By: Kristi Spargo
I have been happily married for 12 years. For 12 years and with varying degrees of irritation I have dealt with and grown accustomed to my husband’s forgetfulness, meandering attention span and seeming inability to recall our kids’ daily schedule. For 12 years I have sat righteously in church as he whips out whatever paper he can find and starts doodling. I would watch and think to myself (because who really wants to start an argument in church) why can’t you just sit and listen for thirty minutes.
This past Sunday on the way home we were talking about how while the content was good, the timbre of the guest speaker’s voice was very entrancing, almost putting us to sleep like a lullaby.
Then my husband shattered 12 years of my veiled judgment and said, “That’s why I doodle. It keeps my mind focused on something so that my ears can better listen. If I don’t doodle then I just people watch and my mind starts to wander.”
I was floored, and I was most-admittedly wrong. I used my own methods of learning and listening and judged someone else for not using the same ones that I did. My husband knew what he needed to do and utilized those tools to help him accomplish his goals.
Corporate America has created little boxes (some call them cubicles) for each of their employees. The employee manual, job descriptions and operating procedures are laid down as law with very little room for error. I question, however, if so much emphasis is being placed on everyone being on the “same page,” that there’s no opportunity for anyone to create a new chapter. What if someone could approach a position with new tools, new resources and a new way of looking at how something could be done more efficiently? Corporate speak includes the phrase, “Think outside the box.” Is this all boxes, or just certain ones?
I am lucky enough to work for Partners in Association Management, an organization that respects the employee as an individual, not just a cog in a wheel. Yes, there are rules and guidelines. I’m not so naïve to think that a company could be successful without having parameters and set expectations in place. The difference that I am advocating is that these are base-model rules. When an employee starts, their ideas for more efficient change are not only encouraged but expected, all within a judgment-free zone. It’s understood that everyone brings their own approach and methods to the position and that maybe, just maybe, some rules really are made to be broken, or at least bent a little.
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