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Pimp Your Work

October 6th, 2007

5 tips to getting rid of unproductive obsessions

“The agriculture ministry is not in charge of Gundam,” said the agricultural ministry official of Japan. What does this have to do with pimping anyone’s work? Well, if you’ve been keeping up with the news, you’ve probably heard by now that some Japanese bureaucrat spent his working hours making 260 contributions of Gundam-related entries to Wikipedia. Replace Gundam with Star Trek, stamp-collecting, sex -whatever your obsession is - and you’re probably just a couple of steps away from that Japanese bureaucrat. You’re letting your fun, albeit unproductive, obsessions get in the way of your life. I myself am that way sometimes (although I won’t mention which of the above obsessions are mine). To avoid falling off the obsession tree while hitting every branch on your way down, here are 5 tips you should take to heart:

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By Celine -- 0 comments

August 3rd, 2007

Work with your IT folks, not against them

Doing a little testing here for the tech crew at b5. We’ve got some kick-ass coders and server admins at b5 who work to keep the lights on here. They’re using PYW here as a test bed for some upcoming code changes, and asked me to test ‘er out. Which then reminded me…

IT is not evil. Really IT has a hard job, when something goes wrong it’s all their fault, when something is working … you think someone even buys them a coffee? Nope. Having done tech support and been an IT Manager I really appreciate the job. Here’s a tip … befriend your IT person. Buy him/her a coffee or a beer. Cut them some slack. Educate yourself. Try to understand their perspective a bit. Believe me, it will pay off in spades when you need a favour.

By Tris Hussey -- 3 comments

March 16th, 2007

Work rules to keep your geek happy

Nomadishere had this awesome post (lots diggs and comments) with 8 “rules” to keep geeks happy and a follow up that he didn’t mean to say geeks are elitists:

#1. Let them work when they want

#2. Let them work where they want

#3. Let them control their lighting

#4. Let them wear headphones

#5. Do not expect them to wear a suit

#6. Do not make them participate in company events (unless you are sure it is geek-friendly)

#7. Do not hold a lot of arbitrary meetings that could have otherwise been handled through email or IM

#8. Do not make them do anything other than work 
Hat tip to 901am

These points give you some real insight into what makes geeks tick.  Like #3, lighting.  My eyes are very sensitive to light.  In my case it comes from frying my eye staring into a microscope for two years, but staring at a computer all day (and night) doesn’t help.  When I get a headache/migraine I can’t stand light and I know when to quit because I can’t stand to look at even a computer or TV (I’m borderline right now and pushing to finish this post).

One key point to understand about geeks is that many of us (myself included) have ADD.  This is a good thing in reality.  See it’s ADD that often makes us good at what we do.  It let’s us:

  • multitask
  • hyper-focus (I know this seems contradictory, but it’s true)
  • juggle complex stuff in our heads

Unfortunately it also tends to make us a tad oblivious, scatterbrained, and messy.  Hey, you have to take the good with the bad.  This is one big reason I listen to music while I work.  Music keeps the right-side of my brain distracted and happy while the left side can focus.  When I really need hyperfocus, the headphones come out.  I’ve even done this in a meeting when I needed to use a whiteboard to rough out some thoughts and idea.  Yeah a bit strange and anti-social, but you know you pay me for my brains so let me unleash it how I need to!

If you manage geeks or are a geek, read the tips/rules over. Maybe post them on your cube wall (the outside … like read these before entering).

Doing what we can to help you pimp you work man!


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By Tris Hussey -- 3 comments

March 8th, 2007

Five Strategies to Pimp Your Work

We have a lot of different ideas on how to Pimp Your Work. And we present them, sometimes relentlessly, as multitudes of ideas hit us. I thought I’d take a little higher view of pimping your work and move all of this to strategy.

Here are five strategies to Pimp Your Work:

Be Financially Secure. Have enough saved in the bank to live on for a year. Why? So you won’t be desperate to take a job that isn’t right for you.

Know Yourself. Know what work excites you and what work bores you to death. Know the level of office politics you can tolerate.

Understand Corporate Speak. When a company says that they will be looking for ways to improve efficiency in your department, you should know whether that means laying people off or increasing productivity as you continue to work.

Improve Your Skills. There is a need to balance the “next new thing” with practical increases in your skill set. Improvement, however, is necessary to maintain your position in the marketplace regardless of where you work today.

Performance Counts. Always work towards top performance. If you perform well, the chances of being laid off are less. If you are laid off, your performance will be the criteria on which you will be hired again at a different company. People want to work with people who perform.

Yes, there are tools and tips. But they all fall into these strategies to Pimp Your Work.

By Scot Herrick -- 1 comment

March 2nd, 2007

Chrysler’s Crisis

Chrysler is on the chopping block again, joining GM with tales of corporate survival — including having weak GM purchase Chrysler as one of the options for survival.

Chrysler, in the past five years or so, has downsized by some 40,000 jobs and has announced its intention of downsizing by 10,000+ more.

No matter what happens with Chrysler, the current employees there — as in many other companies in a similar financial situation — are at great risk of losing their jobs.

If you were an employee in such a company, what would you do to try and survive?

By Scot Herrick -- 0 comments

March 1st, 2007

A Jet Blue Perspective

When I was enjoying myself in sunny Costa Rica on vacation, the United States East Coast enjoyed one of those great consecutive snow blowouts that snarled traffic, cancelled school, and created general havoc for everyone.

