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Seeing with a new perspective

Sitting down to write this post has turned out the be the most difficult task this first week of school. So, despite my strong desire not to start with the standard introduction of myself, I find it my last resort. I'm a Nutrition Science major with a scientific and technical communications minor. After graduating I plan on attending law school with a focus on corporate law. One of my favorite ways to spend time is, actually, working. I work for a communications coaching and consulting firm in downtown Minneapolis and my time spent there has proven to be infinitely valuable.

As for my technological experience, it began when I was really young, maybe 2nd or 3rd grade. Ever since the beginning I taught myself through trial and error, always keeping in mind that there was almost nothing I could do that could not be fixed later. Today, I handle all of the IT support for my company including server and webpage maintenance and still continue to learn new things everyday. I try to keep up with as much Web 2.0 material as possible but find it becoming increasingly more difficult as new applications are appearing at a faster pace. I am familiar with and use many applications such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr, Gmail, etc.

I found the readings really interesting and thought that they provided me with a new perspective I have neglected to notice in the past. I really wanted to discuss the ideas of busy and bursty work as I found them somewhat perplexing. Just from my experience in the corporate world I do feel like we are making somewhat of a shift to bursty work but busy obviously still takes precedence. With technology being what it is today including email, texting, blackberrys, etc. there is no real way to escape work. This forces a bursty style on all professionals but coincidentally it seems that this shift is fueled by the busy nature of the corporate world, as referred to in Connect!. I don't believe that it would be possible for the most successful people to be what they are today if they worked only in a bursty style and Zelenka seems to agree with this. I feel that it is impossible to complete everything that needs to be completed with a bursty style of work. Many projects actually will require complete concentration and I don't feel that a bursty style is conducive to that. Just in my own personal experience, while reading the chapter I could easily pick which colleagues and clients fell into which work style. It seems that the ones with the least amount of stress and the most success are the ones who tend to have a more busy than bursty style. I do not feel that bursty is bad but rather works best in conjunction with busy. Perhaps this understanding will help me discover what works best for me.

Comments

I was somewhat perplexed by the concepts of busy and bursty as well but upon further reflection, I concluded that I work in a busy environment. This characteristic is so strong and has defined my work life for so long that frankly, I have a hard time imagining another style. That busy is how I work actually makes me kind of sad. I'm supposed to be a creative professional, a graphic designer to be specific, and creativity seems like a poor match for a busy work style.

I am not completely surprised that this should be the case however as I think that my work is poorly understood by the institutions I serve. Throughout my career, I've chosen to work for large organizations within an inhouse creative/marketing department. The clients I serve know that I do something with pictures and words but imagine the process to be primarily technical or something like decorating. I attribute these misconceptions in part to the emergence of user-friendly software like Microsoft Word or Publisher that try to be professional design programs. They lead their users to believe that anyone who can use Publisher is a graphic designer, in other words, a technician of some sort. As a result, I end up doing a lot of technical, service work: fulfilling requests for artwork, creating PDFs, revising copy, etc. I always work on tight deadlines and juggle constantly changing priorities that someone else determines. Having to constantly attend to busywork, I'm amazed that I can do anything creative at all.

Because my work environment is not naturally conducive to creativity, I'm very interested in the concept of bursty work and how I might construct such an environment for myself. I long to be the master of my own time and to set my own goals and objectives. Zelenka's book seems to promise a tantalizing alternative to busywork.

Hi Sara. Similar to you, I found that writing my post was somewhat of a difficult task for me. I have no problem talking in person, and I am quite a chatter-mouth, but for some reason, I kind of had somewhat of a hesitance when it came to posting. It felt like there was a delay in my speech but instead of the delayed speech coming out of my mouth, it was coming out of my fingertips onto the keyboard and into the web. We both got through it though. Whew! Yay to us! Bringing up the name of your blog entry: "seeing with a new perspective" -- I think this class WILL help us see with a new perspective! I'm looking forward to it!

Good to know that the readings are working for all of you! It'll be interesting to see what we all choose to take away/keep at the end of the semester and how it ultimately impacts our work. (In case it's not obvious, I'm rethinking some things along with you guys.)