So starting May 2nd, I moved into my new position at work. It requires longer hours than my previous position, but my writing output has skyrocketed. Here are my accomplishments for the past month:
- Finished a critique that was long overdue,
- Did another revision of my epic fantasy,
- Prepped and submitted my epic fantasy,
- Tackled my Cinderella story again, adding almost 5000 words.
Compared to what I’ve been doing over the previous half-year, this is remarkable. The difference, I believe, is attitude.
In my previous job, I was very morose. There were a number of difficulties I won’t get into here, but it affected my attitude in making me nervous of the future, depressed, and feeling somewhat worthless. I tried gamely to write–almost every night, except when we had our Firefly marathon–but I was unsatisfied with the results. Nothing was good enough. I thought it was all crap.
I knew I needed a change at work, so I started talking to people. I spoke to a previous manager, who spoke to her manager, who spoke to her husband, who hired me. It turned out that he spoke to some people too, and got some recommendations from unexpectedly high places. When I went for my interview, he told me that it was mostly a formality, because I came highly recommended. And then he proceeded to tell me exactly who had recommended me. Leaving me open-mouthed in shock.
One thing about getting recommendations is what it does for your confidence. I still work my butt off to earn those recommendations that those people gave me. And I come home with such a transformed attitude that my husband still remarks about it.
If you manage people, please, let them know when they are doing a good job. Don’t wait until performance review, when you’ll forget the specifics. Send it in writing, and then keep them for the performance review, when you can refer to all the kudos you have given out. I know you probably only can give so many “exceeds expectations” a year, but it’s not fair to your employees to make that decision hard on them. Won’t you feel better about making that decision if you can take a folder out just filled with kudos that you have given your team? Knowing that you have so many good people to choose from? And even if you can’t give them all an exceeds, you an find other ways to reward them. It doesn’t have to cost money. We employees know what’s going on.
Also, if you manage people, especially professional people, please, trust them. Yes, they’ll screw up, but they don’t want to, and most employees will try to fix their mistakes. When you micromanage, you make your employees feel worthless. Like you don’t even trust them to do their job. It has helped my attitude so much that my new manager simply flings work at me, often without bothering to check the results. And I get it done.
And even if you don’t manage or supervise anyone, no matter what you do, your attitude is going to affect how you perceive the quality of what you are doing. I looked over the stuff I had written before my transfer, and I was surprised to find myself laughing at least once a page. Before my transfer, I thought everything I had written was crap. Now, I’m looking at it and I know that it was just my poor attitude, looking at my writing through turd-colored glasses. It isn’t crap. My enthusiasm for the story has rebounded after months and months of thinking it was awful.
If your attitude is poor, please, look for the source of that poor attitude and try to do something about it. Focus on one problem at a time–the one that is the most easily solved. I couldn’t do anything about this poor housing market, the depressing economy, the tumult in the publishing industry, and certain other things affecting my life. But I could and did change my job. It very unexpectedly turned out to be the easiest thing to change. And it helped so much. A similar change may help you, too.
Attitude is everything.