Dear 43 Things Users,

10 years after introducing 43 Things to the world, we have decided we have met our last goal: completing the incredible experience that has been 43 Things. Please join us in giving one last cheer to all the folks who have shared their goals with the world, as well as all the people who have worked at The Robot Co-op to build this incredible website. We won a Webby Award, published a book, and brought happiness to a lot of people.

Starting today, 43 Things users can export their goals and entries from the site. Starting August 15, we will make the site “read only”. 43 Things users will still be able to view the site and export their content, but we won’t be taking any new content from users. We hope to leave the site up for folks to see and download their content until the end of the year. Ending on New Year’s Eve takes us full circle.

It has been a long ride (one of our original goals was to "build a company that lasts at least 2 years” - we beat that one!) While we wish the site could live on, it has suffered from a number of challenges - changes in how people use the site, the advertising industry, and how search engines view the site. We wish the outcome was different – but we’ve always been realistic about when our goals are met and when they aren't.

As of today, you will be able to download your goals and entries. See more about that on the FAQ page. Thanks for 10 great years of goal-setting and achieving.

- The Robots.

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rosewilder is doing 19 things including…

Work with enthusiasm, dignity, creativity, and joy

106 cheers


rosewilder has written 12 entries about this goal


I’m having a meeting today with bad boss S. about his directive via email for me to be more proactive.

I initiated the meeting, thus starting off this proactivity very well. ; )

After his email, prompted by a cancelled board meeting due to low attendance, I constructed a project plan for proactivity in inviting increased participation (amusing myself with this alliteration, of course) and asked him to meet with me to review the data analysis I did regarding past participation and to brainstorm new ways to increase participation.

He prefers to non-communicate over email, but a single sentence stating “It is essential that you are more proactive in regard to x” is not meeting my needs for guidance (and dignity, for that matter). Of course, he doesn’t want me to have those needs, but I do, and I’m not going to feel bad about it. It won’t kill him to take 15 minutes out of his schedule to talk to me.

Although I know the meeting will be a complete disaster, since it’s with the world’s most insensitive person ever, I do think being more proactive, at work and in life, will do me well.

I am going to start by moving us out of his office into the conference room, because it lacks dignity to stand there while he sits in front of his computer while we talk. He should realize that, but since he doesn’t, I’m … being proactive about it.

Go assertiveness! Go proactivity! Go dignity! Go me!

Striving for self-respect.

I’m not getting any from S.
I have to give it to myself.

I’m tired of the lack of positive feedback and of feeling like S. doesn’t like me. I have made progress in not blaming myself for this treatment, but some days are harder than others. I need to redouble my efforts, and keep reminding myself that:
a) I am good at many aspects of this work, and getting better with time at all of it.
b) I know my own worth. I don’t need acknowledgement from S. to know that I am smart and capable.
c) If S. doesn’t like me, that’s his problem, not mine. I have been nothing but lovely to him.
d) S. doesn’t seem to have any plans to fire me. He’s talking about next year. So I just have to keep working with as much enthusiasm, dignity, creativity, and joy that I can, and stop worrying about what S. thinks.

I do, however, wish that I wasn’t so dependent on this one source of income. Although I am self-employed, I essentially have a boss- and he’s a really lousy boss at that. It’s a necessity right now to make the money I need, but I wonder if I’m selling myself short for the sake of the financial security.

A personal/professional victory

I had a tricky work situation recently, and I was very pleased with the way I handled it.

An RFP was put out recently for a non-competitive grant for our regional network of centers. The grant was applied for by the Chair of our regional network. This Chair has a history of grabbing power (which is why she is the chair) and is downright despised by the chair of MY board, my pain of a boss (because he wants all that power for himself.) She doesn’t take any questioning or criticism well.

The grant application was approved, and our region got the money. When I reported this to my board, and shared with them the highlights of the proposal, three members of the board who are executives in a related organization were very unhappy with the biggest expenditure in the grant proposal, which they clearly saw as a threat to their organization. They said that it was a duplication of services for what they delivered. My board Chair/ boss, happy to appease them and happy to get in a dig at the regional Chair, instructed me to post our board’s concerns about this expenditure in a semi-public forum that we use for regional communications.

