Friday, December 29, 2017

Ben's Obligatory 'Thanks and Bye' Email

Every interaction and potential interaction is an opportunity to provide value to others.

When I really consider that statement, I get fired up. I think, You mean I can improve the moment for the next person I see in the elevator, walking down the street, or sifting through the different varieties of hummus, each one grosser-looking than the previous?!

That statement applies to written interactions, too. I seized the opportunity last week on my last day in my previous job as a writer and editor at my federal agency. It is common courtesy for departing employees to send a "thanks and bye" email. I wanted to be courteous. But, I also wanted to make the email valuable.

Here's the "thanks and bye" email I sent to my coworkers, with some redactions. Remember: the outcome of the interaction isn't what matters because not every interaction will be a winner. All that matters is you give it your all to improve the moment for others, even if that means Outlook adds cricket emojis just because of you.

Dear Office of Communications,

Today is my last day with you. I’ve been here for just over five years, which is the longest amount of time I have held and expect to hold a single job. I think that’s a sign that I either really enjoyed editing tweets or couldn’t live without hearing Softball’s laugh from the next cube over. The good news is I’ll still hear his laugh from down the hall in the Management Directorate.

I will miss the work—there is something so satisfying to me about redlining almost every word of a horrifically written document. Especially when I get to redline hashtags.

Even more than that, I cherish the time I spent working with many of you. Like: years ago, our servers froze because of a barrage of “reply alls” sent to thousands of employees. G-Unit, seated two cubes away (and with an unfortunate bystander-employee between us), and I couldn’t stop howling after each. That was such fun (even if the server-freeze prevented us from actually working)! I can’t believe I haven’t written an Our Stories about the employees who wrote the most comedic of those “reply alls.”

Or: the time Zombie, Deadpan and I tried the BeanBoozled pack of jelly beans, which Zombie gifted to me for Hanukkah—though, I’m not sure “gift” is accurate in this case. We were pretty sure there were real bits of vomit in one of the jelly beans.

I’m certain I’ll never forget my interview with CatCat and former-office mate, Walkabout. During the interview, I was sure Walkabout would be my future boss if they selected me (CatCat was my boss for almost my entire five years here). I prepared for the interview as if they knew nothing about me (they knew far too much courtesy of Google). And, I nearly panicked about their Star Wars vs. Star Trek question. I thought, What if I answer incorrectly and don’t get selected and am stuck as a lowly consultant and don’t get to edit tweets and don’t get to cut out bad hashtags nooooooooo!

All was well, and now I get to give WayBetterWriterThanMe the gift of editing hashtags.

Thank you for an enjoyable five years.



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Friday, December 22, 2017

Words by ruBENstein Quarterly Newsletter

I published the first edition of my new quarterly newsletter yesterday! In Words by ruBENstein (which you can subscribe to here), every three months I'll share: one or two of my recent stories plus an oldie but goodie; my most popular social media post; and one story and life lesson from one of writing's greats.

I am excited about this, and I hope my newsletter gives you a bit of entertainment and inspiration. I say a bit because Words by ruBENstein is short and conveniently allows you to skip the segments you don't care for and read those you do. That is intentional. If I do one thing well in life it is choosing my incomings and muting the rest. So if you focus your attention in similar ways to how I focus mine, then maybe you miss my stories when they originally publish. Maybe your go-to social media site just happens to not show my posts on your feed, or you happen not to look at the precise time.

No problem. Words by ruBENstein provides only my best stories and posts and great stuff from one writer who has inspired me from the last three months. And three months from now, you'll get another newsletter with these same features. I won't spam you, ask for you to purchase anything, or request money.

I will only ask you to give me a belated Hanukkah gift now and subscribe to my newsletter (and check your spam/promotions folders for both the confirmation email and newsletter itself). I'd be honored.

Join my Words by ruBENstein quarterly newsletter.

Thank you!

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