Posts Tagged ‘work’

Staying focused with a revised job description

August 25, 2011 2 comments

Personal photo taken in Seattle

One of the most helpful things we have done this year was revising our job description.  We eliminated a number of things that we were not doing or did not need to be doing and highlighted a couple of key areas important to us.  We feel like we now have received permission and blessing to operate in our areas of strength.

My revised job description does tell me what I do not need to be doing.  However, Michael Hyatt’s post on making “Not to Do Lists” may be an additional tool necessary for me to stay focused.

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Obsolete jobs

March 15, 2010 Leave a comment

Very interesting.  See a picture, text and then hear an audio interview with someone who used to hold one of these now largely obsolete jobs. My favorites: Lector and Lamplighter Thanks to Kruse Kronicle

Telephone operator


Typist in a typing pool

Switchboard operator




River Driver


Copy Boy

Elevator Operator


lector is on the right side towards the middle

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Turning dissertation writing into worship?

January 14, 2010 4 comments

I don’t know what God has in mind for me but at least he is consistent with his communication.  I am just trying to get through this process but maybe there is something more for me.

Yesterday, there was the question from John 1:35ff, “What are you seeking?”  Ouch–fame, success, respect, significance–maybe not so good eh? And as I have been focusing on Psalm 128 this week, it is quite clear that as we maintain a fear of God, he delights to bless the work of our hands, it shall go well with you. But, the fear of God comes first, the total surrender of everything before him–including my dissertation?

And then my wife sent me this article from Breakpoint about turning drudergy into worship.  Come on! I just read a dissertation today in which the guy said someone told him to “just finish it” but maybe that is not for me?

Catherine Larson writes in a breakpoint article on January 6, 2010

“turn every act, no matter how small, into an opportunity to serve God and worship Him through the work of your hands—no matter how seemingly “secular” the work is that you find yourself called to do.   .   . there is no task, no matter how seemingly insignificant or rote, that cannot be transformed into worship when the heart is inclined to give that act unto God as a spiritual act of worship.

Okay already but we are talking about something supernatural happening.  Hmmm, maybe that is the point?

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Keep on asking those questions!

October 5, 2009 Leave a comment

Here is an article that encourages my inquisitive side!!

From How Do Innovators Think in Harvard Business Review, September 28, 2009, by Bronwyn Fryer in an interview with Professors Jeff Dyer of Brigham Young University and Hal Gregersen of Insead.  Found this in Kruse Kronicles.

The following are the top five most discovery skills that creative executives possess:

  1. “associating.” It’s a cognitive skill that allows creative people to make connections across seemingly unrelated questions, problems, or ideas.
  2. questioning — an ability to ask “what if”, “why”, and “why not” questions that challenge the status quo and open up the bigger picture.
  3. ability to closely observe details, particularly the details of people’s behavior.
  4. ability to experiment — the people we studied are always trying on new experiences and exploring new worlds.
  5. good at networking with smart people who have little in common with them, but from whom they can learn.

Most important?

Questioning turbo-charges observing, experimenting, and networking, but questioning on its own doesn’t have a direct effect without the others. Overall, associating is the key skill because new ideas aren’t created without connecting problems or ideas in ways that they haven’t been connected before. The other behaviors are inputs that trigger associating — so they are a means of getting to a creative end.


You might summarize all of the skills we’ve noted in one word: “inquisitiveness.”

Telling someone they need to improve

August 6, 2009 Leave a comment

Final question from our group work: In your culture, how do you let someone know that they need to improve their work?youre fired

AMERICANS: Direct personal evaluation. Face to face. Frank/honest. Build up self esteem/praise first. Trend toward tolerance.  Celebrate diversity leads to not talking about improving.

BIKOLANOS Oral communication.

BRITS Boss calls you in to his/her office for private talk, frank exchange. Public sarcastic comments without naming the culprit or “letter to the times”. Man-to-man – go for a beer together and talk.

CANADIANS First time – Spoken gently, kindly.

CEBUANOS Pagmaymay – counsel. Kasaba – reprimanding. Silotan – punishing.

GERMANS Give few compliments. Show facts. Show bad results if continued. Call upon intellect. Use guilt – not a shame culture.

ILOKANOS We lead by example. The wife/woman takes a major role in communication with workers.

KOREANS Korea is very hierarchical society, higher position people say directly, but lower position people hardly say.

TAGALOG Most of the time, “hindi kumikibo”. Indirect – telling somebody. Avoiding hurts. Pasaring, paramdam (behavioral – e.g. dati kasama sa table/pagkain), parinig (verbal).  Dinadaan sa “BIRO” (pero totoo…). Ambiguous.  It takes “LAKAS NG LOOB” because of “BALAT SIBUYAS”.