I knew that this would greatly upset the regional Chair. I think it would upset anyone, even if they were a fantastic leader good at hearing dissension, to have a critical post on a message board made about something they worked very hard on. So I knew I had to handle this with care. I asked my chair/boss if it might be better for the message to come from him, but of course he said no, he wanted me to post it, since it was a message from my Board. I told him I thought it should be an email instead of a post on the semi-public forum, but he wanted it on the semi-public forum so the regional Chair could not say she didn’t know the similar organization that my board members represent felt that way.

So I thought very long and hard about what I thought was fair, moral, and professional to do in this situation. I didn’t feel that it warranted outright refusal, because he wasn’t asking me to do anything immoral, just something that wasn’t the nicest thing in the world. I figured that I could write the post in a very politic way that was as kind as possible, and that would minimize the problem. And finally, I decided that the most professional, fair way I could do this would be to give the regional Chair a heads up with a phone call explaining what I was going to do before I posted it.

The regional Chair was very, very upset when I called her, and she protested vigorously against me making the post, but I explained my reasoning and thought process above, and that while I wish I didn’t have to upset her, and would personally not wish to put this on the public forum, I wasn’t going to refuse to do so.

I then wrote a post praising the parts of the grant that my board members weren’t complaining about, and mentioned that we knew how much hard work was done on this grant application, but given that it is easier to comment than to criticize, my board had some concerns about the largest expenditure.

To my surprise and delight, I got an email from the regional Chair later that day, thanking me for my carefully phrased post, stating that she knew the impossible situation that I was in, and that she appreciated my professionalism in calling her ahead of time. I was definitely not expecting that, and it not only made me feel good that I had clearly handled the situation well, it made me appreciate her more as a person and as a leader, too.

This definitely was working with creativity and dignity!

An all day meeting today

where I have to interact with the person that was rude to me recently in my ex-place of employment. NOT looking forward to this. And when I was helping to test the videoconferencing connection recently, I noticed that the chairs were NOT comfortable ones.

Oh, well. At least it’s not the three day meeting (although at least that one is on my turf, and has comfortable chairs.)

I volunteered to do a task for my regional colleagues.

We are having a statewide meeting, and videoconferencing throughout several sites. Since I am proficient in videoconferencing, when they asked for someone to test the connection ahead of time, I volunteered.

It turns out that the local conference location is going to be in my old place of employment. Before I was the director of my organization, I worked as a program specialist in a similar organization. When the director of that organization retired, I applied for director there, but they hired someone else, and a year later, my position was cut because of funding cuts.

[I am the classic case, by the way, of “when one door closes, another opens”, because as soon as I was laid off, my adoption went through, so I got to spend a year home with my new daughter, and after a second year of staying home and freelancing, was asked to be the freelance director of this other organization, and now I am so, so glad I was laid off.]

So I’ve been out of this organization for three and a half years, and had worked there for 5 years, and felt semi-yuck about the organization and the people there, because I was really surprised by the lack of support for my candidacy for the director position, and of course, though it wasn’t their fault, being laid off. Even though it all truly worked out for the best.

I made arrangements to drive over to conduct the test, and the director came out to say hello. I have mixed feelings about her. I worked under her for a year. It was her first managerial position, so I really tried to give her slack, but she was a ridiculous micromanager, and the retired director had been the exact opposite. So there were some weird feelings, I guess, especially since she knew I had tried for her position and didn’t get it. She definitely felt threatened, and I understood why. But this was three and a half years ago, and now since we were colleagues, we’ve run into each other a few times and it’s been cordial.

She sent me to do the test with her secretary, and when (of course) the equipment wasn’t up to par, the IT woman came in. She was from my time, and I had always been friendly with her, but she was clearly pissed, because she hadn’t been told I was coming. I understand that frustration, but it really wasn’t my fault. So the director came into the room, and was worried about pissing off the IT person. Believe me, I understand that! But when I told the director that we needed a microphone and camera, she shook her head and imperiously said, “No. We won’t have either of those. There’s no need for them to see or hear us on their end. As long as we can hear and see them, we can just type our questions in the chat box.”

Well, technically she’s right. And I understood there were politics involved about not pissing off the IT department- I remember the scene there, and the IT department doesn’t consider itself working for her part of the organization they work for- it’s a long, stupid story. But is any of this MY freaking fault? I’m just there, volunteering to do this test for the region. I am really, really bitter that they were so rude to me.

