As I’ve increasingly settled in to my role at Local Matters, I’ve noticed a disparity between myself and the rest of the staff: everyone else wears a million and a half hats throughout the day in fulfilling their roles, and I have been assigned one hat while focusing on a sole project. This is a new experience for me: I’m very adapted to juggling a variety of tasks and keeping light on my toes. The last few weeks have been challenging and eye-opening on this note, as my work has solely revolved around one single project: data consolidation on Airtable. I mentioned last week that I feel well suited for this work, which I absolutely stand by to be true. However, I’ve realized how hard it is focusing on a single project when there is a flurry of action happening around me every single day. People are coming in and out of the office to and from programs, meetings are being held, food is being cooked, skills are built, experiences are had, and I’m taking it all in with my eyes wide open. It’s admittedly hard for me to stare at a screen at a comfortable desk when there is so much more work to be done and sleeves to roll up. Focusing on this higher-level task will ultimately aid the rest of the organization in program execution, but I haven’t been able to help but feel that I’m not doing as much as I possibly could to help the organization.
Then – just as I was getting sidelined by this dilemma – we had a Fellows learning session this week. At this session, I heard a profound comment from Oyauma Garrison, the president and CEO of A Kid Again: Don’t pass judgement, create value. I can’t say the exact context of the conversation at the time, but it pushed me to take a step back. Rather than judging how green the grass must be outside, how could I make sure that the task I have been assigned to is completed to the greatest degree? How could I create the most value from the opportunity that I’ve been given, rather than getting too distracted by the exciting whirlwind of action around me? This combination of pausing and pondering helped me get back on track, right when I needed it.
That being said, after a few weeks of working on the Airtable tool it’s nearly complete! This involved a giant jigsaw puzzle, essentially combining data from various sources and in various formats into one big base. There were five original bases, each with different information on contact lists, addresses, curriculum, program recipes, staff members, garden locations, satellite programs, etc. Information from a variety of other sources, such as an online scheduling platform, and a cloud based filing system, was also pulled. Much of this information overlaps and interacts with one another, so figuring out how to maintain the integrity of this information while keeping it easily digestible to all users was a challenge. A fun part of my week was trying to decide on a name for this tool – Programming Base & Journeys (PB&J) was a fun one, though Master Accounts of Programming (MAP) might be a more practical idea. If anyone has any ideas, I’m all ears!