Do stuff

We are people who do stuff.  This is what we have been labeled by people who label families. At first I thought it was an odd description, but after a bit I realized it’s true.  We are not good at not doing stuff.  We enjoy doing stuff.  We are, in fact, people who do stuff.

The stuff we do is varied and almost always entertaining.  And, I’m positive our kids are learning from our example that doing stuff is actually a good thing.  I cannot imagine what it would be like to just sit around the house from the time I wake up until the time I go to bed.  My mind cannot even comprehend such a situation.  (Though, I don’t mind a little relaxation…)

The thing is, I really hope our lives are about more than just the doing of stuff. I think our lives should be about the stuff we do. And, I hope that people notice when we do stuff it’s not just to fill the time with random activities. We want to be people who are doing stuff that makes a difference. We want to be people who love other people. We want to be people who care for other people. We want to be family to kids who need families. We want to be mentors to kids who need mentors. Ultimately, we want to show Jesus through the stuff we do. It’s all well & good to be busy people who do lots of stuff, but if we lose sight of our one real job – the command to go and share the gospel – well, our busyness means nothing. If people cannot look at us and notice a difference then we need to examine our busyness & re-evaluate.


What about the old dog’s tricks?

When each of my siblings and I reached about the 6th grade we went to work for my dad.  (One of the perks of owning the business, apparently.)  My personal experience was that I showed up after school to work and my dad pointed out two people who would teach me what I needed to know.  It was presented as an opportunity to learn something and increase my personal value as an employee.  Maybe I’m weird because I bought into it, but many years later I can look back on it and see that it was, in fact, valuable to learn to take direction and to appreciate their on the job experience.

I’m not sure when or how the appreciation of experience disappeared.  (Yes, I realize teens for-basically-ever have believed they know everything that could ever be known, but I’m referring to adults.)  Maybe it’s just not in fashion right now?  I’m really not sure.  But, what I do know is that it is totally annoying.   I find it difficult to watch others make mistakes that could easily be avoided if they simply listened.  Remember the saying “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”?  Well, sometimes you can’t teach a new dog the old tricks because the new dog is an annoying know-it-all.  Those old dogs have already learned to work smarter not harder.  What would it hurt to sit and learn a bit of that?

I have a co-worker (from here on out referred to as co-worker 1) who has refused to take instruction from the day co-worker 1 started.  Instead of learning when training was offered co-worker 1 simply ignored all instruction.  Generally, I don’t care if others don’t want to use the experience being offered.  But, when it starts to affect me – it becomes a problem.

Here is a delightful example or two from the past year when co-worker 1 moved into a position to work with me more often:

Co-worker 1 needed to check the work of another co-worker.  The company has a system for this.  We have protocol and procedures to be sure it’s done correctly.  Did co-worker 1 listen when the procedures and protocol are explained?  Nope.  Co-worker 1 instead chose to shrug and do it their own way.  But, then errors happened.  So, I gently suggest “you know, co-worker 2  has been working here nearly 30 years.  And, because it’s been so long they are amazing at that job.  I bet if we asked they would come teach us.”  Co-worker 1 said “I don’t need them to teach me.  I already know how.”  So, I decided that the next time it came up I would simply contact co-worker 2 to give another free example for co-worker 1.  A few weeks later my evil plan came to fruition when the same task was presented.  I sneakily called co-worker 2 and ask if they were willing to come and train again.  While co-worker 2 was sharing their experience and knowledge after a lifetime of being in the same job – co-worker 1 WALKED AWAY.  When co-worker 1 returned I said “Wow.  Co-worker 2 was teaching us how to do that and you walked away mid instruction. Co-worker 2 is more than twice as fast as either of us so since it is now your job it’d be great to learn from Co-worker 2.”  Co-worker 1 said “well ,I don’t need help.  I can do it by myself.”   My mind was blown.  I’m not even sure how someone can have that sort of mindset.  But, whatever.

Then two weeks ago a huge job came in and co-worker 1 was put in charge of shipping.  Co-worker 1 simply had to be sure all 5 volumes of the job were in boxes.  However, when I came in on Monday – I could tell that something had gone terribly wrong.  There were not the same number of remaining documents.  What this meant that somehow the counting to 5 had proved to be too much and the clients would not all receive all 5 volumes.   I was pro-active and fixed the issue.  I again suggested to co-worker 1 that perhaps some training in this new area would help.  Co-worker 1 insisted that they were fully trained, but that counting was confusing.

And, of course, we arrived at yesterday (which prompted this blog entry).  To avoid the counting struggle I insisted on making sure exact amount of documents needed for each client would be left for me to recount.  But, before we could get to that section of the job co-worker 1 needed check the work again.  Two days.  A job that should have taken a few hours took two days.  I.can.not.even.  I didn’t bother to suggest any training.  It would simply be shunned and ignored.  I doubt I will ever understand the mindset that causes someone to think they have no room for improvement or what makes them think they can’t learn from those ‘old dogs’ tricks.

For me – put me in a room with someone who has been doing a job for awhile and I sit and take notes and ask a billion questions until I feel like I can duplicate the task.  I adore learning something new, and I adore it even more when I can learn to do it quickly and well.

But, it’s not just this co-worker I’ve noticed this with.  It’s so many people in this generation.  Maybe it’s my generation?  I’m not sure where the issue is focused.  But, I do know that it’s a dangerous thing to assume that all mistakes should be re-made simply for the sake of learning.  There is a loss of respect and care for those who have worked hard to get where they are.  I do not like it and I’m not sure how to fix it.

Army of Minion

Generally when I receive a unrealistic deadline I break my neck trying to reach it and then finally have to say I can’t make it.  I do this to my detriment.  I also have difficulty communicating it in the beginning because I assume if I push hard enough I can make it happen.  Most the time that is true.  But, not always.

