• If you are new to these Forums, please take a moment to register using the fields above.


No announcement yet.

Career Eye-Opener

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Career Eye-Opener

    Roughly a year ago, a friend told me that David Allen's book 'Getting Things Done' was the best book on organizing yourself he had ever read. It is important to understand that this advice was coming from a friend who has spent the better part of 20 years trying to get himself organized. I took his advice seriously, but I didn't do anything about it.

    At the time, I truly was not happy with my job and had been actively considering a career or job change for the better part of two years. I thought to myself, my problem is not with how organized, or not organized I am, it's about what I'm doing. After searching for so long for a new job and coming up with nothing, I decided I had nothing to lose by trying to read the book.

    I was able to get a copy of GTD Fast, an audio seminar of David's GTD system to accompany my reading of the book. The pairing worked beautifully. The seminar breathed life into the book and I connected to it immediately. The ideas Allen gave were fresh to me, no more ABC priority lists, or some of the other nonsense we had been taught before. Actions or tasks split into contexts, questions like "what is the next action?", or "what does doing look like"?. These were all things I could relate to and became very interested in becoming a GTD master.

    I got married in September of 2007, and GTD was about a month underway. It was a great time to start GTD as it helped us plan the last bit of details for the wedding and made things easier for when I went away on our honeymoon. Things couldn't have been better.

    However, my boss was not as quick to notice the changes that were being implemented since GTD had became my life focus. My consistently clean desk, my files organized, my new found enthusiasm for the job. All of these things seemed to go unrecognized. We sat down and talked about my performance at my mid-year review. I sat there for an hour while he told me that I was performing below standard and he wanted to know what had happened to the person who was hired 5 years ago and always had enthusiasm, spunk and a willingness to put in the late hours. To myself I thought, that guy pales in comparison to the new GTD guy that was sitting across from his desk. I was thinking 'What's wrong with you that you don't see this?" I left the meeting, soldiered on, determined to prove him wrong.

    It all went really well for the next 6 months, however without any real recognition from my boss except that I was hot one day and then cold the next. I fell off the GTD bandwagon at the point. I found it so hard to push against the resistance he was . I started to let things slip and became disinterested again. It was at this point I came to the realization that I was no longer in love with the outcome of what I did and that that was why I was starting to slip. Over the past 3 months, I've just slipped into this "no mans land", trying to get back into it but it's a constant battle.

    David says if you're not in love with the outcome of what you will do, no organizational system can help you.

    Would be interested in hearing people's thoughts.


  • #2
    Sounds to me like you need a new job. Maybe getting organized has left you with enough time and energy to see that it's not working for you anymore.


    • #3
      Life is too short

      You owe it to yourself....and your be very happy someplace else. If you're that unhappy and disengaged, it's not worth it. Try not to blame the company or your boss as motivation HAS to come from within...just move on before it affects your health.

      I know this may seem harsh, but I speak from deep experience. Best of luck.


      • #4
        Are you producing different (worse) results now that you GTD? Or is your boss confused because he doesn't see you scrambling around looking "busy" all the time?

        If, as you say, you no longer care about the results, it makes sense do change jobs and do something you care about. If not now, then when?

        If, on the other hand, your boss is mixing up process and outcome, it may be worth sticking around and trying to show him that you are producing more/better results than you were, with less effort. This would make you ready to take on more challenging assignments, prove yourself there, and get promoted.

        Would you still be interested in your current employer if you got a promotion?



        • #5
          I actually like the company I work for and have attempted several times to move to a different department within my company, but have always lost out to either someone more qualified, or the opportunity is eliminated from some reason (cutbacks, change in strategy). I need to get more agressive about it and that's a GTD project in itself.


          • #6
            Sorry, you may not want to hear this

            OK, let's go a step further. You like the company and want to stay, just in some other department and, presumeably, some other job.

            But your current boss thinks you're disengaged and you received a less than stellar performance appraisal. That performance appraisal is in your file and, most likely, any potential new manager will have access to it. In addition, if your company has an HR department, they may have rules about transferring underperformers.

            I really believe it would be best for you to get a fresh start with another company. Bad impressions last a very, VERY long time. If you decide not to go that direction, your only choice is to turn it all around beginning TODAY. Pull yourself up, re-engage, and become the superstar that you apparently once were again. But like I said before, managers cannot motivate people...they can create conditions which allow people to motivate themselves, but they cannot motivate directly.


