Wednesday, January 21, 2009

First Day At The Office

Can you imagine a first day at the new office being any more huge than the one Mr. Obama is having? Think back on any first day you've had...they compare, even if the magnitude of outcome is very different.

Hoping you're giving off that friendly and competent vibe coupled with the correct level of authority and ability. Inside, feeling a bit shy and anxious as you meet all the players. Wondering which person on the staff is likely to be one you'll look forward to eating lunch with most days. Identifying the one who is competent but a wee bit sparky; you'll have to tread lightly around that one! The individual who does a completely dependable job but goes unnoticed. The one who's most likely to become your Lieutenant because you can trust and confide in him, the rest of the staff will accept him in that role. And, he's willing to take it on.

That first day sitting at the new desk. Feeling a little uncomfortable. As if you're intruding on someone else's space. Looking at the drawers and wondering if there are enough of them. Then looking in the draws to see if anything is left of the previous owner. A pencil that's not yours; a few paper clips... Wondering how you should arrange your stuff. Is the phone on the correct side of the desk? Do you really want a blotter or does it take up too much flat surface? Still, a blotter lends a certain bit of class...we'll see how it goes.

Beginning to assess the strengths and weaknesses of everything in the office. Are the cubicles large enough to function and keep office mania to a minimum? Do we even need cubicles? Does anyone like them? Does that copier keep up with the work load? What's with that fax machine? It looks like the first one ever invented...put it on the short list of immediate changes. Wonder what the budget is like?

Searching each team member for strengths and weaknesses. Which weakness is a by-product of lack of training and mentoring? Any individuals that need to be moved-on because their weaknesses are lack of ability, enthusiasm, or just not a good fit for the tasks at hand. That'll take some time to discover. Chats and direct conversations will be required.

What tasks are we charged with that need to be unloaded? What programs are we responsible for that aren't productive and a resource drain? What do we excel at, and what do we enjoy doing? Are we aware that we set our course toward success? Is each ready to ask and answer the hard question- what's my role in performance excellence? Note to self: how do I lead them there once it's clearly defined?

Moving on to the immediate critcal question; where do we keep the coffee pot? How do I like my coffee? Hot-the rest I'll take care of myself. Oh, you feel like that's your job? Okay, if that's what works for you so long as you'll let me bring you a cup once in awhile. And, if you ever need a hand cleaning out the pot, you'll ask so I can pitch in. If so, we have a deal.

Answering the phone you've just rearranged the first time it rings...taking a breath and answering with friendly authority..."Good morning, this is..."

While the challenges of that particular oval office are of a scope I cannot a person who's had her own first days, I know exactly what sorts of small things our new Commander In Chief is doing as he sits behind his new desk. I will hope that his first day finds his phone on the side he likes best and that his favorite pen is exactly where he expects it. Going forward, while I expect him to be the President, I will remember that he's also a Human Being at that desk. So, I'll be patient.

One pretty positive note, especially living in a congestion box like D.C., his commute to work is ridiculously easy. Well, maybe not while he's learning his way around his new house...but I'm sure that'll get easier over time. Good Morning, Mr. President.

Namaste' Till Next Time,

1 comment:

Pam said...

There is definitely a feeling in the air these days. Hope can bring wonders. I ride the bus to and from work and lately everyone seems to have a smile on their faces. This is something I haven't seen in a long time. Life has been hard for a lot of people lately but now it seems we are more in this together than before. Hope can bring change. May the Spirit bless America and may the Spirit bless us all!

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