What You Do Matter

Has anyone ever felt as if the work you’ve done doesn’t mean anything? Or isn’t appreciated? Or maybe didn’t know exactly how you fit into the workplace?

I’ve felt like that for a while at my new job until today.

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Until today, I thought I was just helping the directors and departments with small tasks that they don’t want to do; which are sent to the Lab Assistants, who are paid to do what everyone else hates. I didn’t understand why I kept being asked to file and organize binders and manuals, or why I was asked four times in one week by different people to research articles and topics they need information on and enter data. I didn’t see how these tasks that I would be doing every week…helped or benefited anyone in the department. I just considered them to be pud tasks that no one wanted to do.

Now as I say this, I am someone that appreciates seeing the results of what I do. I don’t need to see that I am appreciated for the work I do at all. Rather, that I am someone who prefers to see how my work impacts an individual or group in order to complete a goal or objective to benefit the community as a whole.

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For those who do not know what I do, or are curious….I work at WSU Community Engagement Institute under the IMPACT Center. I have been working there since the middle of August as a Lab Assistant. My work entails a variety of work from researching and data entry as I mentioned to helping with AmeriCorps and providing assistance for the directors that hold conferences when necessary. Those are just the tasks I’ve worked on so far, but there are always different tasks every week. That’s kind of the gist of what I do on a weekly basis.

So today I had a meeting with one of my bosses and a couple of the other lab assistants in the department and we brought up what we would like to learn more about, which was a variety of projects, not just sticking to specific tasks every week. When we brought this up, he mentioned that most employees send us certain projects that they know we thrive in and do an excellent job in; because they tend to stick with a student that can get the job done correctly the first time. That’s when I realized that was why he would always give me the task to research support groups and other topics, and why other employees would have me enter data for them and so on. In that moment, I knew why I kept getting the same tasks, even though I still want a mixture of projects; they were really happy with my research and conclusions, organizational, data entry, and filing skills. That makes me feel so much more confident in myself when I know other co-workers in different departments can rely on me for researching things, entering data, and whatever else they might throw at me next.

While I say that I am grateful that they see those as my strengths, I would still love to learn more about other skills and improve on them over my next 6 or so months there. Especially when I want to eventually work with children after I graduate, and since we have an Early Childhood department I might as well try and take advantage of projects the director of the department may have for me. Luckily, our boss today mentioned that is one of his goals; to make sure that we get an opportunity to work on as many different projects as he can to improve our skill sets across the board.

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Thus, I am grateful and appreciate the opportunity to improve my skills across all the departments and work with a variety of individuals at the Institute. It can never hurt to gain and improve skills across multiple fields, especially for someone who will be graduating with a Bachelors in Psychology. Plus they look great on a resume. I do have to admit that I will be sad when my time is up at CEI in May, but I will forever be grateful for my current bosses for giving me this opportunity to learn and grow as a person.

In the Ashes,

The Rising Phoenix

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