Employee of the Month

An army green Leuchtturm1917 dot-grid journal embossed with the pleasing words KNITSONIK Bullet Journal, Dr Felicity Ford, employee of the month

A few weeks ago I had to make a tricky business decision. Nothing major, but I felt rubbish afterwards and – as is often the case when I am alone in my office – struggled to get perspective and spiralled into negative self-talk. The net outcome of this scenario is always that my work grinds to a halt. Hours of time and industrious creativity can be lost simply to feeling rubbish.

One of the things I dislike most of all about running KNITSONIK LTD. is how much of the job is invisible and goes completely unappreciated, and the lack of an outside perspective at tricky times: unless you build them in yourself (more of this momentarily) opportunities to recognise your wins and objectively identify areas for growth and development are few and far between, and it can far too easily beomce a self-bashing festival of ALL THE THINGS I’VE DONE WRONG/ALL THE PLACES WHERE I’VE FAILED. I think as a basic tenet of self-esteem we all need to feel recognised from time to time and thanked for a job well done. I can’t tell you what it means to talk to other folks running businesses like mine and just to hear a sincerely expressed “GREAT JOB!” – it means so much and is motivating in ways that can’t be quantified.

This reminds me of when I was broken and sleep-deprived and handing in my undergraduate thesis, in a spiral of I’M PROBABLY GOING TO FAIL; I consoled myself by buying a SUPER stamp – a way of recognising what I’d done even if it failed in academic terms. (That thesis won an award but I couldn’t foresee that on the sad day of handing it in after two successive all-nighters and the horror show I’d experienced in trying to get it to print out.) We all need affirmation.

A KNITSONIK Bullet Journal Page covered in SUPER! stamps; the stamp is an elephant with the word super under it, and these are interspersed with tiny stickers that are smiling yellow stars

Messages of appreciation for my work that come in from customers are golden and always make my day. Over time I’ve learnt to copy them into my KNITSONIK Bullet Journal where they save me on the worst days. They are a true salve when I am firefighting things like fearing I can’t cover my operational costs for the foreseeable future; chasing packages lost in the post (and knowing I will end up replacing them at a loss); battling with my accounts; or handling the occasional message that comes IN ALL CAPS and is hard not to experience as a personal attack: “I PAID FOR X AND NOTHING HAS ARRIVED!!!” I know it’s not personal, but sometimes – when I am literally the only person who sees these emails – it’s hard to remember that.

A circular sticker with a smiling face in the middle and the words I'M TRYING MY VERY BEST around the edge

As a self-employed person, there is no office co-worker with whom to dissipate and joke away the horrors of these Bad Things though I am lucky to have a rich network of self-employed friends to whom I can turn for much-needed perspective at the worst times. THANK YOU, PALS!

But I’m also learning to build in more of the care and recognition I need for myself – that’s the trick about being self-employed: I am the boss and, as such, need to look after the wellbeing of my staff (also me!) and their/my mental health. If KNITSONIK is going to succeed, I need resilience and stamina – and morale is foundational to this. One of my aforementioned amazing friends also runs a small business and struggles to balance her work with disability and a long stretch of serious illness. One time many years ago she shared how, after a particularly difficult week, she had responsively sat down and created for herself an amazing badge of self-recognition, bearing the moniker EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH and a beautifully-drawn rosette. That’s the sort of genius, mischief and uplift that I can get behind!!!

golden seals bearing such positivity as EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH, EXCELLENCE, SUPERIOR EXCELLENCE etc.

You’ll know if you’ve done my KNITSONIK Bullet Journaling course that I try to build in a monthly VICTORY LIST (celebrating everything in the month) and a REVIEW PROCESS (kindly and objectively identifying areas for improvement); I’m prioritising these activities more, as the growing pains of building KNITSONIK LTD. stretch me – and I’m learning that the busiest months where it feels impossible to make time for self-recognition are also the ones in which I need it most. Because these are the months when things can easily slip from EXCITEMENT AT ALL THE PROJECTS into MAXIMUM STRESS AT ALL THE PROJECTS into TOTAL ANXIETY MELTDOWN. I do not have an external to me boss who is kind and caring and protective and who looks after my self-esteem, but I can try to be this person for myself. And so last month I made some investments in STAFF MORALE that have been amazing and that I really want to share with you – ESPECIALLY if you are self-employed.

A gold-topped VICTORY LIST with a massive golden EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH seal on it!

At various online stationers – including Leuchtturm1917 – you can opt for a personalised embossing service to customise your journal. My KNITSONIK Bullet Journal is the palace of dreams wherein all work tasks and also self-care and also creative planning and also cheerleading take place: ensuring it is an extra amazing place of affirmation is of vital importance. So, embodying the benevolent and rewarding boss I need to have, I ordered this:

An army green Leuchtturm1917 dot-grid journal embossed with the pleasing words KNITSONIK Bullet Journal, Dr Felicity Ford, employee of the month

I also invested in a large stack of gold reward seals that seem to be evaporating into letters and notes to fellow small business owners; they are the gift that keep on giving: sharing them as love and uplift with my comrades almost feels better than happily sticking them into my own journal to celebrate, say, the VAT return being down before my accountant is on my case; or the completion of a very long but important stint of sorting out subtitles for videos in my online school.