            • #7
              There's some fundamental disconnect between you and your boss. You mention having new-found enthusiasm for your job, but your boss describes you as not having enthusiasm.

              Have you talked with your boss about this disconnect? That you feel much more productive? Have you asked him why he thinks you're less productive?


              • #8
                vocational assessment?

                I don't know if somekind of vocational or talent assessment would help you or not, but you might explore the possibility. Maybe other people on this forum would have a suggestion from perosnal experience on that.

                I am not personally familiar with this organization, Johnson-O'conner Insititute (, but I have heard good things about it from people who were assessed through their methods and their website is interesting.

                There are also some people who have liked the Myers-Briggs assessment, although I tend to think it has a lot intra-individual variation across time.


                • #9
                  Ways to make the boss believe in the GTD guy

                  Sometimes a boss sees your activity as productivity. If you are less active, and more productive, he'll see the drop in activity. The nice thing about putting everything on a list, and checking it off is that you have a trail to follow.
                  Ask your boss what he means, that you thought doing an average of X things a day etc was better then your previous. Talk to him about the things you have accomplished.
                  Maybe point out to him that your waiting on other people to get things done themselves, and have a list to prove it. Pull out, or bring with you your task lists, and ask for his help on how you could possibly get more done.
                  All of the above is basically... prove to your boss that s/he's wrong.


                  • #10
                    Thanks everyone, some very good suggestions here.

                    As an example, I brought him my @Office list and he said to me "hm, you're actually even less busy than I thought you were." I had a lot of stuff on that list (in my eyes) and I couldn't believe it when he said that!

                    You're right about the appraisal being in the file, it is. Quite possibly it does mean I could have issues with other managers. Actually my manager went so far as to say that if he was asked by another manager how my work was going, he would have to tell him that it has been substandard. I guess he couldn't say that when I was engaged and really interested during those first years at this company he was a superstar. Ken Dryden said it best in his book, "You're only as good as you were in your last game".


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Jamie Elis View Post
                      I don't know if somekind of vocational or talent assessment[...]
                      The book "Now, Discover your strength" was a big help to me in that regard. I recommend it. (Used copies are worthless because you buy an online test with the book which can only be used once.)


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Cluby1 View Post
                        As an example, I brought him my @Office list and he said to me "hm, you're actually even less busy than I thought you were." I had a lot of stuff on that list (in my eyes) and I couldn't believe it when he said that!
                        This guy either is intentionally after you for some reason (maybe he doesn't like you, maybe he knows you wish to transfer to another department and wants to prevent you from doing that by giving you bad reviews), or is slightly incompetent.
                        If it's not the first, but the second, you have to match this criteria. He doesn't care how productive you are, he can only judge you by how busy you appear. Accomodate to his criteria and you will be better off.


                        • #13
                          You could try some decoys

                          Someone in another post a while back (or golly gee, maybe it was in another forum) suggested that a newly organized and more productive person keep big piles of worthless papers on the desk and move them around from time to time, just to impress people who are impressed by busyness.

                          You could also take one of those paper piles from time to time and rush around through the corridors looking harassed.

                          Sounds like a big joke, but it's been known to work with bosses and colleagues who just don't get GTD.


                          • #14

                            That is really priceless. I can see that this might work in some cases.


                            • #15
                              had a similar home!

                              I showed my spouse my @home context list and the reaction I got was also one of "you sure don't have much to do". Perhaps these people who are dissing us and not doing/thinking/getting GTD just think a context list is the same as a "to do" list, and they don't realize that context lists are composed of single actions that are small steps forward, and these do not enumerate the projects to which we are committed and do not include our routine activities. I wonder if these rksome people might develop a better consciouness and recognition of all that we do if they saw our lists of Areas of Focus and Responsibility, our Active Projects and our SDMB (which for this purpose might be better titled "deferred projects" or "pending projects" meaning depending on resources, priorities, approval, etc).

                              Maybe you need to clarify with your boss the outcomes he or she is seeking so that you can make sure that they are in alignment with your Areas of Focus and Responsibility and your project and routines. Maybe you could gain something by reviewing the job descriptions for both of your positions, the companies organizational chart, and the mission statement.

                              Good luck!