I was interviewing a chief executive for a feature about female CEOs. During our conversation, she brought up the idea of “having it all”.
It’s all boiled down to flexibility.
The woman, who owns a waste management firm, said it is up to the individual to know what “all” is. She also narrowed it down to organization. That got me thinking about my own memes of “having it all” and achieving general success.
Being organized is essential in my line of work. I wouldn’t know how to manage if I wasn’t in order. I’m at the point where I treat it as a game. I have an app to manage my time for certain projects. It’s a race to get as much done in a small lot of time. Add the obsessive urge of me making lists and folders, it’s enough to keep me motivated and efficient.
But not every day’s the same. There are roadblocks and detours to get around. Organization is a daily mission, a mission of flexibility that exposes whether we have a Plan A, B, C and beyond. It’s a skill.
One of my most influential bosses, whom the majority are women, have taught me the whole theory of organization and how to move on the fly. At the time, I thought it was a waste of time. One of my superiors had me make a list for every job responsibility bestowed upon me. Then, write a line-by-line description of every move . It was grueling as much as it was mundane.
The motto was, “write it as if a 12-year-old boy could read the instructions and do your job”. Not that my job was so pathetic that a pre-teen could do it (it wasn’t, it was awesome) but in short, the plan was to keep it simple.
I was doing it so much that before long I looked forward to chronicling my work. The decrease of stress and worry was immediate when I dove into work projects. I was engaged and wanting to improve. It lead to raises, more responsibility and job security. When my boss wanted to know what I did, all I needed was a chart or folder to put on her desk.
The ability to navigate my mission of flexibility has been one of my admiring professional qualities. I still have all the charts and folders I made along with other plots and procedure manual I’ve authored since then. It’s still helping me to find work and staying on top of workday.
What is your idea of “having it all”?
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