If I see the things I do and say “WELL DONE” then those needs for recognition can be met, and the day-to-day adversities of self-employment more easily met from a place of strength and confidence.

Shout out to everyone feeling under celebrated in your work, and especially to my self-employed buddies with creative businesses; I know that in all your different ways, with the mountains you’re moving to try and keep afloat in this strained and broken economy, you too are EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH.

Shout it out loud on the pages of your calendar or your planner; or on your office wall; – I promise it helps x

a wall of golden seals

14 thoughts on “Employee of the Month

  1. Oooh, yes, these (AND YOU!)!!

    I would love to purchase a set of “good job/etc” stickers if you happen to put a pack in your store? Also happy to order my own if not, no pressure!

    1. Hiya, motivational sticker packs are something I have considered putting together in the KNITSONIK shop but it’s unlikely to be a project I can work on until after my current big project is finished, so if you’re in need of a more immediate motivational fix, I reckon ordering your own is the way forward for now! Thank you x

  2. How fabulous you are, dear Felix! I’m nominating you for Employee of the CENTURY!!! Massive hugs and lots of love xxx

    1. Amazing Cecilia you’re too kind – while we’re doing nominations I nominate you for CO-WORKER OF THE CENTURY – you are such a force of uplift and camaraderie within the creative industries, always using your wondrous woolly work to connect meaningfully and with such love with other makers and artists x A GOLDEN FLEECE AWARD FOR YOU x

  3. I’m retired but I have those days and weeks of self-doubt (to put it mildly) too so I think I’m going to start the month-end review of what I have achieved. Thanks for all you do, Felix, I love your newsletters and lovely books and you deserve all the kudos!

    1. I feel the end of month reviews are so helpful wherever we are in our lives – there are so many things that can make it too easy to forget the wins, the little victories, the things that were good and joyous – everything we did. Silly capitalism reduces wins to productivity and financial gain but there are so many other areas where, as human beings, we can triumph. We can triumph in kindness; in how we hold ourselves or others through hardship or uncertainty; in how we bear and survive our grief; the ways in which we nurture life and nourish those around us. I hope your end of month reviews will richly recognise your many triumphs – I’d love to give you a glittering golden star for the very kind ways in which you always encourage me here. Thank you so much!

  4. Down with self-sabotage! Up with self-affirmation and solidarity with creative friends and business-owners!

  5. Felix,
    You are my Employee of Eternity! You are a fabulous teacher and such a creative, out-of-the box thinker. If I were Molly Weasley and could have my knitting needles work on their own I would make all the quotidien fairisle designed sweaters floating in my head; they are there because of YOU!

    1. Hurrah for those imaginary sweaters of dreams! Very happy to know they are floating there and I’m sure their time will come! 🙂 Thank you for your kind words and for the lovely reminder of magic self-knitting needles – we could all use a set of those I feel!

  6. Receiving your posts and newsletters are the highlight of my day- read start to finish. Your bullet journal class is still- more than a year later- a solid reference and my bujo has become the best resource for keeping myself organized and reflecting on my successes even during the worst challenges of overseeing care for my sibling with complex behavioral and medical disabilities. I still have many frustrating organizational challenges but the bujo is a constant. (Daily overwhelm of emails, multiple follow ups, patient portal messages, phone logs, appointments visit notes, phone logs, etc.) Kudos and heartfelt thanks for your course. ♥️ The playful victory pages rock! When I’m low, I look at those pages and it helps me to remember the “highs” and restores a sense of equilibrium! Please give yourself a golden sticker for being a BuJo Goddess and Guide Par Excellence! Oh, and inspired by your writings, I’ve set a weekly reminder in my digital calendar every Saturday that says: “Don’t wait for special time to play with color!” Thanks for your positive inspirations!

    1. Aw Linda, what a kind and encouraging comment. Thank you. I’m so happy that my course has given you useful tools for managing all that and YES, the playful victory pages are essential! Thank you for my golden sticker – I’ll pop it in my bullet journal somewhere prominent. Best of all, I’m glad you’ve got weekly reminders to allow time to play with colours – this is what we all need: more permission to play and ways and means to prioritise it. Sending big hugs to you – it sounds like you need extra gold stars too, for ongoing excellence in navigating healthcare systems and healthcare

  7. I’d also like to nominate you for Sweetheart of the Month – sending big, empathetic hugs and a virtual gift hamper of secure logistics, refreshing eye gel, and back massages

    1. Aw you’re so lovely, thank you so much for this my fellow SUPERSTAR OF SELF-EMPLOYMENT! Oh yes: hurrah for eye gel and back massages – the essential salve to computer marathons! Sending giant hugs right back to you and many pints of AFFIRMATION AND GOOD VIBES XXX

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