Organizational Therapy

A mess of badges

That sounds like some sort of management bullsh!# buzzword, doesn’t it?  But it’s not.

I didn’t job hunt today.  I didn’t go seek a mobile office.  I will admit that today, I holed up in my cave a bit and did the hermit thing.  Well, the hermit-with-a-compulsion-to-file things…thing.

I mean, what else should a girl do when much of her life is in other people’s hands?  Now, now, before you chide me to take action to move my life forward instead of waiting for life to happen, allow me to assure you (and my fretting father) that I’m doing the job hunting thing too.  Applications keeping going in, networking keeps happening, research, all that good stuff.  It’s all happening.  But at some point in this job hunt, I had to realize that I am, at least partially, at the mercy of others: their timelines, their decisions.  It’s not a bad thing.  It’s just the way it is.

For those of us who like control, recognizing and being ok with this is an ongoing effort.  It’s not that we don’t get it; it’s that every day we have to remind ourselves of it, again.  Sometimes several times a day.

It’s such a cliché, but today I retreated to the things I CAN control; the plethora of STUFF that has needed to be sorted, saved, tossed or filed since I left my job.

8 years at one company is a respectable showing in these job-hopping days, especially for one of my generation, who’s been told her entire life that she will have 7 jobs before “settling down.”  So it’s not surprising that I had a bit of stuff to deal with.  It came from my work office to my car, and then to the dining room, and then finally to my home office, where it languished, unseen by all but me, for weeks.  But today, I was determined to paw my way through it.

Amid the magnets and bosses day cards that I kept, and the 20th copy of that brochure that I didn’t, there were some fun memories and some incredibly kind and inspiring words from colleagues in handwritten notes.  I’ve added about a dozen books to my overflowing bookshelves, and kept a small bag of buttons and other swag (of COURSE I’m keeping the Avenue Q condom) that will come with me to my next office.

But the one thing that stumped me was this pile of madness:

A mess of badges

See, every time I went to a conference for work, I would keep the name badge and hang it from the doorknob in my office.  I guess they reminded me to keep thinking, keep learning, keep trying new things.  And they also reminded me how lucky I was to work where I did; if you work at a non-profit, conference attendance is one of those “other” compensations, one of the things you rely on to make up for the fact that your salary is probably lower than it would be if you were working in the corporate world.

But once you don’t work for that non-profit any more…what do you with the badges?

In my case, I went through a series of ideas:

1.  Keep the lanyards.  Surely you’ll need them someday.

2.  Seriously, who needs all those lanyards?  Keep the badges.  Surely you’ll scrapbook them someday.

3.  Sure, you who has never scrapbooked anything.  And half of them don’t have dates or locations on them, so what’s the point of that?  Throw them all out.

4.  All of them?  What about the ones that were from conferences that were really, really fun?

And that’s where I landed.  I kept a few and shoved them into my keepsake drawer (you know, the one full of stuff I really should scrapbook someday) because I will enjoy looking at them and remembering what I learned and the fun I had.

And I’m happy to report that though I enjoyed the trip down memory lane, it was a short one.  I’m not dwelling.  I’m not obsessing over what was.  I consider it a healthy thing, when going through a life change like this, to gather the things that have meaning, integrate them into your life and/or file them away to look at later, throw out the crap, and then move on.

So tomorrow will bring more job hunting, more research, more work.  Onward I go, in a much cleaner office.  🙂

One thought on “Organizational Therapy

  1. I brought my badges to my new office 🙂 They are a badge of honor, a badge to show that your past employer had faith in you to represent them on your own, they are snapshots of professional history, a visual resume, reminders of where you were and where you’re going… yup, these guys came with me. Every. Single. One.

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