Victory Laps: What was your biggest accomplishment this year?
There are several things that probably make me a good employee on paper: I have a Masters of Public Health and maintained high marks in graduate and undergraduate school, I have worked on some very unique and successful projects but also know the bitter taste of failure and have learned from that, I have presented at a national conference, and I am a leader in my own division in training and education.
But my real secret weapon, which is a lot harder to
brag talk about on a resumé? These:
Maybe this is the part where other people might tell you, “Ha! Well, not cat memes but they represent [insert a terrible metaphor here].”
But I do mean cat memes. In every presentation in which I think it might be even marginally appropriate, I place at least one cat meme as long as it is even marginally related to the topic at hand. Emails have cat memes, inter-office memos have cat memes, my cube walls have cat memes. Some I look up, some I create. Most have been viewed not only by my supervisor, but her boss and her boss’ boss and once by her boss’ boss’ boss. “Cat memes” was mentioned as an integral part of my nomination for an achievement award at work. Cat memes.
And here’s where I add my own not-that-terrible metaphor.
What I bring to my workplace is fun. Three simple letters, one simple concept. Something we were born knowing how to do, and yet most of us lose that by the time we start our careers. The most element of society most overlooked by the governments that try to rule it.
I have fun at work. And I make working with me fun. And most importantly, I make the work we do fun. I don’t diminish it’s importance or it’s scientific value or the very scary impacts some of it can have (I work in a water contaminants group, so, you know… ew), but I work really hard to poke at and sometimes even wake up the creativity and playfulness of the scientists on my team.
Most of us spend 40+ hours a week at our jobs. During the traditional 5 day work week, most of us will spend more time at work than time preparing and eating meals, than time spent with our spouses or children, than time exercising or practicing a hobby, and (for many) than time spent sleeping. I wasn’t willing to give up that much time of my life to anything that wasn’t fun. But I also have to have a job. So, I set out to make my job fun and I did it. I made it fun for me. I made it fun for the people I work with. I have a reputation that precedes me for both taking no bullshit and having/being a lot of fun. I wouldn’t trade that for all the money.