Yesterday, when I told the person who was nearly two days late getting me his documents that his tardiness would make it impossible for me to fulfill his request that I ‘finish early” so he “can get out of here” he offered to help and to bring his staff down to help too.  I was leery. I told him that it would cost a lot to pay them to do my job.  He said it was worth it to make the client happy.  So, within 10 minutes he was back with multiple of his staff.  I have only once had someone who was ‘important’ do that while I’ve been here and it was so amazing to see them all show up.

The best part about them all being in my area was that while I was training them and they were working there were repeated comments like “this is hard!  I’m tired.  How do you do this all day? This really takes a long time!”  YES!  Exactly.  Against all popular belief (which I do my best to instill in everyone) I am not magic.  I do not create these things out of thin air.  Instead, I work as hard as I can as fast as I can to make miracles happen.  It was rewarding.

Here are my army of minion

Passive Aggressive

Recently, I was forced to deal with someone on a nearly daily work basis who is passive aggressive.  Generally, if I notice someone is passive aggressive – I just delete them from as much of my life as I possibly can.  I dislike dealing with people who won’t just come out and say what they want and who try to make the rest of the world feel guilty in the meantime.  I’m sure there are things about a straightforward personality that are hard to deal with, but I much prefer that to passive aggressive.

This person would say the most bizarre things and then once they walked away I would realize that they were totally insulting me.  They would also act like they were trying to be helpful, but were really just annoyed that they thought I should be doing things differently.  Let me give an example.

Passive Aggressive: Hello.  How are you?  I need your help getting this document together.  We need it done as soon as you possibly can.

Me: Okay.  Let me know when you’re ready for my help and I will help you.

<WAIT FOUR HOURS until it’s noon>

Me: I’m going to run to lunch.  I’m still willing to help you just as soon as I get back.

<I get back from lunch.  Passive Aggressive is at my desk doing my portion of the work>

Me:  Can I help you with something?

Passive Aggressive:  Oh…well, I have been waiting for you, but you disappeared.  So, I thought that maybe I should just do this part myself.  I am really in a hurry.

Me: Oh…I told you I was going to lunch.

Passive Aggressive: I didn’t realize you meant right when I needed you.  I guess you didn’t realize this was an important project.

<Passive Aggressive walks away>

WHAT!?!?!  In my mind I’m thinking,  “Well, I did wait for four hours….and I’m allowed a lunch break!”

At first I thought it was me.  I went to my mentor and told her that I was having this issue.  She reminded me to take all emotion out of the situation and re-examine.  I did and thought that maybe Passive Aggressive was unaware that she was being ridiculous.  But, then I discovered that multiple people were having the same issue.  Multiple people were annoyed with the underhanded demanding personality.

This has been my first experience with a truly passive aggressive person.  I’m not a fan.  And, yet – I have to work with this person.  It’s odd.  I can’t just avoid or escape like I normally do. I’m being forced to be an adult.  Not a fan…


Recently, I have been struggling with deadlines.  I don’t mean meeting deadlines.  I don’t mean the fact that there are deadlines set.  I mean, I struggle when others set deadlines and don’t meet them.

I am not conceited enough to think that I have never missed a deadline.  I also realize that things happen that make it difficult or impossible to meet a deadline.  However, when the behavior becomes a norm instead of an occasional issue – it’s a problem.  The whole point of a deadline is that it’s something that if you don’t meet it – all efforts are futile.  I mean, right?  Isn’t that the point?  So, if someone is constantly performing futile efforts how are they allowed to continue?

I guess my lesson in this is that I need to make a better effort to be understanding and accepting in whatever is coming my way. I can do my best and simply hope that others do their best as well.  That darn judgemental thing again…I seriously need to work on that!

Labor Day

Growing up we spent every Labor Day working.  My parents said “It’s called Labor Day.  That means we’re supposed to be laboring.”  As an adult, I totally get it.  There is always so much to be done and it’s hard to find days when everyone is around and available.  However, I really really want to have Monday free to relax so I started out the weekend being a slave driver.

I woke up early on Saturday despite the fact that it was a Saturday and I had no where to go. It’s weird to wake up early for no reason.  Not a fan!  I guess it’s something about daily routine, getting old, and the awareness that no one else will do my house work.

My husband and kids slept in so I managed to get laundry going, the kitchen cleaned (including all counters wiped down), and some baseboards wiped down too.  Then, I forced everyone to get up and help.  I think they were pretty excited about it.  What’s not to love about spending a Saturday keeping the laundry going, doing tons of chores, and not going anywhere?

After working all day I kidnapped my husband and we went on an outing to the mall.  Not his favorite place, but I had a couple things I needed to get before school on Tuesday so I made it a date.  It’s lovely to have a child old enough to leave the twins with so we can just drop everything and go.  It was also nice to be able to go into stores without having little people who wanted to look at and touch everything.  Or, having a girl who doesn’t want to go in the boy store or a boy who didn’t want to go in the girl store.  We just went in, did what we needed to do, and left. Fun!

When we got home the boys wanted to go outside and work out so Cora decided to play make over and dress up.  She makes me laugh with her being such a girl.  She pulled out my thick black eyeliner, dark mascara, high heels, reading glasses and big earrings.  We had a ball.



After that, we went over to watch our oldest practice for his upcoming swim meet.  He has gotten so much faster since he started swim team.  Pretty cool.   Of course, his little brother decided the best way to “help” would be to grab and inner tube and make waves.  He was having the best time and I think it was because he thought he was annoying his brother.  Here’s some pics of his face – you be the judge.

We may have spent most the day working, but I really really enjoy my family.  I just feel so blessed to have such great kids and a great husband.  I can’t imagine having a family I don’t want to be around.   And, now to enjoy the rest of my weekend.