Disconnected

I had a great time in Vegas. I didn’t do much besides walk with my friends from one casino to another while watching one of them play slots as the other played poker, but the trip was very relaxing. Starting from around 10:30am on Friday, I had zero access to the internet all weekend. At first I was hesitant to be so disconnected from the world (I could have bought 24 hour access to WiFi in my hotel room for $12), but having no internet was a great way to force myself not to think about work or any other worries.

In other news, when I came back home Sunday afternoon, I found out about the swine flu outbreak. I hate hearing about possible pandemics; they really scare me. My heart starts racing any time I read about the Spanish Flu. I’ve been keeping up with the news on the swine flu, which makes me worry more. I really hope the World Health Organization (WHO) can get things under control quickly.

What a great way to come back from a weekend with no worries: worrying about a pandemic. I guess I can’t escape reality forever.

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Failure To Communicate

My friend/boss gave me a side project to do but didn’t tell me quite everything I needed to know in order to get it done. I tried doing what I could with it, but in the end I failed to deliver the results he wanted (he actually used the word “failed” several times).

The theme today is communication. What I was supposed to do was figure out what I needed to finish the job properly and communicate with my friend/boss so that he could either provide what I need or direct me to who can help me. My failure with my assignment today was not only a failure to do my job but a failure to communicate.

As my friend/boss was telling me about my lack of communication skills, I recalled my days as a graduate student. I always feared going to see my advisor. Nothing I ever did was good enough; I either didn’t do enough work or what work I had done was trivial.

As a result, I tried to avoid my advisor whenever possible, and our communication was kept at a minimum. When I was forced to meet with him, I was afraid to tell him what I had worked on, because I was afraid he would say I was wasting my time.

I’m doing the same thing again. Whenever my friend/boss asks me what I did during the day, I’m always afraid I’m going to say the wrong thing. I don’t properly communicate with my friend/boss because I’m afraid he’s going to be upset with me. I realize now, though, that he’s going to be more upset with me if I fail to deliver what he needs and didn’t come to him earlier when he could have helped.

Something else my friend/boss said today (that is and isn’t related) is that he has very high expectations of me. He said that when he gives people assignments, he usually gathers all the necessary tools he thinks they need and just tells them to do it. For me, though, he expects more. If he just gives me his end goal, he expects that I can think and research on my own to figure out what I need to achieve that goal. It’s flattering, I suppose, but it’s also a lot of pressure.

Self-Conscious

I made a few more mistakes today. I’m not confident in my abilities, so I ask my friend/boss for everything, but he doesn’t want me to ask him for everything anymore. He wants me to make my own mistakes and learn from them. I am learning, but I hate that I have to make mistakes to learn. I hate looking like a novice.

I really am too self-conscious for the business world. I’ve been a very self-conscious person all my life. I’ve always been afraid that people will judge me and either think I’m stupid or just generally look down on me.

I don’t know why what other people think is so important, but it is. Hopefully I can get over it soon and move forward. No one succeeds in business if they dwell on their mistakes and embarrassments forever.

In other news, my friend/boss and his boyfriend are going to LA Pride (commonly known as just “Pride”) tomorrow. They invited me to go with them, but I’m supposed to go to my cousin’s master’s graduation. Unfortunately, family obligations come before big gay celebrations. Oh well, maybe next year.

Maybe It’s Time

At some point, I have to stop being scared of life. Stop being scared to take risks. Stop feeling sorry for myself.

My friend/boss is presenting me with opportunities to move up in the company, and I’m still reluctant to take on more responsibilities. But maybe it’s finally time to put my reservations aside and rise to the challenge, rather than always backing away.

How does someone change one’s self image? How does someone become more confident? All of the reasons why I’m resisting moving forward are in my head (I’m pretty sure).

Maybe it’s time to do something that’s good for me, despite myself.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

I found out recently that my friend/boss has early stages of carpal tunnel syndrome. Today he wore wrist braces while he worked so that he doesn’t make it worse.

I’m really scared I’m going to get it too. No, I don’t think it’s contagious. Since I have an office job now, I sit in front of a computer screen all day typing and using a mouse. If I’m not careful, I could end up hurting my wrists too.

Every so often throughout the day, I shook my wrists out and did some hand exercises. When I started to notice that my wrists were resting on the keyboard while I typed, or if my wrist was angled when I used my mouse, I stopped and readjusted myself in my seat and brought myself back to a proper position.

I might be overdoing the caution at this point (who worries about carpal tunnel syndrome after two weeks?), but building a good routine in the beginning is easier than breaking bad habits later. I need to get one of those gel wrist rests for my keyboard and mouse so that I can further prevent wrist problems.

A Reluctant Apprentice

Just when I start to get comfortable with my everyday responsibilities, my friend/boss wants to give me more to do. I’m not complaining; I’m just a little scared that he’ll give me too much for me to handle.

My friend/boss talked to me after work, and he explained how he wants me to gain as much from my experience with our company as possible. He doesn’t want me to do only mindless data entry that almost anyone can do. He wants me to learn how to do his job, but I’m not as well versed in business as he is.

He is able to look at market prices of products from competing companies and determine prices for our own products in order to compete. He also has to decide what products should go on sale when for each client so as to not compete with ourselves and eat our own sales. It’s all very complicated.

Whenever my friend/boss gives me something to do or wants me to watch him do something, he wants me to ask questions, even more questions than I’m already asking. He’s trying to get me to understand his thought processes so that I can eventually take the reins.

With every decision my friend/boss makes, he takes risks. He doesn’t know if his plans will benefit the company or whether his promotions will actually attract more buyers. I’m really not a risk taker; I don’t think I could take the kinds of risks he takes.

When I was trying to be a manager at Target, the job didn’t seem as important within the grand structure of the company. But a manager at a smaller company has a lot more weight to pull, an thus a lot more weight on his shoulders as well. I’m reluctant to sign on to that kind of responsibility so quickly.

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More Than An Assistant

Today my friend/boss showed me some basic formulas on how our clients (resellers, basically) determine their selling prices for our products based on the costs we give them. In order to set new selling prices, we have to reverse the formulas to figure out the new costs we should be charging the clients.

While my friend/boss was inputting the formulas into a spreadsheet, I noticed that he oversimplified the reverse formulas (he wasn’t following basic fraction rules). I fixed his mistake! Who thought math would come in handy in business?

Later on in the day, I also noticed that my friend/boss was missing some important information from a few vital spreadsheets he gave me to work on. One of the first things my friend/boss taught me is to not assume things. Just because my friend/boss made the spreadsheets doesn’t mean that they are necessarily complete and/or accurate.

Today was a good day for me. Last week, I felt like I’m just my friend/boss’s assistant, but today I felt more like I’m actually working with him (which is what he wanted anyway).

Now that I’m getting the hang of things, though, he’s probably going to start giving me more responsibilities. I should be excited that I’m doing well (I think) and that my friend/boss is putting his faith in me, but I’m still really scared that I’m going to fail and/or disappoint him.

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