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A Comma, Not Yet a Period

July 26, 2011

I reached a milestone in my project today, and it felt amazing! If you have been following my blogs and/emails, you might recall that I have encountered a few changes in my project this summer. I came into the project thinking I would help the World Toilet Organization re-design a feminine hygiene product, distribute it to women in rural and lesser developed areas of Asia, and include a menstrual hygiene awareness educational component to accompany the product. If you know much about me and my idealistic “fairy tale” life perspective, you will know that all sounded very realistic and easy to accomplish in 3 months. Of course, it did not help to be working for a visionary that is just as idealistic and “big picture” oriented as me. I set about my work for the summer… I was going to “get ‘er done!”
Well… I didn’t get ‘er done… at least not what I expected. I ended up with a 35 page “Period Campaign Handbook.” What a drastic change, huh? Maybe I should explain. However, my explanation might be a bit “round-a-bout” in nature. Bear with me.
The purpose of the Period Campaign Handbook is to do what visionary/”big picture” leaders sometimes struggle to do: it provides a detailed framework with phases to follow throughout the process of conducting the campaign. What I now understand is that big changes like the change I set out to make this summer take a lot of time and planning, and I had to back up and realize this planning had not yet been done within my organization. I also had to accept the fact that I would not have time to do the planning and complete the actual work for the campaign. I had to face a fact I have always denied: I am a limited resource with a limited time frame. Tomorrow I can change the world, but I just didn’t have time today :- )
According to yours truly, there are 10 phases recommended to complete in order to ensure the Period Campaign is successfully implemented. In the handbook, I have also included handy worksheets to follow along with the phases of the project. On a completely unrelated note, while I was creating the worksheet, I realized I truly missed my time working as an elementary school teacher (although, at the time, I could not WAIT to leave the classroom). This thought returned to me a few times during my project. I wonder if I will look back on these blog years from now as I find myself again in some instructing capacity. That would be very interesting!
So the handbook details each of the 10 phases of the campaign and includes all of the research I have done this summer from published academic journals to interviewing expert stakeholders. Interesting enough, I jumped right into requesting interviews with people and conducting my research without truly having a grasp on what work for the Period Campaign would mean. What a lesson learned!
My boss said something to me early in the summer that will forever stick with me. After he found out that I ultimately desire to do social service work related to the health field, he cautioned me that I would always deal with the “ego.” He said his experience with me was that I am a very easy-going, calm-tempered, passionate woman with an ego in check. However, he said that when people enter not-for-profit or social service work, of course the motivation is not a salary; people want to feel good about the difference they are making. The compensatory return does not feed the pocket book; it feeds the ego.
I have to disagree with my boss. I do not think my ego was in check at the onset of this project, and it took until the final weeks of my work here for me to realize it. A healthy ego is necessary. In fact, if you consider the original Freudian definition, the ego’s job was to reconcile the innate and unconscious desires of the id with reality. However, reality was far from my concern this summer. My healthy ego did not kick it until two weeks before my official project work was to be completed. Better late than never…
So I am proud of what I have accomplished this summer.  Per his most recent email, apparently my boss is also proud of my “professional approach to my internship.”  Before the end of this week, I will submit the document to my boss for him to review for a week. While he is reviewing my work, I will be taking my final full week in Singapore to enjoy the parts of my summer home I have not yet seen. After I make the final suggested corrections, I will be ready to pack and return home.
I cannot believe my time here is almost complete! This has been an amazing, yet challenging journey and I am excited to see the end result coming together!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 28, 2011 10:27 am

    It sounds like your project has wrapped up nicely and successful! I definitely want to hear more about it when we’re back home!

    • missryanprincess permalink*
      July 28, 2011 10:33 am

      Ashley, it might be bad to admit, but I am VERY surprised how smoothly I was able to end my project. It was such a blessing how things fell into place, albeit at the LAST minute. I FINALLY have a product I am proud to submit in a few hours for their review. I cannot wait to share our Asia stories 🙂

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