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Thread: Keep from feeling overwhelmed

  1. #1
    Cyburbian dandy_warhol's avatar
    Aug 2005

    Keep from feeling overwhelmed

    i think i've brought this up before, but how do you keep from being overwhelmed?

    what do you do when you ask for help but it falls on deaf ears or there is no one who is able to help?

    case in point, our Urban Designer left after 23 years. with her she took 23 years of knowledge, plus how to staff our Historic Commission. now she's gone and no one knows what's going on with that Board, or even who is on it. there doesn't even seem to be anything written down anywhere.

    how do you start from scratch when you're in the middle of the process?
    In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. -Martin Luther King Jr.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
    Nov 2002
    Ocean to the east, land to the west
    That's hard. Part of the equation is how much time you are willing/able to put into it. On the one hard its a pain that someone left and you're holding the bag. On the other hand, its a real opportunity for you to do some professional growth and take on some new responsibilities.

    This may not give you any rewards at your current job - at least not financially. However, it allows you to build experiences for the resume and you can turn that into a better job later on. Think of how good it sounds to potential employers if you say "The Urban Designer left, and all her institutional knowledge was gone. But I was the one who picked up the pieces and made the process work better than before, even while doing my current job."

    Of course, if your current boss is so blind as to not understand that you need some slack to pull off this extra responsibility you may have to resort to more short-term solutions...

    Good luck.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
    Aug 2005
    in a meeting

    I wish you were going to Vegas!

    In your particular situation I would say pragmatically that you have to start over from scratch

    there must be a Board list somewhere, minutes, something that says who is on it (Clerk's office, maybe) - assemble them, introduce yourself and start anew with them by asking the commencement question of "what is the most important issue facing your work as a Board?"

    you have to move on like that previous person was never there and start a new filing/admin system yourself -

    you can do it - look at it as a good thing that there isn't an over worn path you have to walk in - you have to start over - if no one will help that's a sign to take it on yourself

    in general I work on not being overwhelmed constantly - I think list making, blocking out time on my Outlook Calendar for things I need to work on, baby steps in completing things (my list isn't a global "save the world today", it's "call so and so back", "send an email to what's his face on that project over there" - break things up into their parts -

    even planners who are trained to think big picture can get overwhelmed by the big picture and need the safety of a thumbnail picture sometimes

  4. #4
    Dec 2006
    Trace her steps.

    I was in a similar situation when I started this job a few years ago. The last designer left about 2 years before I started, and everything was disorganized: files not in the right cabinet or in the wrong folder on the network, memos were inconsistent, and the AutoCAD files were one big jumbled mess. I also had an entire basement of 50-60 filing cabinets that needed to be weeded out and re-organized in order to get my job done). It just took several months worth of extra weekends and evenings to get things organized.

    I also created several SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) that I learned how to write in the military for basic tasks, and before I start a new job, will devote a considerable amount of time to drafting more of these in the last two weeks of the current job.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
    Mar 2004
    Where the weak are killed and eaten.
    Why not pick up the phone and call her? If she left under bad terms, maybe that would be a lesson for management.

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