your mere presence in the project, and not from any actual “hard” contribution to it.  Your mere association with the project is enough to give you credit for it.
-50 Expectations from you are so low such that the work given to you is commensurate to that; any output is relatively insignificant and not worthy of any mention or note.  People simply don’t care about the output you provide, even if you did something wonderful.

SCORING:

Get a total of all the points you earned in each category.  Your level of importance scales in relation to how involved you are – either by choice or otherwise – in the organization.  The higher your points, the more important you are.  And the more important you are, the more you get dragged into more work.

  • Less than 0 points: You’re useless.  Expect to be fired soon – be surprised that such hasn’t happened yet!
  • 0 points: You’re not important and are therefore expendable.
  • Between 5 – 30 points: You’re still not important, but at least not expendable – not yet.  You serve a purpose in the organization, at the very least – and likely, your purpose is also “at the very least.”
  • Between 30 to 300 points: You’re somewhat important to a certain extent, but your importance is not yet substantial enough to be considered worthy of note.  You’re someone who is almost important – emphasis on “almost.”
  • Between 300 to 900 points: At the lower end you’re just enough to be considered important – congratulations!  The higher your points, the more important you are.
  • 900 points and above: You are one of the most, if not THE most, important person in the organization.  The company will go to hell without you because you’re its lord and savior.

On a side-note: I’m starting to wonder if this line of satirical thinking is a bit of my cynical streak manifesting itself, too.

Using this point system, I conservatively rate myself at 350 points – the bare minimum to be considered “important” by these standards.  (In an earlier version of the Assessment Guide, I only earned 130 points; I wasn’t sure if I should count this as “good enough” or a cause for concern, but the new guide provides a better relative assessment.)

For what it’s worth for me, I see this as an exercise in humility, albeit in a somewhat-convoluted way.  It reminds me that no matter how important I think I am, no matter how much I think I should be given the importance I supposedly deserve, there will always be people who are substantially better than I ever will be.  These people are the more important ones in the organization that deserve whatever praise and benefits that ought to be given to people like them, especially since the stakes that involve them are so much higher.

If you ever wondered how important you are at work, then you can use this to try and measure your impact.  May the odds be ever in your favor (i.e. hope your numbers look good).

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Categories: Ideas and Philosophy

First Impressions

October 18, 2016 1 comment

It’s said that first impressions last.  It’s for this reason that it’s crucial to make a good first impression because that’s what will linger in the minds of people for a long while.  And such can influence how they interact with you moving forward (if at all they even feel comfortable interacting with you after their first encounter!).

It’s unfair to judge a person from just the first interaction you have with him or her.  You don’t know his or her life story; everyone is more than what you just see on the surface if you find the time to get to know them better.

That being said, I think a first impression is a candid, point-in-time snapshot reflective of a person’s character and personality.  If you had to randomly check on someone to see who they really are, then a first impression can give that sneak peek.

I can imagine how stressful it can be if you’re always conscious of what people think of you, especially when it comes to the first impression you make to them.  At the end of the day it’s still more important to be you.  People should see the real version of you; it’s still better to be genuine than fake.  Ultimately people will judge you no matter what you do anyway; what they think of you, right or wrong, is not your concern anymore.  Be who you are and let their first impressions be damned. 🙂

Categories: Ideas and Philosophy

Faith is a Gift

October 15, 2016 Leave a comment

One of the Gospel passages this week was one story about the Pharisees requesting for a definitive sign from Jesus just so that they can believe without any doubt that He is the Christ.  Jesus refused to give them a sign except that of Jonah and his three days inside the belly of a fish – and of course, there was something greater than this in their midst.

I’m reminded of some related reflections I had on this topic.

One possible sign to make people believe is if the devil actually showed up.  God doesn’t want us to feel forced to love Him and follow His commandments, even if such are for our own good, out of respect for our free will.  The sight of pure evil will be shocking enough to encourage people to stop sinning – but this will only be done out of fear, not out of love.  Besides, the devil would want us to believe he doesn’t exist because he’s more effective in operating covertly.  If we see outright that he’s leading us to our ruin then we will resist even harder.

