Last Thursday, the HopeSpring Cancer Support Centre staff had a Zoom coffee half hour for me on my retirement. They are a fabulous staff: hard working, creative and compassionate to our members. They asked me what advice I would give them as they moved forward. Here is my advice:
- Keep work and personal technology separate. Work computers, email, text etc. are only to be used for work communications. Use personal phone, email and text for personal things, whether browsing the Internet, texting, volunteer work, or Facebook. Even if you only have one phone, have an email account for work and one for personal. I have done this my whole political life and my work life. It works very well with only the occasional crossover when someone wrote something personal to me at my work email. Also, and this is hard, try to keep your Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter posts not too radical. An potential employer will look for you.
- Assume when you send an email that it will look like you are snippy or shouting. No I don’t mean writing in caps which is the traditional way of shouting on the Internet. I mean that unlike face to face or even a phone call, email and text don’t have body language, face expression or voice tone so the person receiving it can’t tell what you mean. This is why novels have to describe these things and why we have emojis. Unfortunately in business or work communication, emojis seem flippant. Maybe we need to develop work emojis! Meanwhile, try and be incredibly polite in your emails and texts. If something is important, phone, zoom or meet face to face. This is why we have meetings.
- When you want to propose a project or or have been asked to propose a project, bring three decent options for your boss to look at. Even if you have only one option, at least make sure your boss knows what you are up to! Be prepared for questions and discussion, that’s the final way people communicate.
- Make sure everyone is included. I call this the “Bad Fairy Mistake.” In the story Sleeping Beauty, the King and Queen invited all the good fairies to the christening of Princess Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) but they forgot or didn’t want to ask the bad fairy. The bad fairy found out she was left out (They always do) and cursed Princess Aurora to sleep for a hundred years on her 16th birthday. (I particularly like Disney’s Maleficent with Angelina Jolie, rather than the original animated version)
- Treat your co-workers like you want to be treated.
Keep Well in this time of pandemic. I am onto the next adventure. Maybe I will even be writing more often in my blog