Friday, June 12, 2009

The Empty Pepper Shaker...

I have been rather unfulfilled at work lately, so in the past couple of days I did a pencil sketch of the salt and pepper shakers in the coffee room, in order to use another part of my brain for a few minutes. The salt shaker is slightly battered and worse for the wear, and the pepper shaker is empty. Why no one fills it, I have no idea. It just sits there in the middle of the table, bereft of pepper. Sometimes I understand how the pepper shaker feels -- my job leaves me feeling very empty. There was a survey done recently, and one of the questions asked was, "Is the organization giving you the opportunity to work up to your talents and expectations?" The truth is, they don't even take the time to enquire as to my talents and expectations. I have learned that it is more difficult to work below your talents and expectations than to work up to them, or to be challenged.

“Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?”

... Robert Browning

If you are a manager or a supervisor, the best thing you can do for your organization is to sit down with each and every employee -- on a regular basis -- and find out exactly what it is they have to offer. Challenge them -- you may be surprised, and your organization just may benefit from it as a result.

27 comments:

Marguerite said...

You are so right about this, Jo. I was in a similar situation, a few years back, and when I absolutely couldn't take it anymore, I resigned and started my own business. It was difficult, at first, but it challenged me to grow in ways that would have never been possible with the old job, and the rewards have been fabulous!

muthu said...

First of all, a great sketch.

& U r absolutely right abt this..

If the employees are motivated 2 work 4 their organization, If their opinions are taken into account, If their potential is fully tapped- then tat organization has just achieved a mode of perpetual growth and development.

Cheers...

ZiLliOnBiG said...

Absolutely wonderful Sketch. and you are multifaceted young Lady.:)))really

pranksygang said...

lovely sketches!....

and u are correct! even in my college my lectures don't take a step to know my skills or at least my interesting subject!.. i tell them but they listen with their deaf ears!

an educational institution is like this.. and i don think there would be any difference in big organisations!

people like managers and team leaders should go to some special classes to improve their listening skills! :)

greenpanda said...

True. I love the pepper sketch. You really are a fantastic artist. Unfortunately though I cant relate, as right now I'm too busy FINDING a job, let alone doing one! Lol :) xxx

Kathy's Klothesline said...

As much as I would like the security, well, relative security, of working for a company that would provide benefits that are so lacking when you own your own business; I wouldn't like that stifling feeling of being put in a category of only doing a job and not being able to contribute to the whole concept of...whatever. My fatigue is showing in my inability to express myself.

Love the sketch. I paid a man to design a new brochure and logo for me last year and the phone is now disconnected. I paid him and ok'd the end product, but never got the art work. I had put it to the back of my mind when I lost my second pet last year and now I am just out the money. Gee I am rambling, but seems like you would have the talent needed to do such. The guy that I can't seem to locate was talented as well and had that ability to turn a few ideas into something tangible.

Just saying that you are so talented with your art and it is marketable.......

Leslie: said...

Fantastic sketches! I wish I could do that.

The Bug said...

I can totally relate - in my current job I do actual "work" for about an hour each day & spend the rest of the time surfing the net. Some days I love this - because by the time I get home I'm done with the computer & I can do other stuff around the house. But other days it's excrutiating. I'm very glad to HAVE a job & I make decent money - so I try not to complain too much, but I'm going to look for a new job once we get settled into our house.

Dr.John said...

Some jobs are just jobs. There just isn't much about them that motivates but somebody has to do them. Such jobs while not exciting are still important. So drive yourself to be the best you can be at your job and keep drawing salt shakers.

Paula Slade said...

Jo, is there some way you can move within your company to an area that might be more challenging? Or, maybe even find other work that would utilize your artistic talents? Just a thought.

Ruth W. said...

management does not want to hear our suggestions and if you try to suggest one, you receive a written warning for being noncompliance.

