Five Minute Friday: BUILD
I was working with a story today as editor of the Sigma Xi SmartBrief. The story was about a type of yarn that expands and contracts in response to temperature, making it a potential component of temperature-management clothing.
Because we research every detail of the stories we use in order to identify people correctly and get the other details right, I looked up the name of the professor, YuHuang Wang, who coordinated the study.
I didn’t get a dry academic listing on his university’s website, though, I got his lab’s website. Once I was at his site, my heart expanded instead of contracting. From the moment I got there, it was clear that this man loves his work (if you’ve read my writing much, you know I am drawn to people who love their work (and how they ended up there)).
I had the sense that he is not there just for himself, but to build a place (his lab and its results) that is about more than science.
I hovered on the page of photos for the longest. There were picnics where lab members were barbecuing. There were little children running around. There was … a sense of fun and unity.
These people could create temperature-sensitive yarn without the overarching unity that this professor has clearly worked hard to foster, but how would they feel about it when they got home at night?
My perspective on how work fits with the other parts of my life has shifted a bit as I have gotten older, gained more work experience, and taken the unexpected four-year odyssey through caregiving.
For a long time, I knew I wanted to help people build a feeling about our mutual work that made sense for them (I know some people truly want to just do their thing and forget about it once they’re out the door (or — shout out to my fellow remote workers! — once they close the laptop), but I was not succeeding. I think I had my own internal work that needed to be done.
This is a different time, though. I have a little more mortar to help people put between their bricks. I know, too, why for so many people it matters deeply.
*Note: I had a timer malfunction; this was longer than five minutes!
Welcome to this week’s Five Minute Friday. Our instructions, via creator Kate Motaung: “Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.” (But I can’t resist spell checking, as you can imagine.)