Those who have read this weblog for a while may have noticed a rather distinct change in tone the last few months. The reason for that is that all my time has been consumed by a rather unique project (at least for me). This project revolves around management and organisation.
Normally I occupy myself with our small and narrow field, solving very distinct problems in order to get a little better. And as such we are trained: our education is nothing more but ever increasing training in an ever narrowing field of expertise. We add our findings to the big puzzle in the hopes it will fit on a grander scale in the future. And so I expect to continue for a while to come.
However, I was “asked” to do something completely different, the exact details of which I cannot talk about yet. It is not quite secret, but rather very unfinished and ill-defined still. It involves a lot of organisation and large-scale thinking, and the discovery, refinement and formulation of large-scope questions. This, as you can imagine, is not something I have been trained for, nor have experience in. I am a fish out of water gasping for.. um.. air, I suppose.
But I cannot refuse this, despite having a rather full workload already. I cannot refuse, because like my compatriot scientists, I have complained my arse off about how misguided management has been in a wide variety of institutes. So, when I have a chance to do something about it myself, I cannot turn it down. This just leaves me with the problem of not being trained…
So I do what any obsessive nerd does: I immerse myself in the problem, assume there must be an answer, and try to find helpful comments and hints from the internet, friends and colleagues around me. Fortunately, I have a bit of help from experienced and enthusiastic people, and I hope I can sift through the available avenues and sort it all out.
Things I’ve learned so far:
- It’s not easy being green. I still have little idea what I’m doing, and sure as hell am not doing it very efficiently.
- It’s fun, though. Playing around with a new mindset and scope, and getting paid for it at the same time is certainly interesting.
- It’s an out-of-shell experience. I meet quite many people now from many different fields, where previously I was embedding myself (quite comfortably) in my own “gang”.
- People are hard. I knew this before, but am reminded now that many people are differently motivated, have different energy levels, and should be approached differently. We do not get trained to recognize this or to deal with this in our education track (likewise, we fail to educate people on logic and logical fallacies).
- Document, spread sheets and calendarize. I knew the value of documenting, now I realise the value of spreadsheets and calendars.
- Don’t let other things fall off the radar. This is something I have to remind myself of: I’m quite good at small-angle scattering, and should not forget that I have tasks and duties there that require my attention too. I should not give 100%!
Any further tips? Leave them in the comments below, please!