Let me introduce myself. This is Shannon Steene and I’ll be guest blogging for a while. I know very little about the the “rules” and protocol for this communication medium, but I look forward to sharing some of how the world looks from my lens as the Executive Director of Good Shepherd Housing & Family Services (GSHFS). If there is anything you’d like to know more about, feel free to post a comment or question and I’ll give it a shot.
My stint as blogger comes as both Tom and Karen (the two listed authors) are diverted with other things. Our main blogger, Tom Barnett, has had his hands full lately with work projects and his blogging cohort, Karen Jupiter, went out on maternity leave in early April. We’re are usually a 3 person administrative team. For a few more weeks, we’ll be getting by with two. Tom and I both pitch in on extra duties, and doing them provides great perspective.
And so, I have volunteered to blog. If you love my contribution, let me know; if you hate it, just wait me out. I won’t be doing this forever. Now for a few thoughts – - what I was really hoping to tell you:
Sometimes the greatest appreciation for a person’s efforts comes when that person leaves or stops doing what they had previously done. While the good things are happening, the positive feedback doesn’t always occur. That is the case for me, on two fronts. Amid all the transition here at GSHFS, I’ve grown a greater appreciation for the work that Tom and Karen do regularly. Both of them have a greater aptitude than me for organization and structure. Not sure you agree? Just look at either of their desks, compared to mine. Tom’s desk is a large glass-topped oval with no attached drawers. And yet, he keeps it pristine. At the end of the day, he leaves and there may be one tidy stack of papers, if any. Karen’s is quite similar. She has an Inbox or two and some stacked files (all appropriately labeled).
Then, there is my desk. As I type this, I look around to see it with new eyes. To the far right, a sprawl of papers. I can’t really call it a stack, because it is not really vertical, and yet not really horizontal. It is an asymmetrical look. If it were a piece of art I’d say it connotes motion. Books, stapled papers and file folders are positioned in multiple directions. The center of the desk has the least amount of paper – - only a few sheets deep, with a few clear spots. This is likely the most active or recent project. And, to the right, near the phone is a stack of lists and handouts that need action or some other follow-up.
I wouldn’t say that I’m messy, because I usually find what I need. I wouldn’t say that I’m orderly, because other people can’t find things on my desk. It is truly my space. And, I work well in it, when I work in tandem with Tom or Karen. Their efforts truly help us get things done, and we work well as a team. I can’t wait for everyone to be back and our usual dynamic to resume.
Ultimately, people can learn to adapt to someone else’s style. I remember working in central Nebraska. I had a huge desk, and there were two primary stacks, one on my left and one on my right. The left was material related to my clients, and the right was information sent from our administrative office, such as memos and needed reports. After a little while, my boss figured me out. A typical call would begin, “Shannon, check your right pile for the blahdey blah.” Now THAT’S working together!
Who knows – - maybe if I work with Karen and Tom long enough, I’ll get to the surface of my desk and keep it that way? Stay tuned!
Until that time, I wish Karen and her family hearty congratulations. New life is a very exciting thing. Her time away is not only a great bonding time for her and the baby, it is also a great way to reinforce to me all the good things that she does around here.