This past spring my mother had a terrible fall and broke her hip. She’s fine and moving around now with few issues but is still not sure-footed.
When I arrived for a visit, I noticed her otherwise impeccably-groomed gardens were a little weedy. I’m not sure what prompted me to mention it (seems a little rude in hindsight) but she told me she didn’t have the confidence to step on the rocks and so I offered to do the weeding for her.
Weeding someone else’s garden is difficult. I have my own garden and do lots of weeding, but there I’m in a different climate and the weeds don’t all look the same. It took me a lot longer than I would’ve to weed my own garden. She has a garden by the lake and much of it is more natural and so things I might pluck from mine are perfectly appropriate for hers.
This got me thinking about taking over from someone else at work. Because of the nature of what I do in HR, it isn’t unusual for me to have to go into a company and review a situation and manage various paperwork. This means that I may have to review some elses’s process, or open old boxes of files or look at how files are managed in a directory. Having to choose what to focus on, what to keep, how to organize, etc. is not all that different from weeding someone else’s garden.
In the end, I think my mother was satisfied with the result, but I bet you I pulled something I wasn’t supposed to. I have to believe it is the same thing whenever you have to take over someone else’s work.
This is my day in the life of HR. Even when I’m not working, I’m still thinking.