Jet Blue got caught in the crosshair as well, stranding passengers on planes out on the runways for hours, canceling a thousand flights, and estimating their cost to the storm of over $30-million dollars. Much has been made of the service, the mea culpa of Jet Blue’s CEO, and some active discussion about passengers having a Bill of Rights.

The future is hard to predict. Three weeks ago, Jet Blue was sailing along and enjoying the business of business. Who could have foretold that their scheduling systems would get caught in a frenzy, that something this big would hit along all of their routes, and that other failures in the airline passenger system would contribute to their misfortune?

Perhaps good disaster recovery people would have come close. But, in my experience, whatever scenarios people come up with will not be the scenario that actually happens.

You see, we don’t know what we don’t know.

The only thing we can prepare for is to build a disaster recovery process and ruthlessly test it against a variety of scenarios to see where the process can be improved. Process preparation will trump scenario preparation.

Jet Blue can take this real life learning experience and test it against their recovery process and see where things could improve.

How’s your recovery process?

By Scot Herrick -- 0 comments

February 26th, 2007

Change Your Perspective to Pimp Your Work

Here’s a great one from Kevin Eikenberry in his post “What Could I Stop Doing?” -

I met with a new friend today. He is the Vice President for Business Development at a bank. He told me he made a decision about six months ago. His decision?

“I decided to stop selling banking solutions.”

He isn’t a slacker - he hasn’t stopped working or drawing a paycheck. But rather than trying to sell a banking solution he has been trying to connect and help people - to build relationships.

His results?

Production was double of the first six months of the year and he topped his annual target by 25%.

Changing your perspective about what you do (internal) to what you do to help your customers (external) can really Pimp Your Work.

By Scot Herrick -- 0 comments

February 22nd, 2007

Contracts Pimp Your Work?

One of the principles of contract workers is exactly that: the contract. The contract governs the relationship between the person, the project, and the company for the work being done.

Contracts, of course, are two-way streets when it comes to the relationship with the company paying your for the work. You can request what you want (one pound of M&M’s per day delivered to your desk) and the company can request what they need. Both sides agree and if M&M’s is your sticking point and the company agrees to provide them to you, you’ve got a contract.

Workers without a contract are subject to the whims of the company needs — and the company is subject to your whims about staying or leaving. Without the contract in place, unstated assumptions exist between companies and their workers.

My question is simple: should we try and Pimp our Work by having contractual arrangements with our company?

A purple hat tip to Contract Worker and the post The Importance of Being Earnest…About Your Agreements.

By Scot Herrick -- 0 comments

February 19th, 2007

A hard lesson in passwords learned early

We all know how important making secure password is, and if we all know about keeping them secret but sometimes we don’t learn the lesson early enough.  My daughter had an experience this weekend that really drives home the importance of keeping your password secret.

My daughter is really into the online community WebKins.  If you know know the WebKins this is a community where you buy a small stuffed animal, and then connect it with the website.  On the website you earn virtual dollars to buy your virtual pad, food and other nice things like couches and beds. Of course, your whole account is controlled by a username and password.  Well, this Saturday my daughter log into her account and found that almost all her money was gone and a lot of horror the furniture from her virtual house.  This was a very traumatic experience for her shoes very upset she didn’t know how this is happened.  We suspect that at one friend who knew her password gave it to a less reliable friend who then used it to gain access to her account.

As traumatic as this was, both Lorraine and I reminded her how important it wise to keep her password secret, and this was a really good lesson to learn early in life. 

So let this be a reminder to you, make the good passwords (and in fact my daughter makes excellent passwords) and keep them secret.  My daughter’s loss was virtual, but your loss could be a real and expensive.


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By Tris Hussey -- 0 comments

February 16th, 2007

Resistance is futile: Reflection time

One of the things I decided to do for myself the year before last was to attend one of those GTD: Roadmap seminars from David Allen. The place was packed with people from all over the country coming into the seminar — I was fortunate in that I was able to simply take a bus downtown and get dropped off right in front of the hotel where the seminar took place.

During the seminar (which was really good — go if you can), they offered to join a new subscription service called GTD:Connect. I’m not going to review that here, as it has been reviewed extensively out in the blogosphere. One of my reasons for working the subscription service is that I wanted to continue to work on a few things about ME. How to stay organized, be connected with others around a discipline, and have resources immediately available to me to help things out. And, interestingly, I’ve been able to help out a lot of others through the effort as well.

A lot of background information to get to the “resistance” point: most everyone within the Connect service makes a good point that we need to do more reflection about what we are doing.

Now, this is pretty interesting considering that GTD stands for Getting Things Done — making yourself more productive. One would think it would be a lot more about how to do things faster. It is about that, of course, but the reflection theme about what we’re working on is also a dominate point in the service.

And that’s where “resistance” comes into play. If we accept that we’re not attracted to our work, it means there is resistance. If you don’t want to look at your “to-do” list, there is resistance in your system somewhere.

If we, in a disciplined manner, spend time reflecting on what we do and the resistance to what we are trying to do, we can Pimp our Work. Or our life. Identify what causes our resistance and then attack the resistance. Make it your goal to be attracted to everything that you do. Reflecting on resistance will give you a great framework for improving your work.

Resistance takes away from your passion, your best work, and your opportunities. Let reflection be the weapon to remove resistance from your work.

By Scot Herrick -- 0 comments

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