This post may seem like a non sequitur, but I will try as much as I can to weave it into the “authentic living” theme of this blog.
As part of my year of trying to live more authentically, I’m exploring a career change, and to that end I started an online master’s program in library and information science. This post is actually a class assignment, but it gives me a chance to do some self-assessing, which is always a good thing. You’ve got to know where you are before you can determine where you need to go.
I’m strong in self-motivation, and generally very organized in my work life – though not nearly as much in my personal life. I do struggle with time management, especially since I’m working full time, going to school part time and working at a part-time student assistantship. Then of course there’s the husband, the cats, the house, etc. So I’m struggling to stay focused on whatever I need to be working on in a given moment; there are always the nagging thoughts of all the other things that need my attention as well.
One possible solution I’m trying this week is designating specific times for classwork and the part-time work, instead of just sort of playing it by ear as I have been. Monday, Wednesday and Friday will be “class time,” while Tuesday and Thursday will be work nights. Hopefully on weekends I’ll be current enough with my classwork that I can focus on work projects.
Complicating this plan, though, is the reality that I often have to bring work home from my day job, so some nights and weekends I’ll be pulling double duty. It’s going to take some juggling – and lots of caffeine – but my husband is very supportive and encouraging, and I’m trying to take it a day at a time. If I look too far ahead, I’m quickly overwhelmed.
The online teamwork material gives me pause, though. I like to think of myself as a team player, but in reality, as an introvert, I much prefer working independently.
I’ve served on lots of committees over the years, both in paying jobs and in volunteer work, and I recognize some of the issues that are mentioned in the assigned lectures. Haycock’s attempts at differentiating “committees” and “teams” have me a bit confused. I think I’ve been on committees that functioned more as teams, according to his definitions, and vice versa.
His “second dysfunction, based on a fear of conflict,” touched a nerve because I can’t stand conflict of any kind. My preferred way of dealing with conflict is to NOT deal with it — avoidance at all costs. This usually results in the griping with another person in the bathroom kind of behavior he mentions. Learning to deal openly and directly with conflict will be a huge hurdle for me, though I’m sure it would serve me well personally and professionally.
In listening to Irwin’s lecture, I recognized that in a group situation, I worry that either I won’t have anything to contribute or that no one will be interested in hearing what I have to say.
I was encouraged, though, by her definitions of teamwork, which make it clear that there’s space for individual work within the team project. I can handle figuring out what my part is (going back to Haycock’s advice to know what you’re good at and not so good at), going off and completing that, and then coming back to the group to share what I’ve learned or accomplished.
I really liked that both stressed setting team guidelines as a strategy for success. The biggest downers I’ve encountered in group work have been people who are very negative or controlling, and I think having some ground rules in place from the beginning will go a long way toward establishing an atmosphere of mutual respect and cooperation, and creating a safe environment for everyone.