by Nicki Salcedo
I recently attended an all day meeting at my new job. I got to work at and didn’t get home until It was a loooong day, but I learned a great deal about finance, marketing, and operations. All business stuff, but the most interesting comment I heard came from the Vice President of Human Resources. He said there are three things that employees must have to be successful at their jobs. I’ll paraphrase what I heard:
- Employees must enjoy their actual job. The tasks. The stuff they do.
- Employees must like their co-workers. The people they know. The people they work with.
- Employees must respect their managers. They must believe that they work for a capable leader. Or a capable company.
If any one of these three things is missing, an employee won't like going to work. After this meeting, I spoke to a former colleague, and I mentioned that things were going well on my new job. Her response, "You're still in the honeymoon phase."
This month, many of the Petits have spoken about weddings and marriages. I hope my work honeymoon lasts as long as my marriage honeymoon phase. I'm still in it. I believe that work is a lot like marriage. Bear with me. I’ll tell you something that’s a lot like both work and marriage, but first some marriage advice from an eight-year newlywed. If you know me, you've heard this advice a hundred times before. And if you continue to know me, you'll hear it again.
- Do things freely and cheerfully. Don't do anything with the expectation that your spouse/partner owes you something in return. If you are scratching his back so you get your back scratched in return, you are scratching for the wrong reason. Just scratch because you want his itch to go away.
- Be glad when you see your spouse at the end of the day. I like to tell what's-his-name, "You're the least idiotic person I've seen all day." Your spouse should be your ray of sunshine. You should be able to see the good in the ordinary things they do. Try to think of three good things about your spouse each day. Think of it as a prayer or mediation or an offering of thanks.
- Treat your marriage like your job. Respect each other. He should be the smartest, funniest guy you know. She should be the most intuitive and spontaneous person you know. If you can only think about his beautiful biceps, remember that one day things are going to change. You better be able to appreciate his intelligence and humor when he starts looking like Mr. Potato Head.
You are the Wind Beneath My Wings
A critique group is the ultimate blending of career and marriage. A lot of what I learned about critiquing came from college. I was a creative writing major, and there were some simple rules.
- You've got to like writing and be willing to share your writing.
- You’ve got to critique with people whose opinions you trust. Who is the grammar girl in your group? Who is the plotting guru? The motivator? The word weaver? No sense in having a critique partner who loves everything that you write. Nothing critical about that.
- You’ve got to respect that the writing process is both creative and a craft. Establish parameters for how and when you'll critique. Set realistic expectations for your group.
- No excuses or explanations. Let your writing speak for itself. Save talking for brainstorming. Just bring it on the page!
- Your rebuttal is your revision(s). Revising doesn't mean to change your story every way someone suggests, but it does mean understanding the critique and using your best judgment to make your story stronger based on the critique.
- Write every word like you are writing for an audience. When I was a kid, I used to write poetry in a purple notebook. I never wanted anyone to read it. Writing was my secret escape. Most writers start out that way. I'm never going to share my 30 page ode to River Phoenix written in slant rhyme with you. But today, I am writing for you. And you are writing for your career. Write like your book is going to be published. Write like your future editor or agent is reading. Don't censor yourself. Let your real voice and story shine through.
Falling Out of Love
Have you ever had a stomach ache before going to work? Have you looked at your spouse and wondered, what happened to the person you fell in love with? Do you sometimes do everything possible to avoid writing? Just as we fall in love, sometimes we fall out of love. Maybe one or two of the tips above might help you. I encourage you to stay focused and motivated in all aspects of your life.
Fall in Love Again
A spouse should help you be a better person than you would be alone. I hope that your critique partners do the same. They should make you a better, stronger, faster writer than you ever have been before. Love your job, love your spouse, and love the hybrid of the two: your critique partners. Here's to
Let's fall in love all over again. Happy writing.
- Find the movies. I've referenced at least five movies in the blog above.
- I'd love to hear comments about what you like about your job.
- Got any advice for a good marriage?
- What works in your critique group?
- For my non-writing friends, what do you do that you love? Golf? DragonCon? Running? What's your bliss?