I suppose the whole point of this is that I am so grateful not to be part of this organization anymore. Yes, I make less money now, and have no pension or benefits, but it is so worth it to have autonomy and be in charge and not have to deal with these morons on a day-to-day basis. Whew. Things have really worked out well, considering. Remember this when things seem to have gone wrong, rosewilder! There is always a silver lining; and what seems difficulty might really be opportunity.

A light at the end of the tunnel.

The three-day meeting from hell is almost over. Almost. Just a few more hours.

The hard thing will be coming back to work tomorrow and facing the week without any sort of weekend break. October is going to be a busy month, as I am teaching a class after hours. Some days I won’t be getting home until almost 8 p.m.! Great time management is a priority for me now.

My work has been going well,

especially as I focus more on building up the non-profit, and really taking charge in doing things my way. It’s fulfilling my needs for autonomy and creativity in my work.

Unfortunately, today begins my erstwhile three-day-meeting-from-hell. There are so many things about this meeting that bug me. I wouldn’t mind the long hours and the working the entire weekend aspect if these damn meetings actually DID anything. Over 10 people come from all over the state at great expenses, and sit in a room for three days getting tremendous amounts of information about things that 75% of the time don’t come to fruition. When they actually do come to fruition, they rarely make any significant impact on our target audience because the implementation is so spotty, and worst of all, the meeting facilitator is S. I am trying to be more confident and not care what S. thinks of me, but that’s hard when we are in a room together for 3 days.

Half the people involved in this meeting have been on the committee for over 10 years, and they just love coming for the free airplane trip and hotel stay and the comped dinners, as far as I can see. They don’t seem to mind that all the things we talk about mean nothing. I’ve tried to get friendly with them, but so far, I haven’t clicked with any of them.

So now I’m sitting here typing this while S. name drops and blathers on about something I can tell will have no actual impact on what any educator does. My first year, I paid attention and made plans for implementation of things, and soon learned that I was just deluding myself. So now I’m just trying to get through this. Best yet, these meetings make a tremendous amount of work for me afterward, as I am responsible for processing the reimbursements for everyone’s plane fares and hotel stays. All for something that does nothing good for anyone, except S. who gets to be a big shot.

Last year we had two of these meetings. This year, we have THREE. It is going to be a problem to handle even today with dignity. There will certainly be no joy, enthusiasm, or creativity.

Realizations and decisions.

At a big meeting in the morning, S. showed me disrespect in public- twice. He wasn’t unkind, just worried and unappreciative, but it hurt.

Luckily, I instructed an ongoing professional development elsewhere in the afternoon. This is clearly the part of my work where I shine and am needed. They clapped for me when I was done- not the polite clapping of a professional audience, but enthusiastic gratitude clapping. Then, two teachers stayed after the end to ask me some questions and get my opinions of their lessons. They both liked and admired me.

So it is becoming clear. I am not so cut out for the administration that I do at the non-profit. That’s why S. is so frustrated with me. (Of course, I might have been more cut out for it if S. had ever communicated with me anything apart from “You made this mistake”, but that’s neither here nor there.) Nor do I gain tremendous satisfaction from it. It’s okay, but it isn’t the joy I get from presenting.

I can’t just give up the administration of the non-profit, because that’s where I make the bulk of my money. However, I am going to start transitioning back into a greater balance of the presentation/instruction aspect of my work I used to do- even if it makes me less money. Otherwise, I am not living up to this goal, even if S. suddenly became a wonderful communicator who adored me. (Hah!)

I am going to start by emailing the corporation I spoke to last week and telling them I am interested in pursuing the opportunity for per diem work with them. I have traditionally stuck with non-profits, but I think I can be of service to educators even when working with for-profit companies if I am presenting and instructing for them.

I started teaching a new 15 hour class last night.

It went SO well, and the participants clapped for me when the 3 hours were up. I told them that I genuinely looked forward to coming to work with them again next week. They were such a great, interested group!

It is these parts of my job that make me so energized and happy. I love presenting, and I am really good at it. I need to keep branching out beyond the low-paying center, pump up my freelancing, and earn what I deserve.

I am planning 2 more gigs

which will earn me another $1900- sweet!

SB is calling me back tomorrow, so we’ll see if there is any good news there. If there is, I will definitely need to hire someone steady to watch the girls after school- it will be too many late days to do piecemeal.

Unfortunately, even this extra work I’m picking up isn’t going to cut it once I lose my main source of income in July. So I’m going to have to re-envision how to make this work.

rosewilder has gotten 106 cheers on this goal.


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