My boyfriend gifted a memoir subscription to StoryWorth for Christmas. Each week I get a prompt to answer a generic question about my life and upload photos. At the end of 52 weeks they compile a printed keepsake book. It was his way to get to know me better and help me write that book y’all have been going on about… so enjoy!
Week 1: What is your best advice when it comes to work
I’ve had over thirty jobs in my life; newspaper girl, amusement park attendant, waitress, receptionist, administrative assistant, historical researcher, archivist, theater attendant, museum registrar, deputy director, design project manager and whatever we are calling my current job at the time you read this...to name a few.
I’ve served people, worked independently, been an integral team player and managed much older people from wildly different backgrounds. I’ve been the server, janitor, cashier, and even spent a summer crawling around municipal basements being called “little slave girl” by a woman I came to love.
I’ve been stuck behind a desk in a windowless cubicle, spent hours in the far corner of a massive warehouse basement and five years in a plywood loading dock full of mice. I’ve seated drunk Allman Brothers fans, loaded a World War II torpedo through a third story window via crane in the middle of Manhattan, attended black tie galas with Bono, ridden cross country on big rigs with millions of dollars of art and carried around objects from the Titanic in a rolling suitcase on a press tour.
Throughout these various roles, responsibilities, and settings I have learned countless coping mechanisms, life hacks, short cuts, tips and tricks. But in the end, here’s what matters in a job regardless of title or salary:
Always act with respect for others and have integrity in doing a good job at whatever is asked of you - as long as what is being asked doesn’t violate your core values.
You can find satisfaction and pride in any job as long as it’s honest work. There are always things to learn and skills to improve.
At this age, value what you bring to the table beyond a piece of paper from a school (or not). You have real life experience to draw from and you bring priceless institutional social know how to any assignment or project. Make sure your superiors know you have meaningful things to contribute even if it isn’t exactly what they thought they needed.
Be confident and know your shit, but always admit when you don’t know how to do something. Bring solutions or workarounds when this situation arises or offer to try your best with their knowledge that for you the assignment is a stretch. When you set expectations for those above about what you can realistically accomplish, you control the perception.
Sometimes it’s good to under promise and over deliver, especially in new job until you have a good feel for the culture and expectations.
And finally, set your life priorities. Take time to rank where work falls in the level of importance to your overall life satisfaction at that given time in your life with your current financial situation. Once you have a good understanding of those priorities, always strive for balance. Find a way to leave your “work” at the office and spend your God given time alive on this earth mostly doing things you love with those you love the most.