Elise said...

i couldn't agree with you more. i didn't start to flourish until i got a job that suited my talents and gave me room for growth.

SweetPeaSurry said...

Oh Jo, I love your new banner picture. (Forgive me if it's been up there a while)

I agree with you that managers should be taking the time out to speak with their employees about what their skill sets are, and how they would like to be challenged. Someone once said that our greatest resource is people, it's not so great a resource when people aren't utilizing their potential!

Mean Mama said...

I agree with Kathys Klothesline. I once hired an artist to build upon a sketch of mine and find that he simply xeroxed it and put letters next to it (that I composed). I paid him $500.00 for this. Your art is wonderful and obviously over 600 people think so too. I think we are on to something. Do some sketches and market them to small business people, do an art show, arts walk, and arrange for demonstrations of your work at Chamber of Commerce meetings, Women's business Clubs. They will love your art too, and will pay you for it. Bring your portfolio to some small art galleries. I've done this with some of my things and I am not as talented as you are, or work as much as you do at it. When you start to sell, you can use your creativity for your own business, and use the business model you like for your own employees.

Marcella said...

During my working life, I found myself in much the same position and in such cases I've been known to throw in the job rather than plod on as expected. When I get back from the cruise I think it's about time I took on a new challange but I seem to have tried most of the things I have set out to do in this life. I guess we'll just have to plan for the next voyage if we haven't had too much of the high seas by then.

Fragrant Liar said...

You are SO right! A little bit of time spent can go a LONG way with us peons.

Brenda said...

I sometimes wonder if management just feels threatened by taking this approach, because they may be afraid that your ideas and interests may be better than theirs and you could replace them. Not always, but sometimes I think it could be possible. I think most companies would run much better, if they at least tried to do what you are suggesting. Your art work is very good.

Carol E. said...

I wish more managers would realize this. Instead, where I work, we get our annual review on the last day of the year. Woe to the person who gets a negative evaluation and wants to respond........

Owen said...

Hi Jo, I sympathize 700 %, I too have a stultifying job which lost all semblance of creativity long ago, and now is turning into the dull routines of complacence, and in the current context, more like fear and loathing.

Sure wish photography and blogging could pay the bills, because it is here in the realm of blogs that I'm finding meaning in life again. Guess you'll just have to take some pepper to work, and set your co-workers to sneezing a bit to clear out mental cobwebs...

Smalltown RN said...

Oh Jo...how right you r.....I have been nursing for almost 20 years in that time I have had one..count them one employee appraisal....they say they encourage enducation...but they don't give you time off to take courses...they cut back their education budget so you get fewer employer funded programs....they pay lip service to saying their staff are the heart of the organization...they rarely ask for our input...and when they do and we give suggestions more times than not they are vetoed....even when we talk first line managers and unit meetings...they ask for suggestions and they spend most of the staff meetings telling us why they can't go along with our suggestions....

I like Muthu comment about if the organization really wants to flourish ask the employees honestly for their input...they could be tapping into a wealth of knowledge..but they don't...they rather continue to pay some outside organization to come in and tell them what it is they need....

Job satisfaction....I am not sure if there is such a thing anymore...that is unless you are your own boss.....I enjoy the concept of my job...but there are so many restrictions and limitations to delivering the care I think patients deserve, and as a result that impinges on my job satisfaction.....I want to give more but feel like my hands are tied....

Oh and by the way...your sketch is wonderful...you are a very talented lady....

The Panorama said...

You are so right about the job situation. I am lucky enough to have finally found a job that gives me fulfillment but I have worked at jobs where I felt that my potential as an employee was not being used. My experince is that sometimes some people in the organisation hold you back or down because they see you as a potential threat. Could that also be the case here?
Lovely sketches by the way:)

robert said...

Thank you for that reminder!
Eventhough being a teacher, many times I skip a lesson and rather talk about life, there dreams etc. instead of demaning homework and exercises.
Learned increadible things from my students and it has become a 'spice' that I can hardly life without now.
Please have a nice Sunday.

the walking man said...

