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OMG EVERYBODY PANIC

10 August 2011

As I’ve mentioned before, I work a day job. It’s one of those jobs that I consider writing in a very tangential sort of way. I do write stuff, but it’s writing to external specifcations. To me, it’s more like information processing than actual writing. I’ve said for years I’m basically a word janitor.

But even word janitors have deadlines, and over the years, I’ve seen many different ways of handling them. At my first “real job” out of college, all of the writers and editors worth their shit would just buckle down and get things done. When I worked for a huge multinational electronics company, people would try too hard to partner with too many people, so nothing ever really got done. And at one of the places I’ve worked in Texas, the response to a deadline was sheer panic.

Nothing ever gets done in an environment of total panic. There are a lot of “what are we gonna do?!” meetings, but these just eat up time and ramp up the panic level. Then outside people get involved, further gumming up the works. Deadlines pass or get pushed back, and the panic level goes from orange to red.

Me, I prefer to be like the first example — keep your head down and put in the work. Panic is not only counterproductive, it’s unhealthy. But working hard and getting things done? That never killed anybody.

Well, in this country, anyway.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. 10 August 2011 1009

    Hard work can kill though (someone who fails to actually take vacations, or just destress).

    I wonder how many heart attacks can be attributed to overworking ?

    • 10 August 2011 1022

      I was being a bit smart-assed with that last line, but the first example — working hard without panic, without stress, is infinitely healthier than panicking *and* not getting anything done, because that stress just builds and builds.

  2. 10 August 2011 1016

    I can’t believe you say meeting eat up time! 😉 Clearly, without them, nothing would get done. It’s much better to talk about the things we could and should do a myriad ways than shutting up and actually, oh…writing!

    As one familiar with this project and talking with other word janitors, I’ve seen a person out for more than a week because they stressed and ended up with pneumonia. I know of people who have had tense times in their relationships with others. It’s constant panic and stress. Not to be all like, “We’re number one! We’re number one!” but by not panicking and just turning things around, things get done.

    I have no idea if we’ll make our deadline, but I won’t stress about it either way. That’s the thing: when you do all you can do, that’s it.

    I may work some overtime or weird hours to get my part done, but I sleep well at night knowing I’ve done all I can do.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to prepare for a meeting 🙂

    • 10 August 2011 1024

      Yeah, I just don’t get that. It’s just a job. Don’t let it make you sick. Do the best you can, but learn to let go.

    • 10 August 2011 1146

      Is it a Pre-Meeting Meeting or a Pre-Meeting Pre-Meeting that you’re prepping for ?

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