Another sign that could make people believe is if God showed His might in the grandest way possible.  Entering today’s scene, essentially showing Himself to everybody will definitely display all His power and might.  People will follow and obey Him henceforth.  Although that looks all nice and what-not, the level of freedom that people operate with to come to such a decision seems limited.  They’re not following Jesus out of love for Him; they’re doing it just because He has proven that He is God, and everything that comes with that.  In other words, they’re doing it out of fear.  And God doesn’t want us to love Him out of fear, for such isn’t true love at all.  Besides, to the truly obstinate, no show of force or grandiose display of miracles will ever convince them to believe.  Their hearts are closed to the truth, and for such people, showing off one’s power is just a waste of time.

The take-away I got from the priest’s Homily is this: For Faith to be a gift, it must be free.  It must be free from any coercing influence that will require someone to believe whether they want to or not.  No matter how good something is, out of respect for their desires and choices, people should still have the option to reject it.  If you have to force someone to believe in something then maybe such isn’t as definitive and real as you claim it to be.  And even if such were true beyond reasonable doubt, there’s nothing you can do for the person who refuses to believe despite all the evidence you present.

Categories: Religion

Salary Administration Insights

October 9, 2016 Leave a comment

I’ve been doing salary administration work for my team for the last few days. This activity has reminded me of a few things.

It’s important to be recognized for the work you do. But at the most basic level, it still comes down to the financial benefit you get out of your work. Some people don’t mind working for free, and for these people they can do so because they can afford to do so. But for most of us, the whole point of a job is to be able to earn enough to live the life we want to live. We are in business for a reason, after all: We work to generate revenue for the organization we’re a part of, and we get compensated for our contributions to that goal. For as long as we’re getting paid right, I think we should be fine. And hopefully in the course of doing our jobs, we also make a career out of it, and enjoy most of the time doing so.

Speaking for myself, I admit there’s a part of me that still craves for appreciation and praise for my own output. Anecdotal feedback suggests that the higher you are in the organization, the more work you do and the less recognition you get. I don’t know how widespread this phenomenon is, but at least speaking for myself, I certainly feel it.

…Employees often see managing others as a badge of pride, not realizing the immense responsibility that comes along with it – managers work harder, have higher pressure and often get less recognition than staff not holding these management roles. – The Single Most Poisonous Factor in the Workplace Today

But at the end of the day, I don’t have to care for that which I crave for if I’m still paid fairly for my work – which of course will only happen if my output is at least noted, never mind if it’s appreciated or praised. And with the pay I get, I realized I can’t complain. The end credit for work I do can go to whoever wants it. For as long as I do what’s expected from me to the best of my abilities, and I’m still properly compensated for the same, I’ll be just fine – it’s just work, after all.

All things considered, this is a humbling reminder to me to be grateful for what I have, and I am.

Categories: Ideas and Philosophy

Ask and You Will Receive the Lord

October 9, 2016 1 comment

One of the priests that celebrate Mass at the Saint John Paul II Parish made an interesting call out for the Gospel reading last Thursday, October 6.

The following is a version of a passage of the Gospel according to St. Matthew.

The Answer to Prayers

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asks for a loaf of bread, or a snake when he asks for a fish? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him.  (Matthew 7:7 – 11)

The following is a version of the same passage of the Gospel, but this time according to St. Luke, but with a highlight on the call out the priest made, and some commentary from the U.S. Catholic Bishops’ Conference that supports it, too.

The Answer to Prayer

“And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg?  If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the holy Spirit* to those who ask him?”  (Luke 11: 9 – 13)

* [11:13] The holy Spirit: this is a Lucan editorial alteration of a traditional saying of Jesus (see Mt 7:11). Luke presents the gift of the holy Spirit as the response of the Father to the prayer of the Christian disciple.

It’s a nice reminder that at the end of the day, even if we get everything that we ever want in this world and then some, the only thing that will truly fulfill the deep longing of our heart is God.  And so it truly is a blessing to finally receive the Lord when we seek and ask for Him to be part of our life.

But seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. (Matthew 6:33)

Let’s continue to ask God for what we need and want in life.  But let’s not forget to prioritize asking for Him.

Categories: Religion