The worst view I ever had from my assigned office at work was of the building’s designated smoking area. I had the most coveted type of office – a closed-door office, with a window. Except the window faced the smoking area outside the building, with its awning-like protection and clouds of smoke.
For most of the 20thcentury, the structure of corporations was based on the technology of mass production. It was a command-and-control model, with managers directing workers, who had a very specific task to accomplish. It was not unlike the military.
I was sitting with a woman in the Human Resources Department. There had been a reorganization of our department, part of a general reshuffling across the company, and I’d been assigned to sit with her to work out the new organization chart.
I’ve been blogging for almost 10 years. Mostly, I blog about books and poetry. Occasionally I talk about art and work. For years, the blog post that held the record for the most number of visits was work-related: I Hate PowerPoint. That is, until another post overtook and surpassed it: A Sign of the Apocalypse (at the Office), which was also about PowerPoint.
It turned out that I wasn’t alone in my dislike of PowerPoint. Continue reading “Poetry at Work, Chapter 7: The Poetry of PowerPoint©”
I’d have to call it the case of the accidental vision statement.
I was writing a speech for the CEO. He had already announced and undertaken a series of environmental initiatives for the company, but he was still dissatisfied. He had a restless, always-turned-on kind of mind, and he was reaching for something, even if he wasn’t quite sure what it might be. He also had CEOs in competitive companies, looking to do what he was thinking about doing. Continue reading “Poetry at Work, Chapter 6: Poetry of the Vision Statement”
More than 40 years ago, I was handed my college diploma and, two days later, showed up for work at my first official job. I didn’t realize it until much later, but I walked into the doors of my employer that day carrying an assumption. I believed that people in positions of authority – bosses – always knew what they were doing. Why else would they be bosses?
My first workspace after college graduation was a newspaper copydesk.
I’d been hired as a copy editor at the Beaumont, Texas, Enterprise. The title was grander than the reality of the entry-level job; I was one of four copy editors, and my workspace was a desk pushed against seven other desks to form a squat “H.” We were collaborative and team-based about three decades before it became corporate cool.
It was the strangest interview I’ve ever participated in – on either side of the table.
A friend had talked me, or conned me, into interviewing for a job with St. Louis Public Schools – the director of communications.
The school district was in chaos – an outside management firm had been brought in to run the district, schools were being consolidated and closed, services were being outsourced, central office layoffs had emptied more than half of the headquarters building, and protests by parents, students, employees, former employees, teachers and the teachers’ union were daily. School board factions were fighting each other through the news media. The news media was already showing up early each morning at the district’s administration building – knowing there would always be a new crisis to report.
And I wanted to insert myself into that? Continue reading “Poetry at Work, Chapter 2: The Poetry of the Interview”
When it came, it came as a BFO – a blinding flash of the obvious.
I was working in communications for a Fortune 500 company. A large portion of the day-to-day work was meetings. We had a team-based culture, and to our work, our teams had to meet.
The teams, and the meetings, proliferated. We had departmental meetings. We had cross-functional meetings. We had committee and subcommittee meetings. We had telephone meetings, video meetings, and online chat session meetings. We had one-on-one meetings. We had staff meetings. We had briefing sessions, strategy discussions, and crisis planning meetings. We often had meetings to plan meeting agendas. Continue reading “Welcome to Poetry at Work”