Nerve-Wracking Things


Josie Leavitt - February 23, 2015

I am so fortunate to have the staff that I do. I enjoy working with everyone and can honestly say that work is a pleasure. I get a lot done during the day.  But I’m also not naive enough to think that it’s tea and crumpets all the time. I know that I sometimes drive my staff crazy. Sometimes I make them down right nervous. I made a list of just a few of the things I do:
– I have the best intentions, really I do, of actually going to the post office with that package. I’m not certain when the post office phobia started and I know I should really deal with it. But I do eventually mail these things. The problem is I’m too efficient because before I go to the post office, I’ll run some other errands. I’ll make a deposit at the bank, pick up a late lunch (and by late I mean 4 p.m.) and then completely forget about the package in the front seat because I’ll I can think about is my hot, yummy-smelling chicken sandwich. Did I mention I got everyone a bag of those homemade chips and a massive brownie to share?
– I can lose things. My desk tends towards to a chaos that only I understand. Recently, Laura has been working very hard to clean up consignment books. Our paper trail is somewhat lacking, especially for books we’ve had a long time because it’s only been in the last two years that we’ve really been keeping excellent records. Laura entrusted me with the stack of consignment forms whose authors needed payment. She handed me the stack with a  very clear post-it breaking down who I owed what to. I took that stack home. I think she actually blanched when I did that, but said nothing. I came to find out that she and PJ talked about how it might have been a bad idea to not make copies of these forms first. Triumphantly, two days later, I returned the stack to its new resting place: the paid consignment folder.

– “Hey, want to be Cat in the Hat?” I shudder to think how many times I’ve asked that to unsuspecting staffers. I try to make it sound fun, but also know that staffers will be hotter than you can imagine, dressed as Curious George, Cat in the Hat, and Winnie the Pooh, etc. during their shift. I actually said to a co-worker on Friday, “Yes, there are air holes. They’re in the nose. You’ll be fine.” I would wear the costume, and did once, but generally, with our absurdly low ceilings I am too tall. Everyone else at the bookstore is under 5’4”, so they get asked more frequently. We actually insist that folks take frequent breaks so over-heating is not an issue.
– Apparently, my habit of leaving post-its for myself all around the back of the store is anxiety-producing. I guess that makes sense. Sometimes these little notes are up for weeks and then I get mad when someone takes them down. I never date these tiny action items so no one has a clue when I wrote it, when it needs to get to done, etc. I write these notes so I don’t forget to do something, but it’s been pointed out that if they just stay up like some new modern art, no one knows their status, and I’ve now ceased to actually see them, it’s sort of a pointless system.
-In the vein of post-its, I tend toward random stacks of books in areas where random stacks don’t belong. This again, is my action item area. But without telling anyone why they’re there, they are just a stack of books that is irritating and in the way. Often these are books that came to us damaged, and I’ve already called about them and am in the process of deciding where to donate them.
I want to be the kind of boss who is truly supportive of her staff, and it’s clear to me that my own behavior belies that impulse. So, today marks the first day that I will remove old post-its, clean up my messes, and realize that my organizational style might need some tweaking. And I’m certain once this behavior gets cleaned up, I’ll find some way to make the staff nervous anew.

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