Double Blah

I finished writing the June holiday stories on May 12, and it was a bit of a slog to complete them. Then, on the 15th, I prepared my spreadsheet for the July stories by going through my sources and finding holidays I could write about.

There are not a lot of good holidays in July. I mean, there were days where I had to really stretch to find something I could write about. The thought of getting to those days makes me feel pretty blah.

But what makes me feel even more blah is a message that I (and my entire team) got from my boss last week. We had to have our goals in the system by April 30, so I worked with my direct reports to create SMART goals — specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. It’s a lot of work. And I also had to do that for my own goals. Well, my boss sent a message that he wasn’t happy with almost anyone’s goals (he has 15 direct and indirect reports), and that we all had to redo them. He gave us his goals as an example. And, on top of that, the goals we wrote weren’t descriptive enough. I mean, “Maintain high customer service scores for the 2023 FY by earning 80% or greater on all customer surveys” is pretty SMART, right? The team certainly agreed it was. Then, to me and the other manager who reports to him, he said that we specifically could not use goals that people on the team would complete when we did ours; we had to only include work that we would directly do.

That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works. I lead my team, and I am ultimately responsible for the work they do, so if they all get 80% or greater on their customer surveys, shouldn’t I get some credit for that? If they successfully complete four system upgrades, shouldn’t I get some credit for that? I mean, when I started in this role, it was made clear to me that I should be managing, not actively doing; has that changed? (I mean, my direct leader did change in the last 18 months, but shouldn’t I have been told if the expectations were different?)

So yeah. I feel blah. And that blah directly affects my desire to write. I’ve talked in the past about how precarious the urge to write can be — when writers have even the slightest thing wrong, or the slightest distraction, they’re liable to not write. Maybe full-time writers have it a little different, but for people with day jobs (which most writers have), said day job can have a huge effect on motivation.

I’m hopeful that this week I can get at least a few stories done, but if I don’t get these updated goals behind me soon I’m not going to be doing much writing, and that’s a problem. Especially when I have another 184 stories to write before this project is complete.

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