While working on our website’s content management system, I noticed that my colleague, Steven Deniscevicz, included photos of his pets. I enjoyed this and asked him why he chose to do so.
“I think surviving any job long-term requires you to bring some of yourself to the role,” said Denisevicz.
Steven Denisevicz’s pets, Lily and Esther, are given top billing in Drexel University’s training material.
Steven’s daily tasks as the instructional designer for university marketing and communications at Drexel require him to write and upkeep the documentation, perform multiple trainings each week, and help the web community at Drexel grow and flourish.
“A lot of that work though is me staring at the blank page trying to explain complex topics to our users,” said Denisevicz. “That, in itself, is an interesting challenge but can get tiring if long stretches of work are required.”
It is in these moments that Steven brings pieces of himself, such as his humor and love of silly pet and animal photos, into the mix.
“Instead of using the same old dull marketing campaign photos for my documentation and trainings I use photos of my dogs Lily and Esther, along with various animal and location photography I’ve taken over the past decade to demonstrate various pieces of the web systems,” he said. “These photos make it fun for me to access and modify the knowledge-base materials, and everyone who encounters the content will smile when they see the silly and cute photos all over the documentation.”
Steven believes doing so helps him to be more motivated and to allow the readers to not feel as stressed when trying to read through the documentation. Luckily for our team and our morale, he is not the only one of my colleagues to find ways to inject their passions into our daily tasks.
We recently went through a merger and started a Fun Planning Committee to get to know each other and build a team that works more effectively. We now hold a March Madness & Snacket competition for our colleagues, which has been highly successful. In past years, we included a summary each week for the March Madness, but this year our digital accessibility coordinator, Matt Mignogna, took it to a whole other level.
“After every round concluded, I would send a little write-up of some of the matches to explain what had happened in a fun way,’ said Mignogna. “It was a creative and fun outlet to write at work—which is not normally required for my position—and a bunch of people remarked to me how much they enjoyed and were looking forward to future write-ups!”
These are just a few examples because there are so many people I work with who offer their talents as part of their day-to-day. Ultimately, these tiny gestures unite us and make working at Drexel a great experience for everyone, and when professional staff are happy that carries over to our overall work for the university.
“Making work at Drexel fun and interesting is the first step to creating a good environment for our students, which should always be our focus no matter what role, job or department,” said Denisevicz.
Find something about your job that aligns you with what you truly love, and you’ll go far and learn a lot. A lot of us are overwhelmed most of the time and taking on a lot of responsibilities, but if you can carve out a little time in your day with something you enjoy it’s all the reason to keep going.