I am launching an uncontest! It may be the start of some kind of regular thing…depends on how this goes.

The contest will run until the end of this week (4/25/09). The challenge is this…

1. Think about the ultimate impact of your work – positive and negative.
2. Write a brief note to me that indicates that you stretched your brain cells
3. Receive a gift.

And while this is not a giant gift of significant import, it is something real, surprising and hand-chosen for you (because I know you)…not a Facebook button or Facebook Karma. For some of you, I will need your address.

To get into the mood, look at this 3 minute clip from the 80s

Think about the impact of your work on a larger scale – what is it in service too? Who benefits from your labor? What is the ultimate cost of what you produce? Think creatively and write me a note showing me you did your thinking. I’m doing it too and I will share back.

I have a little present with your name on it. Whatcha got for me?

8 thoughts on “Contest!!!

  1. Yesterday I was sitting around a table with a group of people who do a very wide variety of work – a librarian, two research psychologists, two nuclear physicists, someone who teaches music, someone who works with students to teach them to be community leaders and provide community support, and me. One of the psychologists was describing how researchers do work to determine the impact of strabismus on the brain (apparently, if you have cross-eyes as a kid and don’t get it fixed early enough, your brain develops differently so that you’ll never see stereoscopically even if you get the eye itself fixed) – which involves blinding kittens and/or confusing them with strange environments (not his line of work, but he has read the research). Which led someone to joke that while the nuclear physicists’ work may lead to the death of millions, at least they don’t sew the eyes shut on kittens! I’m not sure which is worse – doing work that might cause harm although it can also accomplish enormous good, or doing work that can’t ever hurt anybody but in the end doesn’t accomplish much of anything.

  2. Brilliant! Exactly the kinds of questions we need to start asking ourselves, of course.Any talk about your work and the impact of that? Got any skeletons in your professional closet? Anything you do to serve your job have an indirect impact somewhere?You gotta think about your own job to get a special surpise. 🙂

  3. Interesting timing for this question. I have been pondering on this for awhile. I am happy with what I do. It is challenging, it puts me out of my comfort zone at times, and it is focused on people. I know most everyone would not associate leading the Operations side of a consulting company with people focus, but I feel it is. My impact: if I can touch people in a positive way, through personal interaction or through my contribution to the work that we do as a company, I am happy. I believe the work that we do as a team will impact the industry as a whole, I like to think that we really are “the edge”. I know that I am not the major contributor as far as the ideas and concepts we are selling and implementing, but I help it happen. Worries? I have lots. Is the impact enough? Could I do more for the world if I would do something else? Maybe. I feel I will know when the times comes for something else.

  4. OK, i hope this is what you are looking for. I consider my work, selling, as a way of getting people to work. Whatever is sold, someone has to produce or create, or ship or install it, etc.That said, I have always had the luxury of being able to be particular about what I sell. I will not sell stuff I believe is wrong or harmful – i.e. tobacco. I will also not engage in sleazy or dishonest practices. I have also (nearly) always worked for good companies, and with people I like and respect. Again, I am in a very lucky position.

  5. I too am in marketing, mostly in frivilous industries like soft drinks and cosmetics. I love the work that I do, and find it interesting and challenging. But what it means in the broader context is an interesting question. Pragmatically, it employs tens of thousands of people, feeds stock coffers, and helps bring people a moment of pleasure. But Kim, you raise a question I’ve been asking myself for a couple of years. I’ve had this really great life. And I’m proud of the work that I’ve done, but it’s not changing the world. And so, I’ve spent a good bit of energy in the past few years looking for ways outside of work to make a difference. I’m contributing more to causes I believe in. I’m volunteering with a NY non-profit. I’m giving of myself, even though it feels like a microcosm. But it’s a start.

  6. Unlike most of the people posting here, I do not work in marketing, research and development, or advertising. I have worked for the US government in an occupation that presents a conundrum of sorts. I feel I have worked FOR the American public, and, yet at the same time, I feel I have worked AGAINST the American public. My career has been to devote the last 17 years of my life to helping people file for disability benefits under our nation’s most well known social program — Social Security. As a Claims Representative both for Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income (SSI — a needs-based program for low income children, adults, and the elderly who are disabled and have not paid very much, if any, into the Social Security trust fund), it has been my job to find ways to explain disabilities in such extreme circumstances so as to make them appear severe enough to warrant a cash payment. After ripping into these peoples’ lives by uncovering their most private fears and pains and reducing their disabilities to a paragraph of callous words, I then push them aside by telling them to wait four to six months to see if they have been “approved.” For those applying for SSI benefits, I not only delve into their illnesses and conditions, but I also pry deeply into their financial situations. It has been my duty to find ways to show them how they do not have money or resources and, by doing so, to encourage them to con the Government and continue to feel badly about themselves.Why do I speak so negatively about a job that I love? It’s because I feel the impact of these programs IS so very negative. Instead of finding ways for these disabled people to contribute to society, instead of using the talents and abilities they have, we exile them to their homes to collect their checks and increase their self-loathing. We ask them to perpetuate our stereotype that those who are not “normal” have nothing to give the rest of us. It is also under these circumstances that we continue to increase the population of people who rely completely on the Government for financial support. As we as a nation clamor against free handouts, we constantly find ways to give more of these same handouts instead of teaching those who need them to help themselves.Don’t get me wrong — I do love my job and my clients. It is because of this love that I have done my best regardless of my beliefs about this system. Would my time be better spent as a social worker? Probably… or maybe not. Perhaps those 17 years were spent exactly where I was supposed to be, to help those who find themselves in troubled times navigate through to calmer waters. Perhaps, also, we must all begin to think about what it really means to help others; our definition of help might need a little tweaking.

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