18 November 2010

Look for an opportunity to be remarkable

Inspired by Srini Rao’s talk, Don’t Look for a Job: Look for An Opportunity to Be Remarkable, I reflected on the many opportunities to be remarkable. If you haven’t seen this video, I recommend you take a listen to what Srini says. His remarks are valid for both college students as well as seasoned professionals.

I’ve thought about ways I’ve tried to be remarkable in my own life, and what might apply for other situations as well.

Work life:
  • Look for ways to stream line processes. Oftentimes, a certain process exists in a company, because “that’s the way we have always done this.” Be an innovator and a problem solver and look for ways to automate tasks, or cut out the fluff. I’m a software tester by profession, and I really try to automate 80% of my tasks. This lets me focus on the remaining 20%, which is usually the really hard stuff.
  • Question whether you really need to be at that meeting. Unfortunately, some companies have many meetings, and there exists the culture of having pre-meeting meetings. If you don’t really think you need to be there, say so. Ask if you can just get the summary of decisions made. This way, you will have more time to...
  • Focus on your most important project. If you don’t know what this is, ask your manager or boss. Find out what the most important thing is that you need to be working on today, and work on fulfilling that. When I arrive at work each morning, I ask myself this question. I periodically will discuss this with my manager to make sure that our goals are synchronized.
Now I realize that these tips are probably not what Srini had in mind. I assume that you already have a job, and are looking for ways to be remarkable there. I also believe that there are ways to be remarkable beyond the 9 to 5.

Life in general:
  • Give your stuff away. This last weekend, I was gathering up our old baby gear, and was planning on taking it to a local resale shop to see if they needed any of it. Some things, like portacribs, are not accepted at Goodwill, so, I might as well try to make a buck if I can. I have also asked other expectant parents if they needed any of this, but hadn’t found a good home for everything. But, then my partner, D, asked an expectant co-worker if they needed anything. She said yes, and was so grateful for the offer. Her husband has been out of work, and they only had bought a crib. I feel so helpful that I can give them our old car seat/stroller combo, as you need a car seat to leave the hospital with your newborn.
  • Invite people over. Whether for a meal, or to stay the night, people thrive on human interaction. Make memories for your family, and have a great time.
  • Learn a foreign language. You will not only gain the ability to speak to more people on planet Earth, you will also expose yourself to new cultures and new ideas. And this makes it more fun to...
  • Travel. Everyone loves to travel, right? The best way to do it, though, is to avoid packaged tours and cruises, and get into the daily lifestyle of your destination. This, again, expands your mind as you learn how other people live and think. You will find that this exposure will change you on the inside. After living in Germany for three months, I again yearn for another opportunity to submerse myself in another culture.
I’m sure there are lots of other ways to be remarkable in your life. I’ve only scratched the surface.


yearlyglot said...

I like your answers for Life in General, and I do the same things. However I don't agree with the answers for Work Life. I believe that in order to be truly remarkable in your work life, you need to first find a way to stop making someone else rich, and instead find a way to enrich the lives of others.

Spica said...

I agree with what you are saying about finding a way to enrich others. My suggestions for work life assume that you enjoy your job and it is meaningful work to you.

If this is not the case, then one could take my suggestions as a way to do your best despite the situation. This is often the situation for many people, unfortunately.

If you have found a way to enrich others via your work, then I think that is wonderful.