On making contributions…

Contributing to society is something that’s always been important to me. I want to make the most out of my life while I’m around and I figure that in order to really feel fulfilled, I need to contribute to the world, at large.

I’ve donated my time to several teenage girls over the years (some of the most rewarding work I’ve ever done, especially when one of them remembered this ONE thing that I told her…man, that was huge). I’ve done some fund-raising or given money to various organizations throughout the years (Red Cross and these types of things). I’ve given my knowledge of wedding and event planning to numerous friends and acquaintances (one of my favorite things to do, quite honestly).

But recently, I’ve been pondering my contributions in the work place.

I had a meeting with my boss the other day to let him know that as I get closer and closer to degree completion, I need to start thinking about how to apply my education to my job. Business realms aren’t the most ideal for me, but I can contribute nonetheless. I think we can all apply our own skill set to whatever job or position we’re in at any given moment, regardless of it’s desireability.

So how does an English major with a passion for all things grammatical apply her know-how to airplanes and insurance? I have absolutely no idea. So this is where I have to start thinking outside the box. Okay, so I’m not going to be writing any journal articles for my company any time soon (I don’t have the background industry knowledge, for one). But what about manuals? Templates? Handbooks? I’m damn good at spelling things out pretty clearly.

This sort of goes back to something I read in The Trump Card several months ago. Ivanka had an entire chapter devoted to knowing when and how to ask for more money. “Be prepared,” she suggests. Have documentation, quantifiable data, prove yourself! The one thing she said that really hit home (although, frankly, after reading it, should have been kind of “duh” info) was: If you’ve been at the same job for five years doing the same thing, you shouldn’t be asking for a raise. You should be glad you have a job.

That’s the thing. Gone are the days when employees are bonused or raised based on longevity. Employers and employees alike are looking for more. And I hate to say it, but “in this economy” employers need to be given a reason to keep us around, much less give us raises. We, the employees, want decent benefits, decent hours, and good pay. They, the employers, want to know why they should do that for us. Yeah, we’re all good at our jobs, but how many of us are truly indispensable?

I have a very good friend, who happens to kind of a BFD at her company, and at 30 years old is a bigger deal than I could ever hope to be when I retire! However, she didn’t get there on hopes, wishing, or bitching. She did something about it! She got her MBA, she created processes and forms and really substantial systems. And she sure as hell isn’t afraid to make sure the right people know what she’s doing and she’s even less afraid to tell her boss when she’s bored or under-challenged. And this is part of why she is the BFD she is. This is a girl who, in the middle of a massive recession, hiring freezes, and lay-off frenzies, wound herself up with a raise and a promotion. No small potatoes, I should think.

So when she talks, I listen.
And in the meantime, I try to come up with additional contributions I can make, other suggestions I have, things I can do to make myself more valuable in an attempt to become, well, indispensable.

Here goes nothin’….

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