Tag Archives: Work

Off Site – Sailing Trip

We went on a sailing trip with the whole department today on the Egberdina and afterwards some dinner in Hoorn. Definitely a nice way to unwind and not think about work for once J

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Work Improvements

It was sometime last week, when I realized that I actually haven’t felt this positive about work since… well, since we moved to Amsterdam, and probably a good deal before that as well. These past two years involved a lot of frustrations, as things never seemed to go as planned, and we had to spend a massive amount of time to work around all the issues we had. There were always a lot of good intentions and great ideas on making structural improvements, but there never seemed to be enough time. When possible, I tried to work extra hours on these improvements — and sometimes I would even ignore my normal work and other people, because well… ‘I know better’ –, but progress was slow, and I was feeling perpetually tired by all the extra work and mental stress that came with it. There were plenty of times when it all just seemed pointless, and I even had fears, somewhat irrationally of course, that things would never improve, and that is something I would view as a colossal failure from my side.

In the meantime, things were always improving, albeit not as fast as I had hoped (but then again, when do things ever go as fast as you hope?). But when you are caught up in the daily operations, you often tend not to notice these improvements, and the negative feelings and perceptions tend to dominate the positive developments. But then this week my colleague Michiel was telling me about some stuff he built (it was a Business Objects universe by the way, for those of you who knows what it is) to help us in our everyday work. As I have a natural tendency towards skepticism, my initial reaction was somewhat lukewarm, at least if I remembered correctly. But as I started thinking about it the next couple of days, it slowly sank into my mind, and I realized that it is indeed a great piece of work, and it truly would make our jobs quicker, simpler, more consistent and more transparent (Speed, Simplicity and Trust, baby!). And what’s more, it is actually a result of all the hard work and extra time we have put into making structural improvements. The first results of our efforts are finally becoming tangible. And if there is something I’ve learnt in the past two years, it’s that it is much, much easier to commit other people to your cause if you have something tangible. Without this tangibility, ideas will just remain that: ideas. If ideas are to become a part of reality, you always need the support of other people – and that’s saying a lot, coming from someone like me who prefers to go solo!

There is still a long, long way to go of course, and I’m still overwhelmed by my to-do list, but things are definitely moving in the right direction. You also see that more and more people are now committed to work on the structural solutions, and even more importantly, we are now working more toward a common solution (it’s amazing how uncommon common solutions are). Looking back now, the main reason why I even decided to stay at Vodafone was because I believed – even during my many, many moments of despair – that things would eventually become better. I did seriously think about leaving at the time, but in the end I felt it was a great opportunity and a nice challenge to be in this situation. Without this belief, without this sense of challenge, I probably would have left already, so it’s nice to see that things are actually starting to work out as I had initially hoped.

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Special Achiever Award

I won a Special Achiever award during the Vodafone Sales Challenge last Wednesday, together with my direct colleague Michiel. It is a sort of recognition for the work you’ve done, and it comes with a trip to Marrakech. Of course, I always said that I hated this kind of public recognition, and in a sense it is partly true, because I always feel awkward when people compliment me. But in another more psychological sense, it is also very much false. I am a master of self-deception, you see, and if there who needs constant reassurance that he is doing a good job, if there is someone who yearns to be recognized and accepted, it’s me. Normally, I am not willing to admit this, as I view this pathological need for confirmation as a sign of weakness, and more importantly as contradictory to my values and beliefs (the awkwardness I feel is very real though, although it has nothing to do with not wanting recognition). And so I hide it behind a mask of indifference or even loathing. Surely I am above something as petty as recognition.

It reminded me of what the trainer Francine said during the ‘Self-Management’ course I followed about half a year ago. She said that I was maybe too smart for my own good sometimes, as I’ve already analyzed and figured out my own inner patterns long ago. With other people, she had to work hard to help them identify their patterns in the first place. With me, it’s more about convincing me to let go of those patterns who have been my companions for my entire life. I believe she is right, and paradoxical as it may sound, it is precisely that I know myself so well in some aspects, that I am able to deceive myself so easily. The cynical part of me is much more adept at playing the deception game however, but I’d like to believe that the idealistic part of me is becoming more aware of it, which I believe is the most important progress I booked with all those self-improvement stuff I did.

Typical me; turning a blog post about winning an award at work into a psychological profile. I definitely think too much sometimes, but then again, I hope I will never lose that part of me completely. Let me end by saying that I am truly happy with my award, and that I am really looking forward to the trip. Although I don’t do it a lot, I love traveling and visiting new places. It’s great that Michiel is going as well, so at least there is a familiar face, or else I might run the risk of completely zoning out and retreating into my shell during those few days.

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