Sheila is an international marketing specialist with particular experience in the market research software marketplace. She has worked for over ten years in high-tech multinational organizations – including SPSS, Toshiba and Xerox. Sheila has been a meaning associate since 2003.

girl_PC_outsideEver since the earliest days of laptops, computer manufacturers have produced idyllic images of business people working in beautiful outdoor locations, thanks to the freedom of battery power.  Even their marketing people, and I know because I used to be one of them, did not believe their own hype; we were all confined to our airless office from nine to five (or usually longer), where we slaved like androids over hot laptops.

Ridiculous, isn’t it!  However, disciplined we all are as individuals, nobody produces their best work in this kind of environment. It is like being in a straight jacket.  Some corporates do provide their workforce with womb-like dens to relax in, or gym membership, and they treat their clients to glamorous days out.  All this helps, but it costs thousands, and in the end it us, their customers, who foot the bill.

This is where meaning really scores highly in my book. It is one of the most hard-working, creative, yet relaxed companies I have ever known. Meaning does not spend thousands creating the right environment or the right impression, it just does it by treating people nicely. Simple!

This means that, in my case as a meaning associate, I am nearly always around to take my children to school and pick them up, plus I often fit in a run or a bike ride during normal working hours.   As I am busy doing other things during part of the daytime, it does mean that I often work at very non-traditional hours, like in the evenings or weekends. This is my choice. Sometimes this way of working is inconvenient to meaning, however it is often a huge benefit  –  I have on many occasions worked late into the evening to meet a deadline, or simply to communicate with customers in their own time zone.

In my corporate days I can remember occasionally sneaking out of the office to walk around the local park to try to free my mind enough to solve a problem.  I still do this kind of thing now, I just don’t have to do it secretly any more.  A few weeks ago, I wrote an article for this website on the train home. Later, the weather was so perfect that I went on a bike ride, and while I was pedalling, and breathing in the beautiful summer air, a new and better way to write the piece just entered my mind, as if by magic (although, of course it’s not magic, as any sports scientist would tell you, the better oxygenated brain works better!). As soon as I got home, I scribbled down all my ideas and, even though I say it myself, I did a rather good job, and I did it promptly.

Just because you are a bit different, it doesn’t mean that you don’t get to the end goal. In fact, it might even be the case that you get there more quickly or produce a better result. Meaning, long may you be open to and accepting of different ways of doing things. And please always remain so kind and considerate.

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