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Sunday, January 31, 2016

On Work and Planning and Volunteers

Jean Sexton muses:

I love working for ADB. The work is challenging enough to keep my interest. It varies from day to day, so it isn't boring. Much of it is interacting with people on various social media and forum platforms. A good amount of it is making our products a better experience for gamers.

I've worked part-time for ADB since 2007, transitioning to full-time in 2013. I started with proofreading and moved more into copy editing. I took on administrating the BBS and the FC Forum. Slowly I took on more responsibilities, easing the more mundane tasks away from the Steves and Leanna. Planning for the StarBlog posts was one of the first things I took on. I pushed for a page on Facebook and we got that. We added a Twitter feed. We started posting PDFs on DriveThru RPG and Wargame Vault. I looked at how to get the word out and started making posts in appropriate places. Little did I realize that my little empire was growing.

I believe in planning. Before I left my position in North Carolina, I did a lot of training so someone would know how to do what I did. I left instructions on how to do a bunch of reports I was responsible for creating. All the personnel reports were done prior to my departure. Everything important was on a flash drive that I gave to my supervisor.

At ADB I made a mistake. I was healthy except for a few well-controlled problems. I had taken things over from other people, so I "knew" they knew how to do them. I had written some guides and had them on my computer in case I needed them. Where I failed is I forgot to tell people how to find the guides. The password to my computer had gotten lost except in my head, so no one could get to the documents.

The consequences were that blog posts weren't made regularly, publicity didn't get out, PDFs didn't get uploaded regularly, Facebook and Twitter didn't get updated as frequently, and spam got through to the BBS and FC Forum. I am already taking steps to make sure some of these don't happen in the future.

Still, the problems were alleviated by some people who volunteered to help us get the word out about the newsletters, who minded the BBS and Forum, alerted me when a problem had to be dealt with, and reminded us when things were slipping through the cracks. I am so thankful for the people who stepped up.

What can you do in your own workplace? Take the time to create guides to what tasks you do and how you accomplish those goals. Then kidnap someone and have them use the guide while you sit there. Maybe the task needs to be done on your computer or perhaps you need to include a website and login information. It is easy to skip something because you know it all too well. If there is something in your personal life that needs taking care of (bills, homeowner's rules, etc.), try to have a list of those in a calendar where others have access when needed (everything you need is in the turquoise calendar by my recliner). While your family and friends can "get by" in an emergency, it is a weight off your mind if they don't have to stress and neither do you.

Learn from me; don't go the hospital for two weeks to figure it out. Tackle something each week until it is done.