Pareto Sounds Like A Fancy Sandwich


Let’s do a subject change from my family’s current life events, shall we?  There’s plenty enough of that drama still continuing for me to touch base on it for months, if not years, to come.

I believe I’m six or nine credit hours away from a master’s degree.  Yeah.  Back in the day, I was a professional student…until student loans. Sooooo…I’m good on not picking up where I left off for paper that will be worthless within five years of earning it (or so I’ve heard and read).  That, however, has not stopped my pursuit of post secondary education experiences.  I LOVE LEARNING.  I like learning new things and enjoy occupational challenges. During my last meaningful stint in residential property management (first as Office Queen, then Accounting Manager and finally as Assistant Property Manager), I realized I was really good at something – office organization and process enhancements and/or improvements.  Before I found Jesus, I claimed I was just lazy.   Now I boldly state I just don’t like working too hard when I don’t have to.  And I can’t stand it if others do it either.

Aside from being a part time stay at home mom and full time wife extraordinaire, I get to be a technical writer a few days a week.  I get to make documented information sexy.  Pictures, appendices, work instructions, checklists…yeah baby! That’s my JAM!

After submitting a draft project, my supervisor asked me if I knew anything about Lean.  I told him I didn’t think so, but asked him to let me research it and get back to him.  I said this because I recently found out I have 20 years of graphic design experience by completing a small design project for a client as part of another body of work. Didn’t. Even. Know it.

Anyway,  I looked into Lean Six Sigma.  Lo and behold, I actually have been operating by the DMAIC and Pareto principles without knowing it.  The more I perused the interwebs, the more I saw I love this type of thing.  I wish Lean hadn’t been made scary or boring by description prior to now.  This is something I am naturally good at!

As an addition to my research, I took some free assessments, finally deciding to study for a yellow belt.  YouTube was a great source of information, and a special shout out to the Muskegon CC page for excellent tutorials on charts.  The wheels began to turn as I wondered how I could use this methodology in tandem with my current skills and abilities.  Sometimes, the textile manufacturing industry ain’t that interesting, so I find myself zoning out after trying to absorb a lot of info in a short time.  I have to digest it in steps when writing out documented information.  However, putting the entire Lean lens on it makes me very excited, and it makes the pieces fit, if that makes sense.  Instead of a small slice, I have the entire pie.  I’m a whole pie kinda chick.

In further thinking about all of the administrative, project management and coordination roles I’ve had, I realized my passion lies in office automation and administration, both management and basic office practices.  They tend to be so inefficient (even with automation), or they don’t take advantage of existing talent or they get stuck in processes that work without considering outside factors that can severely affect a workflow perfect process.

So?  Your point, you ask?  Yesterday and today found me considering educational enhancement by pursing Lean certification. Sometimes we get stuck in a rut and only see ourselves through one type of lens.  Remember I said I have been doing graphic design for 20 years…and didn’t know it?  It took someone else pointing this out to me to look into it.  Now, I am choicy about the design work I indulge in, and my scope is limited.  Hey… I’m an artist, and I’m sensitive about my stuff.  However, if a current client had not alerted me to a skill set I had taken for granted, I would have never looked at it as something marketable.  The same concept applies to the situation regarding my manager asking about Lean experience.  He saw a skill set I did not.

Lesson?  Do not close doors that could be opening for you.  You may just discover you’re more marketable, if not more talented, than you originally believed.


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