Right now, I’m not so thrilled with some of the things going on in my organization. That’s hard for me to say. I love the work I do. I believe in what my organization is trying to accomplish and they are doing a lot of really great and inspiring things. I work in an absolutely beautiful place. In spite of those positives, I have been feeling a bit jaded. I was worried I’d get disillusioned because of organizational politics, but I really don’t want to.
The good news for me is that I just enjoyed a long-planned, wonderful vacation. (The bad news, I missed our conference). It was an amazingly good week of hiking, swimming, playing games and time with friends. I came back to work feeling happy. I looked around at the lovely place and talked with coworkers and I knew I wanted to maintain my joy in work. I had a long think and one of the questions that came to mind is, “Who do I actually work for?”
I do not work for my management. I am sure they would not like to hear me say that (don’t tell!), but for me it’s the truth. I work for the visitors and students who walk through our doors. I work for those who come to me with problems, questions or just want to share their “Aha” moment. I work for each volunteer who donates their time. I work for anyone who gets their water from the City of Seattle. That’s daunting to think about but it’s something I can be proud of and care about.
I got a customer service award not that long ago. I’m sort of embarrassed by it, but I guess it feels good. It’s made me think about what good customer service is and what matters to me. Once you get down to the core, I think I got the award because I care about the customer. Maybe that’s trite but there are certainly worse things I could care about. My question, who do I work for, is the right question for me. It tapped into my beliefs and, dare I say it, my passion. Are you feeling burned out or frustrated? What question do you need to ask yourself?
Written by: Chris Holland, VAN Steering committee