Using the Office Calendar is Important

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I’m part of a small department. When one person is out sick or on vacation, we notice. I’m also part of a department that other departments rely pretty heavily on and are often coming back to our area to ask questions or get help.

There are a few of us who are excellent at using the office-wide calendar and checking it daily. I know when my boss has a conference or plans to be out of the office for longer than a typical lunch hour. When one of us is out sick that goes on the calendar too. Not, “Aurora has strep throat and is highly contagious” just simply “Aurora out sick-8 hours PTO.” Simple to the point, but lets everyone know I’m not there.

Not everyone uses the calendar this way. Quite regularly, we look at an empty desk and wonder is he running late? Will she be coming in at all today? This state of limbo is particularly frustrating when other people ask us where the missing person is and if they will be coming in.

If the person would just put on the calendar when they intend to be out or if the supervisor would note that the person is out sick, a great deal of confusion and frustration could be eliminated.

My Thoughts on Facebook’s Privacy Policy

By now, it is no surprise that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg does not value privacy in his business model. A colleague of mine and dear friend, Matt LaCasse had a post on his blog, Public Relations and Other Ruminations stating that he agrees with making the information public, even if it results in an embarrassing photo or two of him.

I respectfully disagree. My friends call me Puritanical because even though I am well above the legal drinking age, I don’t want photos of my on Facebook with alcohol. In my hand. In front of me. Anywhere in the photo. It isn’t the image I want to portray. I untag myself from the photo and ask posters to crop or remove the photo. I believe if you’re my friend, you’ll understand.

This policy has created some issues. A former high school journalism teacher posted all the archival footage from my freshman and sophomore year online. Unfortunately, at the request of my employer at the time, I had to ask for it to be removed. It wasn’t professional enough. While I sent a nicely worded, please cease and desist request, he took it personally. Let’s just say it didn’t end well.

Initially, Facebook started as exclusive to specific colleges and people with specific .edu addresses. I liked that closed community feeling. As Facebook became open to more and more people, I stopped using it as much. Now that my parents and their friends are using it more than my friends, I use Facebook even less.

Here’s where my biggest concern about privacy comes in: other users. What’s to prevent an estranged parent or family member from posting your birthday, home address and phone number under children or relations? Nothing. Even if you don’t have this information online and are against doing so, there is no recourse should that estranged person post that information and refuse to take it down.

I do think Facebook has a great business model and public information must be a part of that. Facebook has done an exceptional job of growing their community. I just don’t know if in 20 years when my peers are running for an elected office or when a stalker finds my home address because an estranged relative listed me under nieces, how that community will hold up.

Leap of Faith: Part Duex

Photo from Mike Todd Waving or Drowning?
Some of you may remember my Leap of Faith post here from the beginning of March. I’m happy to report, it was worth it!

While nothing solid has come of this rekindled connection, it has potential to be beneficial for everyone involved. That alone made the fear and possible rejection worthwhile.

The response to my outreach was so much more than I hoped it would be. It’s always a wonderful feeling to be remembered, especially by those who you think have long forgotten you.

It’s never too late to dig up those old business cards and just say hello. If you can find a current connection, that’s better. However, simply saying, “I was going through an old drawer and found your business card and wanted to say you left an impression on me” might be more than enough.

I write when and where I met the person on the back of the card, just in case. You never know who might be a great resource or connection in the future.

A little niceness goes a long way

After yesterday’s post about how not to interact with your co-workers, I thought we all could use a reminder that a little niceness goes a long way.

There’s something about a birthday wish from a co-worker, even if it’s on a post it note that means a lot. In my office we don’t give gifts, but we do give paper plates and plastic silverware. That trend started when our office stopped providing these things for us. The best part is we share. If you need a fork and I have one, it’s all yours.

After many years in many offices, I’ve decided the key to making it through the day is the little things. A kind word, a nice gesture. These seemingly little things make a huge difference. I don’t think we do enough of this for each other. Yes, we’re busy, but how much time does it really take to listen to the answer of how are you, instead of just racing to where you were going. Say thank you and mean it. Bring in those extra cookies you don’t want sitting on the kitchen counter. Share.

It’s like kindergarten, only hurt feelings last longer. So be nice.