From box wrestler to exterminator, I love my job, most of the time!

I love my job, most of the time. Almost daily I am asked for my autograph. FedEx and UPS must think I’m some sort of celebrity or something–NOT!

I have a window where I can see the weather. Most of my co-workers do not have a window and tell me how jealous they are. I see a lot of trees, but not much else. Occasionally, a skink, bird, squirrel or other creature will appear, but most of what I hear is planes from the airport.

A requirement for this job is to wrestle with boxes, breaking them apart for recycling. Sometimes, I think the box gets the better of the fight!

I get to go outside daily (in all kinds of weather) to take out and bring in the mail. It’s a challenge figuring out who gets what, even though I have an extensive list of instructions. Walking to the back of the building and back to the front is what I call the postal service fitness program!

I have to have eyes in the back of my head to see employees coming to the door to get in (without digging out their key).

Sometimes I will rescue a co-worker–at a moment’s panicked notice–from ‘monsters’ in her office. I get to play exterminator by getting rid of hairy things that look like millipedes, only worse. Don’t really know what their insect class is, but I’m the hero of the moment when my co-worker can relax that it’s finally gone and won’t bother her again…until the next one appears!

I have a co-worker who has an ongoing hate relationship with the postage machine, more like intimidation. She tries, but I end up taming the beast.

We have an ice machine that is intent on banging us on the head with its cover. Don’t know how we’ve offended it, but it keeps on with its mischievous behavior.

There are a lot of other things I do at work, too numerous to mention. It helps to have a sense of humor, especially on busy days when my boss and I are frazzled.

Lord, when I’m frazzled and overwhelmed—whether at work or wherever I am–help me to keep my perspective regarding what’s important right now and what can wait until later. Help me to listen to your Holy Spirit whispering amidst the clamor of daily life. Amen!

Copyright © 2016 by Theresa M. Williams

A case of survivor guilt

I’m not sure why this subject is on my mind, but it is. Several years ago, I worked at an insurance help desk. There was a fellow employee in New York whom we will call Diane. She had called me requesting a change to one of the business software programs. When I checked with programming, they told me that since it was going to be replaced with a new web-based application, making the change wouldn’t be cost-effective. That made sense; however, I was convinced Diane wouldn’t be happy. I called her back and gave her the bad news. She wasn’t real pleased, but for some strange reason, we left the incident ticket open. Then there was the tragedy of 9/11. Our company would tell us when the New York office was re-opened so we could contact our colleagues. When that day came, I called Diane. The first thing I asked her was “How are you doing?” I told her I was following up on that ticket, but of course the answer was the same, and I was going to have to close the ticket. She said that was fine. The issue simply wasn’t important anymore. (I suspect 9/11 had changed her perspective; it sure sounded that way.) Then, Diane told me that she was in the gift shop on the first floor when the plane struck the towers on 9/11. She told me something I’ll never forget: “I should have been upstairs.” She said it more than once. I gently inquired “You feel guilty, don’t you?” She admitted she did. I assured her that it was okay to have survived (such a horrible tragedy), and there must be a reason she was still here. I told her God still had a purpose for her life. She quietly acknowledged, I wished her the best, and we hung up. I never had occasion to call her again, but I still think of Diane from time to time and wonder how she’s doing. I later learned that her reaction was called survivor guilt.

I stumbled across a website that discusses survivor guilt as well as other traumatic occurrences such as sexual assault, PTSD, auto accidents, grief, and many more. Even if you haven’t suffered one of these, it’s an excellent educational resource. I have listed the website Gift From Within under the Resources heading at the top of this blog. God bless!

Copyright © 2015 by Theresa M. Williams

Holy Listening – part 2

The ‘know it all:’ You think the person speaking to you can’t possibly tell you something you don’t already know, so why listen? After all, you know everything, right?

Action: Just listen. You may discover something new, a different perspective, maybe even something useful and important.

The interrupter: Getting ahead of others, finishing their thoughts, acting as though what you have to say is more important than what they have to say. You’re presuming/assuming what they will say.

Action: If there’s a long pause, be patient and let them figure out their thought before they resume speaking.

The ‘one upper:’ Saying ‘oh, that’s nothing,’ and then comparing your experience to theirs such that yours ends up being bolder, better, and more dramatic. This minimizes what the other is saying and makes you look arrogant and them look/feel stupid—a definite ‘no no.’

Action: If you want to know more about their experience, ask gentle, polite questions or say ‘tell me more.’

General rule: If you’re unable to listen at the moment:

If possible, politely tell the person that now is not a good time to talk because you realize you can’t listen properly.

Ask to postpone the conversation until you can focus.

These behaviors and bad listening habits can definitely turn people off and make a negative impression. Do you really want to do that? Sometimes you don’t get another chance to make a good impression.

Copyright © 2015 by Theresa M. Williams