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This chapter is from the book

Homework: Before, During, and After

Each section of this book ends with three kinds of homework: before work, during work, and after work. The intent is for you to try each perspective or set of tools at your workplace. In this section, you observe what goes on and prepare for the perspective shifts in future chapters.

Before Work

Before going to work, take the following actions:

  1. Find a tablet or pad that you can use as a Like Work Again notebook. It is best to use one in which pages aren't easily removed. The intent is to keep your thoughts together. A simple spiral notebook works well.
  2. Consider which parts of the day you are dreading and which parts of the day you will enjoy. Take note of both, being as specific as you can be.
  3. Reflect on and/or write about this question: If I did have the power to make my job better, the first thing I would change about it is...

At Work

While you are at work, try to complete the following assignments:

LEVEL 1:

  • Pay special attention to your "hot buttons" or what "throws you off" as you go through your day. Note the people, places, tasks, or things that have a strong negative impact on you.
  • Watch for anything that positively affects you. Note the people, places, tasks, or things that you most enjoy.

LEVEL 2:

  • If you experience conflict or disagreement, find a private moment as soon as possible. If necessary, find privacy in the bathroom! Tap your right forefinger on your left palm like you did during the three-sheet exercise and picture yourself physically stepping on to the third sheet of paper and "looking at" the conflict as an observer. Describe the situation to yourself this way to see if you get any new insights.

After Work

After spending the day observing your workplace, reflect on and/or write about the following topics.

  1. When is it easiest to take a "third-person" perspective to see what is happening? When is it most difficult?
  2. How might you help yourself to get into that perspective even under difficult conditions?
  3. Who are the most difficult people you work with? Which coworkers upset, annoy, or generally bother you the most? Why?
  4. What activities at work do you least enjoy?
  5. Who are your favorite coworkers? What do you like about them?
  6. What activities at work do you enjoy the most?
  7. Imagine that your job is a person who wants things from you. Use the third-person perspective to look at the conflict between the two of you. What does each of you want and need? Why is there conflict?
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