Tuesday, September 19, 2006

What do I do?

One blogging friend asked what my job is. So I thought I'd share that with all of you out in the blog-o-
sphere. Maybe when you're done reading this, you can comment and tell me what you do.

I manage people.

Wycliffe Bible Translators, the group I work with, has its Africa headquarters in Nairobi. There must be something like a hundred people working full-time here and across Kenya. Our offices also support the work in eastern Congo. The staff I manage, about 14 people, do accounting, IT and immigration support, typesetting and general work to keep things going. I don't really count the accounting staff, since that section has a very competent manager.

Wycliffe exists to see that all people around the world have a Bible in a language they understand. (Imagine, Americans, if the only Bible available was in Spanish - you wouldn't be motivated to read it for yourself.) Also a large section of the work involves literacy - teaching people to read. So not only are there spiritual benefits, people groups are able to cope better in the world they live through knowing how to read.

So management - it's a challenge to herd cats, as that one Superbowl commercial so creatively described it a few years ago. Personality conflicts are difficult to solve. Staff often have unrealistic expectations. And laid on top of this is that none of my staff are American - so I'm groping in the dark sometimes in knowing what to do.

My original expectation was that I'd be at the helm for six months. The guy I'm standing in for and his wife are adopting a child - so six months has turned into two years.

My real job is graphic design. This has been a stretching "break."

So what do hands on a keyboard have to do with management? Not much. But I do spend a fair amount of time each working day doing email - to keep the wheels moving.

And the eagle-eyed out there will remember that my work computer is a Windows machine. But I do my blogging at home, and thankfully MY computer is a Mac. My son Ben took the photo, over my shoulder.

3 Comments:

Blogger The Pocknalls said...

Hi. All of a sudden all your font has become REALLY small. Is that a problem this end, or did you change something?
What do we do?
I (Jenny) am a school teacher. I am about to go on long service leave for a term as a friend and I are starting up a business, and we are going to devote some time to that. The business is all about decluttering peoples spaces.
Andrew is also a school teacher (part-time)and assistant kid's pastor at our church. In January he is going to start working for church full time.
www.cccryde.com.au
Will you go back to the graphic arts stuff when you return to the US?

Tue Sep 19, 02:00:00 PM PDT  
Blogger jon swanson said...

What i find so delightful, Paul, but did not understand until this post, is your effective efficiency with words. You craft phrases like an artist, not a manager, and now I know why.

Thanks
Jon

Tue Sep 19, 08:33:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Nairobi Paul said...

Thanks Jon, for the very kind words. I truly enjoy blogging & I hope that shows through the cracks.

Thanks Jenny, for the words on you and Andrew & what you do - sounds like an interesting life!

And sorry about the small type. Blogger has been acting up & I haven't had much control lately.

I'll go back to our mission's headquarters in Denver, Colorado in June 07 & probably head up the graphic design section. But the guy who's at the helm now is very capable, so I'm not sure yet how I'll fit.

Wed Sep 20, 12:22:00 AM PDT  

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