Last post was November 28th. How did I survive the holidays and the first part of the semester without blogging? It's become so comforting to write my thoughts; memories, worries, frustrations, dreams. I get it out on the screen, and I feel lighter in spirit. Damn you Brad King!
At my performance evaluation with my new supervisor in late December, I was directed to keep a daily journal of my work. One thing community managers (or community relations folks) ought to consider is developing a work flow in order to be able to do this without too much pain. Of course, I resisted the assignment because I'm initially a child when it comes to doing something I really don't want to do. I pout. I procrastinate. I indulge in self-pity. I eventually get over it and figure out a way to do the new assignment with savvy.
I started with a "dear diary" list every day. Then, I started to group patterns of contacts, groups and overlapping constituencies as a way to demonstrate how maintaining these relationships; while non-linear, serve the institutional strategic plan. It feels contrived to categorize so many of the people I have grown fond of; people I trust, people I admire. I know that by being present with people, taking risks together is less scary. We've got each other's back. We're ready to grow through shared work.
I've been keeping my log of activities by cross listing my emails, twitter streams, Facebook updates, website analytics, Google alerts, four square checkins, and yes, even my Klout score. Much of this won't mean much to a folks who doesn't see social media as anything beyond fluff. But the impact of the circle of contacts (which looks very much like my Google+ circles, BTW) shows a depth of understanding our community. I'm making a directory or a map of people, and trying to illustrate it in a way that others can figure out the relationships. This is way more than a data base, or a contact list. I'm trying to make a map that's actually useful to someone who don't already know where they are going when it comes to navigating the PEOPLE in our community.
My draft of January/February work journal is going to look really cool when it's done. This is only one part of my goal. I want to establish this way of reporting so that once my supervisor starts to make sense of my work, he won't continue to ask for the journal. I'll be able tofree up my evening reflection time to go back to blogging. Heck, I may even get back to my research! (wait a minute what's a staff person doing research for?.... that's another rant about to boil up.) [btw, did I mention the opinions in this blog do not reflect that of my employer? - better make a note of that in my "about me" section....]
So how have I survived my self centered life without blogging? Simple enough; friends. Great friends. The kind of friends who make a double sized meatloaf to have me and the kids over for dinner while Steve takes another weekend drive to Detroit (left this morning, coming back tomorrow night) to help siblings resolve his mother's estate, get her house ready for market; continue to be the loving brother. The kind of friends who bring me a chilled bottle of Mommy juice in the afternoon just to hear me talk on and on for two hours about my latest tale of woe. The kind of friends to text me out of the blue to check up on me. The kind of friends to patiently wait for me to have my temper tantrum and to take the time I need to find my bounce.
Today was a great day. If not for the Step Dance event that I dragged my kids to see after dinner tonight, I could have said it was a day without any work. But I went to the event in sweats that smelled of baby spit up, and muddy dog. I snuck in with the kids in the back; waved to as many students and folks as recognized me, and let my kids bounce around their seats as they watched the dancers in awe. Tried as I might, I still couldn't help but embrace my work in the moment.
On my work log for today I wrote:
Represented Lehigh University as sponsor of a Lehigh student initiative in Step Dance with Broughal Middle School. Lehigh's Finest, Lehigh's Hip Hop Club, Lehigh's future Mu Sigma Upsilon Multicultural sorority, The men of the Uman Chapter of Lambda Sigma Upsilon, and Broughal administrators connected. ArtsLehigh funded the activity; one that I've hoped to see for four years; just waiting for the right mix of student leadership and opportunity. In the last six years, I've become a good judge on which activities are going to work, and which ones will be only a noble effort. This activity will increase mentorship between Lehigh student leaders and the students of Broughal. Through supporting the relationships between these student groups, more local students of multiple racial and socioeconomic backgrounds will envision themselves as future college students. This is a good activity which will need more encouragement and support if it is to be sustained in future years beyond the current student leadership.
Tomorrow, I promise I'll take day off. But only in visible work. I'll end up reading/purging email, going through the papers and notes I brought home, creating task goals for the week, prepare lecture outlines for class, and put a good dent in the novel of a writer who is coming to campus in a week. OK, that's not a day off. But the ironing, the meal plan, the shopping, the short dog walk, Church, knitting class, and the Sunday dinner will all get done on top of it. Oh spit - and I almost forgot about the tasks I need to get done before the CCA board meeting, the Cops n Kids Celebration planning, the Bethlehem Fine arts Commission announcements, figure out the plan for Girl Scouts, and the artist in residence.
Where's that mommy juice?