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   First Word                by Scott Paton

You're Fired

Does your job seem to exist merely to satisfy the whims of an overbearing Day Timer demigod?


It was a long, hot summer in Northern California. A long, boring summer, too. A summer where each day seemed a carbon copy of the one before, and each new workday brought the same problems. Sure, I took the requisite vacation. Ten days on the Big Island of Hawaii, full of rest, relaxation and sunshine. Unfortunately, Hawaii didn't relieve the summer doldrums I experience every year.

Was your summer long? Does your work seem all-too-easy these days? Have you so organized your day that your job seems to exist mostly to satisfy the whims of an overbearing Day Timer demigod? ("Thou shalt finish thy to-do list before thou canst retire to thy home!") Is your day ruled more by a sense of guilt for not completing all 13 items on yesterday's to-do list than by a sense of purpose?

I found a simple solution to my summer malaise: I fired myself. It was a painful task, to be sure, but one made bearable by the challenge of finding a new job, organizing a new office, relating to a new staff. However, before you relish the thought of staring at a new editor's photo next month, let me explain.

    First, I fired myself; my boss knew nothing of my departure. Second, my intrepid staff also remained blissfully unaware of my termination. Even my wife, whose love and support would have doubtless seen me through this trial, remained unaware of my sacking.

     While slowly incurring irreparable skin damage lying on the Kona coast, I made a mental list of all the reasons why I should fire myself. I'll spare you the lengthy inventory, but suffice it to say, the time had come for me to go. Of course, as a conscientious employee, I couldn't leave my employer in the lurch; I needed to seek an immediate, qualified replacement.

It wasn't long before my ego concluded that there was no one better suited to the job than I. So I imagined starting a brand-new job: evaluating my work space, determining the priorities of my workload, establishing new relationships, and mastering existing processes and my role in them. In short, experiencing a fresh start with a fresh perspective.

Whether you've been in your job six months or 14 years (as I have), you should occasionally "fire" yourself. Then plunge into your "new" job with the same enthusiasm, trepidation and hunger for knowledge with which you began your old one. Not only will you rediscover your role within the organization, you'll also improve upon existing systems, procedures and relationships.

How do you get fired up when you get bored with your job? Send your thoughts on maintaining your workplace enthusiasm to: spaton@qualitydigest.com


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