Yes sit down with each and every employee and ask how to improve the work environment. What a fine way to get rid of them who don't consider being a desk drone fulfilling.

A human kind of human said...

Hi Jo, I know that sketching glass is not easy and you have done a beautiful job of it. My previous boss was very unpopular with most of the people in our unit but I loved him to bits as a boss in spite of him behaving absolutely disgracefully in his private life (thats his problem, not mine) exactly because he challenged me and my abilities on a daily basis. With the kind of pressure he put on me I not only grew as an employee but also as a person. He demanded excellence in everything and it was a personal achievement everytime he complimented or praised me for a job well done. He has been gone quite a few years but I will never forget him and still try to perform to his standards.

Jo said...

Marguerite, I think the ideal situation would be to start our own business. You are very fortunate to have been able to do that! Good for you. :-)

Muthu, "If their opinions are taken into account, If their potential is fully tapped..." Absolutely! It takes a smart manager to figure this out.

ZillionBig, thank you...! :-)

Pranksygang, "people like managers and team leaders should go to some special classes to improve their listening skills!" Absolutely!

Greenpanda, thank you! And you are so young, you are going to have a fantastic career -- I can just tell!

Kathy, thank you. I am seriously thinking of moving in that direction -- to utilize my art talents. Thanks for the encouragement.

Leslie, thank you!

TheBug, gosh, you are so young, you should have a job that challenges you and satisfies your intelligence, definitely!

Dr. John, yes, some jobs are just jobs. But I guess it is true that a job worth doing, is worth doing well.

Paula, there is no way I can utilize my artistic talents where I work. I would have to make some major changes, unfortunately.

RuthW, oh, goodness, do you work where I work? *heh*

Elise, you are so fortunate. Everyone should have that opportunity in their lifetime. :-)

SweetPeaSurry, I couldn't agree more. Some people work very differently than others, and everyone's resourcefulness should be utilized.

MeanMama, thank you for the wonderful suggestions. A few days ago a friend of mine gave me a gorgeous leather portfolio, so I can use it to take my art work around to places. What a great idea!

Marcella, have a wonnnnnnderful time on your cruise. I will be thinking about you (with envy *heh).

FragrantLiar, oh goodness yes. Efficiency experts always seem to overlook the one thing -- human resources (emphasis on human).

Brenda, "I sometimes wonder if management just feels threatened by taking this approach, because they may be afraid that your ideas and interests may be better than theirs and you could replace them." You just may be onto something there! I believe there is a lot of truth in that.

Carol E, the last day of the year!!?? Omigosh, there's a very loud message in that, isn't there!?

Owen, yes, I find more creativity and satisfaction in my hobbies than in my job as well. That's a very sad state of affairs, isn't it?

Mary Anne, Hi! Nice to see you. "They pay lip service to saying their staff are the heart of the organization...they rarely ask for our input..." Isn't that the truth? Meetings, meetings, meetings, and the staff are never involved, and they are never able to give their input. And yet the staff are the "worker bees".

The Panorama, "My experince is that sometimes some people in the organisation hold you back or down because they see you as a potential threat." Oh, gosh! I see that so often, and it's so true. And thank you for the compliment. :-)

Robert (hey ... you changed your name...) You sound like an incredibly good teacher. That's important. Keep at it! :-)

Mark, *heh, heh* Yes. What is it they are called -- featherbedders. Yes!

AHumanKindOfHuman, yes, I once had a boss like that, and oddly enough he was from South Africa. He challenged me every day, and he made me realize I had talents and knowledge I didn't even know about. I will never forget him either.

Linda S. Socha said...

Alas
Very few organizations...in my limited experience....have the employees on their agenda for talent and goal exploration. While I understand it I feel sad that the direction is often exclusively the bottom line...

Love the sketch!
LInda

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