This past week, I completed approximately, 12 hours of work. I continued to work on questionnaire edits and the literature reviews. I also met with my mentor, Jason Gillette on Thursday for a few hours. One thing that was rewarding was I reviewed a paper Jason wrote. He asked if I would review it and make edits as needed. It was all about the history and current status of education policy in Arizona. Not only was it pertinent to my current research, but I was also able to feel like this is more of a collaborative effort. I am able to lend my experience and skills to help him polish a paper.
Yesterday's meeting went well. We finalized the questionnaire we will be using to interview the different division and program directors. It does help to be face-to-face doing something like that since there is always a lot of word smithing. Learning how to compromise with others and make changes to things that you have spent significant time on creating are great skills to have. While it can be a little bruising to the ego, having a great product at the end that everyone can agree on, even if people do not 100% love everything but is what we can live with, is key to moving forward and not getting bogged down in details. I saw this at the last Arizona Public Health Association (AzPHA)planning session. We were tasked with rewriting our mission/goals and creating one sentence that captures what AzPHA is. After six hours, we finally had a sentence that the board of 12 could live with. We all had to make concessions and compromises, but we got there. Not an easy thing for a bunch of leaders who are used to making all the decisions! Modifying this questionnaire played out in a similar fashion, albeit, much sooner and smoother! Understanding that even though you may be in a leadership position, you must value others' inputs to be successful.
He also took me to a happy hour. Several people from throughout the Department of Education were there and I was able to discuss with them my project and get to know them more on a personal basis. This was a great opportunity to be approachable, network, and make relationships beyond emails. I had a manager years ago, who was afraid to have his personal and professional lives mix in any way, to the point that he would not wear his wedding ring or have a picture of his family on his desk because people would ask questions about his family instead of focusing on work. While I completely agree with keeping professional in the workplace, this caused him to be unapproachable and almost less than human. This happy hour is something that Jason does the last Thursday of every month. The rule is no talking shop once drinks are served! Such a contrast to my previous manager. Jason maintained professionalism with caring about the people sitting around him.