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Saturday, October 4, 2014

Here's To FY15, w/ 5 Hard-Learned Lessons























Every year on October 1st the Federal performance cycle resets itself. Combined with the Jewish High Holidays (Yom Kippur and the accompanying fast just ended) the amount of navel-gazing can literally make your stomach hurt, as well as your eyes.
But it also helps you to grow. So, here's to distilling some simple things-you-already-knew from the highs and lows of Friday fires, team high-fives, unexpected project arrivals, and other assorted "experiences" that were together FY14.
1. Perspective
The other day the son of someone I know professionally went missing. I was horrified when I found out and overwhelmingly relieved when they found him. That kind of thing is worthy of strong emotion. On the other hand most work crises really...aren't. The fact is, things break and when people try to work together it's an imperfect science at best.
2. Peace
Feel peace within yourself. Wish others peace. It's karma, what emanates from you always comes back. All that anger you feel because...why? Someone shouted you down at a meeting? Kept you off that email chain once too many times? Made a snarky remark about your shoes? These are minor things compared with stuff like...ISIS, Ebola, economic insecurity and the persistent war against women. Get involved in making the world a better place and have compassion for people whose vision is still limited by fear, ignorance and hate.
3. Laughter
There is so much that is absurd at work and everywhere. On Friday I walked into my office and saw a clock on the wall. It was sort of crazy, to look up and see this Staples clock looking back down at me, brand spanking new. I vaguely remembered that someone had asked me to get a clock to keep meetings on time, and I forgot about it. So they must have gone and requisitioned one and had it installed. That level of effort struck me as kind of odd and great and hilarious, all at the same time.
This of course is not to mention all the screw-ups that are so bad you just have to laugh.
4. Sparks
This year I witnessed more than one turnaround, often unexpected but it was always amazing. What I learned is that you don't know what lights a fire in people. How one little spark can produce a roaring flame. Never be so sure when you look at people; what you perceive of as a quiet type may actually be someone who is just waiting for their breakout moment.
5. Help 
You'll never be sorry helping somebody else out. Maybe you don't have time. You probably won't get the credit. Doesn't matter - you do it because you're there. And others do the same for you. It's not possible to get the work done otherwise, and anyway, it just feels good.

Disclaimer: This blog is written by Dannielle Blumenthal in her personal capacity. The opinions expressed here are the author's own and do not reflect the view of the National Archives and Records Administration, or the United States government. Photo credit: Eleanna via Flickr.