Hopefully, every day a little smarter. Here are things I know now that I didn’t know as recently as a few days ago:
- I learned a lot of work things. I had a video file (audio over PowerPoint) that needed to be made into a string of much smaller video files (I’m doing one video per slide, but it doesn’t really matter how I make it smaller, just that I make it smaller.) This seems to help when people stream it— less buffering, better stability. For reasons too long and boring to get into, the file I had was not problem-free, and I had to separate the audio and video to fix some slides where there were issues. I learned how to do that.
- I learned how to upload video files to YouTube, and do it so that they are accessible only to certain people. Not hard, but new to me.
- I relearned that when things get stupid and political— when the story about you is unconnected with reality— sometimes the answer is to calmly reconnect it with reality. I had a couple of coworkers whose behavior to me was getting less friendly, for reasons I couldn’t quite understand. In the last 24 hours, I’ve had a chance to work with or chat with both of them. I deliberately asked them about their lives and shared some things about mine, and a lot of the low-grade hostility dissolved as we talked. I’ve mentioned that I’m not a morning person, and not particularly chatty then. Most mornings, I come in, sit down and start working right away. It would benefit me so much to come in just a little earlier and ask people about their lives. I feel like it’s an interruption (of their work— one of them gets here before I do, and is more in the middle of things) and a distraction, but in terms of reminding people of who you are, it seems like it’s time well-spent. I’d certainly rather spend it there than on infighting and backbiting. The sneaky thing I’m learning with time is that if you ask the questions, people get started talking about themselves and sometimes don’t come back around to asking about you. Honestly, as long as I don’t have to answer questions in the morning, I don’t mind listening to other people’s stories. I’m genuinely interested, and I’m exponentially less likely to burst into overwhelmed tears at simple questions after about 9 a.m..
- I’m relearning that problems don’t go away on their own. I’m going to need to gear up for a difficult conversation. I was talking about “What Not to Wear” with mom last night. “They’re so mean!” she said. I said “they have to get through to her that what she’s doing is not working. If you let people believe that they don’t have to change, they won’t. It’s uncomfortable, and frankly, they’d just rather not.” As I was saying that, it was lining up with the conversation I need to have, and I was hearing it as advice for that moment. Funny how that works.
- In the realm of “problems don’t go away on their own,” I’m grappling with a minor chronic health issue that has flared after having been under control for awhile. When I look at how to handle it, I’ve sorted this out— I know how to handle it, I’ve just gotten less diligent about following the necessary steps, so I’ve had to face the uncomfortable consequences. The ways I got lax are not enjoyable enough to offset the little it takes to keep this from being a front-burner issue. It amazes me how often I have to have this little talk with myself.