What academic credentials can’t guarantee

June 3, 2009 Leave a comment

Just read a fascinating article, The Case for Working with your hands by Matthew B. Crawford that was passed onto me by my wife.  I have always had a high respect for  people in the trades, who could create something with their hands.  Sadly, being a tradesman here where I live is not an esteemed profession to which one would aspire.  The goal for too many is to go to college, graduate and work in an air conditioned office behind a computer!  Something is wrong with this picture!   Reading Crawford may remind you of values we have forgotten in our post-modern culture.   He notes, “A good job requires a field of action where you can put your best capacities to work and see an effect in the world. Academic credentials do not guarantee this.”

As somone who has spent most of my life in academics, I think I need to learn a new hobby in my old age!

Understanding procrastination

February 4, 2009 Leave a comment

Want to understand procrastination?  U=EV/ID is the formula according to Prof Piers Steel.  Urmee Khan brings this to our attention in an online British Telegraph article.

The ‘U’ stands for utility, or the desire to complete a given task. It is equal to the product of E, the expectation of success, and V the value of completion, divided by the product of I, the immediacy of the task, and D, the personal sensitivity to delay.

I don’t know how you would ever begin to measure those variables but it is interesting to consider the inter-relationships.

Unshaken by financial uncertainties

November 16, 2008 Leave a comment

In light of the continuing fall in the financial markets, Psalm 16:8 was very encouraging to me last week.  “I know the LORD is always with me.  I will not be shaken for He is right besides me.”

This morning, our pastor, Steve Ruetschle, gave five reasons we should store up treasure in heaven out of Mtt 6:19-24.

1. Treasure on earth is insecure. (obvious of late!)

2. Treasure in heaven is secure.

3. Our treasure is where our heart (hopes, dreams, aspirations) will be.

4. To keep our eyes good (or singularly focused)

5. To make God our master

He only gave one solution to the question of HOW to store up treasure in heaven.  By Giving!  (see Lk 12:32-34 and 1 Tim 6:17-19)

How is that for being counter-cultural–Christians have a commitment to give away their money when the financial crises are the most severe!

Leadership Books

November 3, 2008 2 comments

Have read three books on leadership in the past two months and I thought it worth giving some thoughts about them. All worth reading!

1. Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership by Ruth Haley Barton, IVP 2008  She talks about strengthening the soul of a leader through the disciplines of silence and solitude so that we experience a fullness personally that we are trying to lead others into.  She resonates with me!

2. The Starfish adn the Spider by Ori Brafman and Rod A Beckstrom 2006  They are trying to help organizations to extend their influence by decentralizing leadership.  The basic idea–have a shared leadership so that when anyone person is cut off (like the leg of the starfish), the organism keeps going and actually reproduces.   Leader as spider is the traditional model and so when the spider’s head is cut off, the organization dies or has to find someone to replace the person immediately. . . Thinking about how to do this in a member care system in our organization.

3.  Tribal Leadership by Dave Logan, John King and Halee Fisher-Wright, 2008 Finally read this after  a friend raved about it for a month or two.  Five levels of organizations–most are stuck in level 2 or 3.  The five levels: Life sucks, My life sucks, I’m great (and you’re not), We’re great (and they are not), Life is great.  It is fairly easy to identify where an organization and a leader are based upon the language they use.  Some coaching help to help move your organization up one level at a time.

One of the world’s worst jobs

August 25, 2008 Leave a comment

If you are feeling sorry for yourself because of your dead-end job or frustrated in your career advancement, check out the website of “The Worst Jobs in History. You can also find a similar list on but beware that website gets quite crude. Here is one that is most interesting.

Sin Eater

If you’d like to be bad to the bone and more evil than most people could possibly imagine, you might consider becoming a sin eater. If you’re a dark underworld type who is terrified of going to heaven, read on …

As a sin eater, you will be responsible for consuming the evil and sins contained within the corpses of normal decent folk. When one of the godly community pops their clogs without getting the chance to own up to their wrongdoings, the sin gets trapped inside. As long as those bad things remain in there, St Peter’s going to turn that individual away.

This position involves going to the house of such a dead person and sitting down to a bread and beer supper served up on the bare chest of the dearly departed. The idea is that the sins of the dead are absorbed by the bread. So as you tuck in, you get to fill up on evil and so cleanse the stiff. You’ll get a sixpence for your trouble, but don’t expect to make many friends. And you’d better make yourself scarce when any witch-finding commissions come to town as you’ll be one of the first on their list.

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