Becoming a Swiss Army Knife

How does one become a Swiss Army Knife? Well, with my company at least, I woke up, had the brilliant idea to start calling myself as such, and then it was official. Or as official as anything is with the Downtown Project. Some of the best things about having such a job title? Well, for starters, it is an instant conversation starter. At the Vegas Tech Jelly on Thursday, everyone was much more interested in me after they heard my job title than they were when they found out my name. Indeed, people heard about my job title and told their friends, so when I met new people, they had a tendency to know me because of my job title! In hindsight, maybe I should change my job title, because that would mean I would draw less attention to myself, since I really don’t like talking about myself. But I am such a huge fan of said title. I guess you can’t have a great job title without having some negative things associated with it…

The real value in having this job title is what the job entails. Right now, there are four major components to my job:
1) Working on opening an early childhood center with the goal of being ready for the 2013 school year.
2) Being the TFA liaison for the Downtown Project.
3) Making Skillshare more prevalent in Downtown to encourage community learning.
4) Being Project Manager for the Downtown Project Construction Zone.

What have all these thing entailed? Well, if you’re curious, I will write out an absurdly long list detailing some of the many things that I have done over the last couple of weeks. And if you want the tl;dr version: I somehow landed a position where being a generalist is valuable, after thinking that I would need to change that about myself in the workplace. I still think I need to narrow my focus at some point, but right now I will continue to enjoy being able to dabble in a little bit of everything.

The not-so-exhausting list of things that I have been doing lately:

  1. Frantically buying toilet paper and paper towels at the last minute while hosting a meeting of the President’s Jobs Council
  2. Wishing repeatedly that I had in a past life been a plumber and/or electrician
  3. Bidding out various projects to different contractors
  4. Finding out what restrictions apply when it comes to small business licenses
  5. Providing food for different events
  6. Connecting people from different circles to each other
  7. Sitting in on alumni focus groups to discuss the future of education
  8. Building a curriculum from scratch, while incorporating parts of some of the most revolutionary parts of education
  9. Setting up a schedule for dumpster pick-up
  10. Talking to the founder of Students Helping Honduras to pick her brain about social entrepreneurship
  11. Tablesurfing in the back of a Mercedes SUV
  12. Ordering picnic tables online
  13. Hosting TFA staff on the roof of your apartment complex to get to know them better
  14. Recruiting anyone and everyone to teach/take Skillshare classes, with topics ranging from Eastern Philosophy to Improv (Lessons) for Life.
  15. Attending a bunch of TFA social events (I know, my life is rough)
  16. Meeting with people involved in education at all levels, from the State Superintendent’s office, to local trustees, to teachers in general.
  17. Reading anything and everything that I can get my hands on about education
  18. Designing a transitional community space
  19. Creating Facebook pages and building followings of said pages (yes, I am on Facebook as part of my job now)
  20. Opening up venues for meetings and closing them when the day ends
  21. Meeting with architects to go over school designs
  22. Walking through physical spaces to envision the future
  23. Being a delivery boy
  24. Touring the Desert Springs Preserve for work
  25. Giving a presentation at the monthly internal meeting in front of over 100 people
  26. Talking to local artists about how to beautify spaces
  27. Attending community meetings with the police to forge stronger relationships
  28. Hooking stuff up to electrical generators and hoping to not electrocute myself in the process
  29. Having e-mail correspondences with the CEO of a billion dollar company
  30. Patrolling the streets with a group of Guardian Angels and have dinner with their founder
  31. Conversing with people to get their stories
  32. Phoning utilities to get stuff done
  33. Hoping that permits get done on time
  34. Writing pseudo press-releases
  35. Analyzing usage statistics
  36. Moving dumpsters outside of gates so they are in positions to be received
  37. Arguing with the garbage men that they are supposed to pick up the dumpsters on certain days
  38. Getting internet set up
  39. Discovering that regular outlets are not up to the task of handling commercial food warmers
  40. Pinching myself to check if this is real life
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2 thoughts on “Becoming a Swiss Army Knife

  1. That is a very long list with a lot of very different items on it. Do you ever find yourself wanting more focus in what you’re doing? I think I might get confused while working in all of these different directions.

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