Archive for February, 2010

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My friend, the nightmare employee

February 22, 2010

My friend, let’s call him Batman, lives by ethics and a perception of common courtesy understood only by himself. He’s a smart, business savvy guy who gets seriously bored if he’s not intellectually challenged. After spending a year disengaged, in a boring, non-stimulating role (a result of being made redundant earlier in the global financial crisis), he decided to invest some after work hours in getting his business up and running.

A few months in, business was looking good, but needed more attention. Excel spreadsheets weren’t cutting it anymore – he had to move onto using more sophisticated software to track and manage the business’ expenses and activities. All the while, Batman’s 9-5 job was taking up valuable time – time he could spend building relationships with suppliers or getting back to customers.

After Batman spent some time considering whether to leave the security of his job, he made a decision and resigned. When he told me the news, ‘Ok’, I thought ‘Good on him. He’ll be doing something he enjoys, and something that’s mentally stimulating.’ Then…

Friend: “Want to know how I resigned?”

I braced myself, ready for an interesting story.

Friend: “Knock, knock”

Boss: “Who’s there?”

Friend: “My 2 weeks notice”

Since he resigned he’s apparently been causing a bit of a trouble at work – determined to work his last few days in a style he sees fit. That includes strolling around the office in sneakers, jeans and a t-shirt in a strictly corporate environment and purposely getting on the nerves of his manager and co-workers.

I put it to you: How would you deal with this mischief maker if he were one of your employees?

Image source: Super Mega Comics.

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What I learned on holiday

February 18, 2010

The last time I wrote, I was about to go on a holiday and told you I’d be back in late January. I’ve been back one month now (hello, February) with a bit of writer’s block and have been busy enjoying life offline (remember that?). It’s encouraging to see some of you have kept visiting despite the post drought!

So, I got back from my holiday about a month ago feeling refreshed, rested and I am determined to hang onto that feeling. I remembered how important it is to take a mental break – time to clear your head, regain good headspace and just ‘be’. I think this is important, not only for the sake of your mental health, but also to allow yourself time to really think things through, forget about what you need to work on next, and find some inspiration.

On a related note, The Harvard Business Review have a good article on how taking ‘creative sabbaticals’ to give your mind a break helps increase productivity and improve your mental state. They use the example of Stefan Sagmeister, a Designer who takes a creative sabbatical every 7 years, for 1 year at a time. In this year, Sagmeister does not work. Instead, he dedicates time to finding things that inspire him by travelling, talking with people and so on. For the average person, 1 year off work is probably not economically feasible, but I do like the concept of having time dedicated to do the things you normally wouldn’t get time to do. Time to think.

On a smaller scale, I am going to try to dedicate some time each day to relax, clear my head, read, research and think.

What do you do to maintain a good state of mind? If you have any tips or ideas I’d love to hear them.