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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 7th, 2007

Medical Technology - For the Patient

These last few months, I’ve spent a fair amount of time in medical facilities, mostly working preventive things (nothing scary here; not to worry). There’s been a big change in practice where I go and see my doctor: a whole lot of technology has been added to the workplace.

Instead of paper records, my medical history is not being entered directly into PC’s in the examination room. Upon visiting other areas outside of the doctors office such as the lab, my information is instantly available to the practitioners there.

When longer commentary needs to be done on my medical records, my doctor uses a Treo 650 smartphone to dial up a dictation number where she records what’s needed.

When I need a prescription, the prescription is loaded into the system and automatically faxed to my pharmacy before I ever leave the doctors office.

Yes, it helps the doctors office.

But the additional technology has also helped me.

By Scot Herrick -- 0 comments

March 5th, 2007

Do Corporate Speakers Pimp Your Work?

In some of the larger corporations, managers have annual kick-off meetings for the new year. Perhaps it is a review of the previous year, or a reward for last year’s work, or focusing on the coming year to get the priorities all on the same page.

Outside of the management team presentations, companies will often hire speakers to come into the mass meeting to help pimp people’s work. I’ve heard speakers in these meetings that range from authors, to sports coaches, to former government officials.

They get paid well for these appearances and, in my opinion, they should. They have something good to say.

I’m just not sure that it is anything good to say about how to Pimp Your Work. Do the lessons of sports — as a seasonal game with an off-season — really relate to the everyday-no-breaks business world?

Can any government official really describe what it is like to work in a profitable, ongoing competitive business?

Can an author of a Pimp Your Work blog really provide cool ideas and comments on your work without knowing your culture, your team, and your unique business needs?

By Scot Herrick -- 0 comments

February 23rd, 2007

Seven reminders that will Pimp Your Work

The following was provided by one of my coworkers with attribution to an unknown company. It is seven reminders that will help you frame your work on a day-to-day basis. Pimpalicious tips on career strategy, if you will.

Here they are:

Have a passion for excellence and hate bureaucracy.

Be unyielding on accountability and commitment.

Have the self-confidence to involve anyone and behave in a boundary-less fashion.

Be open to ideas from anywhere.

Stretch. Set aggressive goals. Reward progress.

Live quality. Drive cost and speed for competitive advantage.

See change as an opportunity, not a threat.

These are very logical — but hard to implement. But, I think, worth the effort to implement to make our work life better.

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 21st, 2007

Good and Great

There is an interesting saying out there: the enemy of great is good.

I don’t know about you, but I had a hard time with that saying for a long time. After all, there are few things that anyone can be great at, but quite a few things that each of us can be good at.

And our work asks us to be good at a lot of different things. We even have to pretend to be able to multi-task.

But the enemy of great is good.

I’m writing this on a plane returning from Costa Rica, after spending ten days out of the country, disconnected from work, and totally connected with everything else. It was an opportunity to gain perspective.

One of the perspectives gained was that the enemy of great is good. I can be good at many things, but great at few. To help maximize the opportunity to be great at what I want to do, I determined that I need to say no to some of the good things that I am doing at both work and play.

Saying no to some of the good things I do will help maximize my opportunity to be great at a couple of things I want to get done.

If you take a look at things you are good at, what things could you say no to that would improve your work to great?

By Scot Herrick -- 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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