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My Work-Life Smoothie, a little bit of web work, a little trip to the farmer's market

Just as this week’s Connect! reading said, I tend to make a “work-life smoothie? (p259). I find that I am most productive when I am completing personal and professional tasks together. For awhile I assumed I was one of the few individuals in the corporate world to do it. But while going through this reading I began to think back and really could see how it was happening all around me, just in different capacity. One of the biggest indicators hit me today while I was shopping the farmer’s market downtown (I was on my way back to the office from a meeting). If we lived in a culture where all we did was draw a thick, black line between personal and professional, the downtown farmer’s market would not be swimming with people (all in suits) at 10:00 am on a Thursday. Furthermore, I would not have to stand in line at Target to do a return behind a woman on her blackberry at 2:00 pm today. It appears that all of our connectedness has actually freed us. Thanks to blackberrys, iPhones and laptops, we are able to smoothly integrate our professional and personal lives. As Zelenka said on page 259 and 260, it is important to blend work and personal activities and it is important to find “a lifestyle in which they complement each other?. I am lucky enough to work at an office where mental health is highly valued. After a really stressful meeting or in the morning where it is hard to get focused and get going, a walk to Barnes & Noble or Target is encouraged. In fact, on most of these little sabbaticals we find inspiration for an ongoing project or ideas to start a new one.

As the only real web worker in my office I can very quickly become frustrated when trying to explain why certain changes to our website is important or why our office wiki should be used by more people than just me and another coworker. It is hard for me to integrate my colleagues into my Web 2.0 culture, then again, that is why they hired me (to avoid dealing with it themselves). This is where Zelenka’s piece on “Your Web of Connection and Support?, page 268 really came in. I realized that I’m really not alone in my office when it comes to the Web 2.0 world. I have forged some very powerful relationships with other web workers through a variety of blogs I commonly post on. However, Zelenka spends a great deal of time talking about how to make your web relationships real through text messaging, instant messaging, social networking site, etc. I didn’t really find a whole lot of value in this idea particularly appealing. Part of the reason I contribute to these blogs is because there is no real expectation. I found that after developing a few personal relationships with other bloggers the conversations became stunted, no one wanted to write something that might upset their web friends. I like the freedom of the hidden identity that comes with blogging. I have a connection to other web workers but I don’t have any obligations. Some of the best and most creative ideas and projects came from some pretty heated debates on a few blogs. I would have never have found the concept for our latest seminar had I not pushed a few buttons on another blogger. All of these relationships ultimately end well because we are separated by distance and because quite frankly we are not forced to be overly personal. So while I see the value that Zelenka holds in making your web relationships real I don’t think it works for everyone and there is potential in creating a web of mysterious friends with the only expectation being a strong discussion and not a personal relationship.

Now that I have spent some much time on the reading I really would like to take a minute to talk about what has and has not worked in these past 15 weeks.
I have really expanded my perspectives through this class and while there were a few things I didn’t necessarily enjoy I think it all worked. It worked because we were exploring as a group of web workers, because we tried things and either conquered or failed together. Through using Twitter I began to really see the rest of the class and that was a positive I could not have foreseen coming into the class. While I really was not a fan of Thinkature I did learn what I will want from similar applications in the future. I have to admit that I wasn’t a big fan of del.icio.us until I tried it and now I see what all of the hype is about. The wiki turned out really well and I would have really had liked more time to work on it. Overall I believe everything worked and I look forward to taking some of my new knowledge with me as I continue to grow as a web worker.

So, What will I take away?- It is great to explore new options in Web 2.0 as they are constantly changing and it is important to do this with a group because each person’s perspective holds a lot of value. Finally, I want to continue as a web worker, my quiet little world at work at no one really knows about (Web 2.0) is very powerful and will continue to offer my tools to improve my skills and grow.

Comments

Hello Stephanie, I LOVE the title of your blog post. It totally got me hooked. It didn't stop there. I was hooked reading your post. You had written that you are most productive when you complete personal and professional tasks together. If your productivity is greatest like that, I'd say keep continuing to do that. Productivity is so important in class and work. I totally admire those companies that enable their employees to blend/balance work-life. General Mills, Best Buy, and Medtronic are examples of such companies. I was just talking to someone about Medtronic yesterday, and she said that they have on-site fitness centers. General Mills I heard has that, too. I used to work nearby Best Buy, and they have on-site daycare. To me, that shows how the company cares for their employees. In turn, the employees are more productive. Everyone benefits!