The rules: The themes for this year’s review are flexibility, surprises, and positivity. Take a look back through your planner and/ or journal from this past year and ask yourself these questions:
- What happened this year that was unexpected? (Good and not so good.) MFPOW imploded, with nearly half the faculty and more than a few others leaving for other pastures; I started to look myself and found a new position. It may have been me, it may have been other issues surrounding the whole "this place is doomed" motif, but my assistant and I ended things badly, barely speaking by the end of the year. I did try to be professional about things but that's difficult when basic pleasantries are met with monosyllabic responses. Apparently things are calmer this year (they did have to beg her to come back after I left; she'd resigned and had actually left before school ended).
- How did you handle these unexpected situations? I tried to keep my disappointment and anger to myself, not just all "stiff upper lip" but really leaving the ill feelings at home, focusing instead on the students. It did lead to serious weight gain and sleepless nights, so clearly things weren't going well.
- Could you have handled them better? Yes. Speaking with others about this, trying to get someone to act as mediator (not my supervisor, who I suspect instigated some of this) and getting help other than eating my way through it.
- What did you learn about how to handle unexpected situations? Don't suffer in silence - find allies and confidants, and don't allow my health to suffer because of work.
- What were some good things that happened this year? (It’s okay if they were also on your Unexpected Things list too.) Finding a new job; losing some of the weight I gained; getting appointed to a committee I really wanted to serve on; moving with less stress than last time.
- What were some things that initially seemed not good, but turned into or resulted in something good? (Think hard, and feel free to reframe events that you previously thought of as negative. What good came from them?) Dealing with a disastrous work situation, with both a horrific supervisor and supervisee, gave me the courage to get out of MPOW; I'm trying to be more sensitive to my current staff and recognize problems before they become really stressful for everyone involved. Ultimately, I think this will make me a better boss!
I wasn't that flexible, I just kept doing what I'd been - which very well may have contributed to the problem. Knowing that ignoring someone else's unprofessional behavior in hopes that leading by example doesn't work, it won't necessarily be easier to try to make changes in what I'm doing but at least I'll have that intention.