Monday, April 25, 2011

Integrity and Intent

So many things in life boil down to integrity and intent, don't they? The decisions we make, both bad and good, come back to these two characteristics. Anyone can make a bad decision, but if they did it with good intent and with integrity, that means something. We can only hope that those around us accept our mistakes and apologies. I think integrity and good intent can help.

There are those who have a history of making bad decision after bad decision. It isn't that they are necessarily out to get us or ruin our day. It isn't that they have deceitful intentions (although sometimes they do.) It is that they are missing the lesson. Everyone screws up sometimes, but as long as they learn from that mistake and take steps to not repeat it, then it isn't a total loss.

Do you ever go on Twitter or Facebook or read a blog and think, "Wow, that person should really re-evaluate what they are posting!" I know I do. If you make your profiles publicly available, you have to own your statements. If you intend to be negative online, lock down your profiles so that only a very specific audience sees it. On Facebook, you can make lists of people. Make a "friends" list and a "colleagues" list. Divide your followers into specific groups of who gets to see what. Make your posts visible to only those you choose. Lock down your Twitter profile to only those with specific permission. Consider getting a separate account to post personal statements vs. work-related statements. If you blog, make it very clear what are your personal statements and not those of your employer. Whether your employer has a policy about this or not, show integrity by drawing that line yourself.

I was watching the show Undercover Boss the other day. While at work, the employees behaved a certain way. Either they were the epitome of customer service and human kindness - good intent and a lot of integrity in their actions - or they were lazy slackers who made up the underbelly of the company. Maybe they did their job well enough to get by, but didn't go out of their way. Little did they know that the "trainee" to whom they were showing the ropes was the CEO of the company! They were giving tips on how to work the system to the person who created the system. Not a lot of integrity or good intent there.

We all have days that are more difficult than others, where we are lazy, tired, moody, or whatever. Real integrity and intent show up in how we deal with those days. Do we take it out on our co-workers and customers? I hope not. We have to find coping mechanisms that keep our integrity and good intentions in tact. Here are some suggestions:

1. Take a sick day. That's what they are for. Sickness includes mental health.

2. Ask a co-worker to cover for you on the public service desk so you can hide out in back and work on other, more solitary projects (and repay the favor later!)

3. Channel your energy into something fun. Focus on whatever it is that makes you happiest at work. Weeding? Reading library blogs and journals? Scrolling through your Twitter stream? Planning programs? Updating web links? Whatever it is - even if it isn't the most pressing thing you could have worked on that day - it will make the day bareable.

The important thing is to remember that you have to enter difficult days with integrity and good intent. Every day can't be a difficult day. These coping mechanisms are meant to be occasional. They can't take over your productivity. They can't hinder your ability to learn from your mistakes and move on. Bad days are not an excuse to rant inappropriately online. They do happen to all of us on occasion, though, and we can deal with them.

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