[Career Story] Dealing With Chaos

What if we had a singular root cause for career difficulties? What if that weren’t bad management, commutes, colleagues, or workloads? What good manager hasn’t had a bad day? What commuting road hasn’t had a collision? What decent colleague hasn’t acted… human? What acceptable workload hasn’t had difficulties? What’s left is bigger: our expectations are smooth, yet the reality is chaotic. If that’s the root cause, then is the resolution just to accept that chaos?

Yes.

Similar to Wii Fit balance games that deduct points if you lean too far to the left or right, everything in life is about maintaining balance. Too much work will lead to overwhelming exhaustion and too much play will lead to overwhelming expenses. That’s where the ideas of playing with your work, doing what you love, and finding the joy in menial tasks all come from.

Is it just about balancing chaos and order?

No. I’m set after reducing my workload to one idea: “complete these objectives,” “make customers happy” or “reduce overdue workload.” I don’t work well in environments where I’m not enabled to work methodically. If variables change daily, things are too out of control to maintain order, and most people just pretend to work. The solution should be a simple methodology.

Here’s a broad, 6-step “PCA-RCA” methodology I’m testing out:

  1. Prioritize tasks sequentially.
  2. Complete what’s possible.
  3. Ask for assistance.
  4. Reprioritize remaining/incoming tasks.
  5. Complete what’s possible.
  6. Ask for assistance.

With that methodology, I can theoretically work with most curveballs.

That methodology might be the way for me to handle external chaos.

When I initially wrote out that PCA-RCA methodology, I honestly thought it was a trivial emulation rebranding of the scientific method. Sure, but what if it can help me apply it? I work extremely well within ticketing systems because they all sequentially list everything I have to do, prioritized by urgency or timestamp, so all I have to do is apply a methodology and I’m good.

Why don’t I give it a go to see if it’ll flow?

Let’s use this Wii Fit “kiosk” as a PCA-RCA example. Now that it’s built and functional, here are my additional objectives to build out this section of my home gym area: I want to finalize its location, make it easier to start, provide easy access to the Wii Fit Balance Board, make it neat/cool, and provide additional/expandability space for other consoles with exercise peripherals.

Filling out a PCA-RCA list is the same as filling out my work notebooks.

For the simple tasks, I’ll just notate what I need to follow-up on. For the more intricate troubleshooting scenarios, I’ll state the problem, think up every possible thing I could try, and try them all out. I’ll fill in the checkbox if I’ve tried it so I can refer to it later, and if I run out of ideas, I can ask for help, reprioritize/reassess, and complete what’s possible until I need help.

Now it’s just a matter of applying PCA-RCA to vague career situations.

Sources: Other than the scientific method? Trying out an idea to overcome ambiguity, chaos, and reigning those in by practicing outside of work first.

Quotes: None

Inspirations: Or, “objective:” the necessity to organize my gym equipment.

Related: None

Photos: The first is a Career Story-themed photo, the second is an example of listing out everything on a PCA-RCA page including the featured post-it note and serving as the route from current to ideal, and the third is a schematic doodle imagining the current versus ideal home gym. Three other photos are included here to show the physical progress so far.

My big goal is to write. My important goal is to write "The Story." My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame a fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. Let's strive to be better everyday. (Avatar)