Are We On The Same Page?

*First published on September 28, 2006 at 

When I left my last job at a bank to work at home, I gave up daily adult conversations, complimentary sodas and snacks, and the inevitable weekly paper cut. While I do miss the free Rice Krispy Treats, root beer, and chatting it up with co-workers, I’m not missing the corporate buzz words and phrases. I now have a whole new way of using them to get my troops fired up! This is what most of you hear at your offices… 

“Okay, everybody quiet down and take your seats. Let’s get this 360-degree feedback session started. We have a lot of action items to go over and I need to make sure we are all on the same page. We have some customer-driven issues to resolve. I want you all to be dialing and smiling when you are on the phone today. Let’s make it happen, folks! We’ll be here 24/7 until the problems are fixed across the board!

Now I am in charge of the meetings and they go something like this…

“BE QUIET! Please stop ramming that monster truck into your baby sister! Don’t make me repeat myself! I said…DON’T MAKE ME REPEAT MYSELF! Okay, baby girl, let’s see if those are some action items I smell in your diaper. Yep, it’s all over your radar screen. Hey buddy, I’ll be upstairs for a few minutes putting out fires. Keep up the multi-tasking down here until we get back.”

I’ve never had a problem thinking outside the box when it came to work. I am a big supporter of working smarter, not harder. There were many times at work when I would take an idea and throw it against the wall to see if it would stick.

You think you know where this is going, don't you? I promise it’s not about throwing poop against the wall to see if it will stick.

“Alright kids. Here is what we have on the agenda for today. First item out of the chute will be a mission-critical project designed to get you to think outside the box. It is a team-building exercise that will bring you closer together as brother and sister. Let’s mix this peanut butter, waffle syrup, and biscuit dough in a bowl. You’re doing great. Now I really want you to stretch the envelope here and put your best foot forward. Use the tools provided to you and roll this mix into little balls. I’ll be back in ten to check on you. No, we don’t need to preheat the oven. We’re going outside to throw them against the wall to see if they stick!

When you are at work and you hear your boss talking about the big picture when it comes to outsourcing your job, be proactive, not reactive. Show the boss you are capable of blue-sky thinking and that you are an asset to the company. You can do this in many ways, but it will help if you take the initiative and schedule some one-on-one sessions with your mentor. Your company probably has an open door policy and having this face time will help you portray your value-added skill sets in hopes of keeping your job.

In a way, the kids are my bosses. They are not really in charge, but rely on my multi-tasking skills and the ability to move forward in a crisis situation. Since I am in no real danger of having my job at home outsourced to another country, I don’t have to worry so much about being downsized. If my children did decide that my performance was not up to the industry standard, I would have these choice words for them…

“FINE! Fire me! Let’s see how well you perform at the end of the day with this so-called game plan of yours! We all know that you will have a hard time finding someone else that can handle mapping out the solutions to your everyday needs! I know Mommy could do it, but she’s already burning the candle at both ends and will surely stand behind me on this issue. What we have now is a win-win situation. You kids just stay focused on playing, singing, and reading while the adults handle the work. That’s what I thought you would say. I’m glad we are all on the same page now. Don’t be threatening any more lay-offs unless you are ready to buckle down and start pulling your weight around here.”

Well, that about sums up our brainstorming meeting for today. I know you all have a full plate of work to attend to, so stop surfing the web on the company dollar. Pull the trigger on that idea you have and hit the ground running! Your boss will appreciate the 110% effort you give and that you are willing to go the extra mile for the good of the company. And when the work day is over, go to happy hour with your co-workers for a team-building session. You deserve it.