At this point in my life, I have a pretty good handle on what my strengths and weaknesses are. One of my weaknesses has always been fear of public speaking. When I had to speak in front of the class in high school, my face would turn beet red. I'm sure you knew someone like that in your own classroom.
As a writer, I've avoided most public speaking during the course of my career and have no intentions to go to Toastmasters to overcome this particular shortcoming, just as I have no interest in jumping out of an airplane with a parachute or white water rafting down the Colorado River.
At my annual performance review, I was supposed to come up with several goals to enhance/build my skill set. My boss suggested, among other things, a course on public speaking, but I declined and she didn't push it, because she is not the confrontational type. I mean, I was hired as a writer and do a very good job of it; why must employers try to force you to do things you feel uncomfortable doing, especially if it's not a part of your job?
If, for instance, my boss's boss attempted to force me to present in front of our entire group, which numbers about 40, I would actually rather QUIT MY JOB than do that. I am being dead honest about that. And with just a few more years to go until I take an early retirement, I have no interest in advancing my career or getting a promotion. I'm in it purely for the money.
At work my more immediate "team" of about 10 people meets weekly to discuss what everyone's doing. Because we work out of two different locations, these meetings always take place as a conference call. My boss has a new boss, and the new boss naturally wants to do things differently so she can feel she's making a contribution. Each week she picks on someone different to make some sort of presentation for the following week to the rest of the group. This past week she mentioned she wanted me to go next.
I guess it's not really that big a deal because I will be speaking into the phone at my desk, not in front of a live group of people who will be watching how much I sweat. Still, I'm a tad nervous. Silly, I know.
The other difficulty is talking about anything that will be remotely relevant to this group of people. I'm the only writer out of the bunch; heck, I'm the only writer in my location with about 200 employees. I don't know why I was lumped in with this particular group of people, but they had to put me somewhere, I guess. But I have felt like a fish out of water for a long time; when they discuss their jobs, I have NO IDEA what they're talking about. They couldn't be more different than my job.
The rest of my team is in product marketing, yes, but they are more or less like project managers who are responsible for shepherding each communications project, be it a letter, a statement insert, an email or whatever we use to communicate with our customers, through the various rounds of approvals and then producing and mailing it, working with one of our vendor partners.
They know all about the logistics of mailing something to 1 million customers using various specialized/proprietary software to do it, but learning how to write a regulatory letter or apply our brand is not part of their realm of experience.
So I guess my boss is supposed to discuss the subject of my presentation with me in the near future. She was out for the latter half of last week. I already created a 20-slide PowerPoint but it seems a little lightweight to me although it may be somewhat entertaining because I inserted some quotes by Aristotle, Warren Buffet and former SEC Chair Arthur Leavitt about the importance of writing clearly, as well as a cute baby photo.
My mother's new aide seems to be working out fine. From all accounts, she's doing a lot of housekeeping and going on lots of walks around the condo with my mom.
This is really just a stopgap measure but I do hope it will buy us some time before a bigger change...a move...is required to keep my mother safe.
As it is, every SINGLE conversation with my mother shows noticeable forgetfulness and her ability to grasp things is really affected. I am sure that anyone who interacts with her will see it. Even with the aide, or increasing her days/hours, I'm not sure how well my mother can continue living alone.
I gave her a $50 Target gift card for Christmas and I kept asking if she'd used it. She hadn't, and it became more and more apparent that she was confused about how to use it so I've finally decided I will give her the money and take the card and use it myself, to keep things simple.
She wanted to exhibit her work in a spring show at a nearby art and frame shop/gallery. I decided to help her bring her art there today, since this is a very local shop and she has given up other shows further afield.
Tomorrow is my "me" day and I hope to be going for a 20-mile bike ride with a friend on a nice paved bike trail in New York state. It's 10 miles up to a cutesy little town, where we can do lunch, and then 10 miles back. I need to call him to confirm that though.
Strengths and weaknesses
April 18th, 2015 at 01:25 pm