The Six-Word Memoir Blog

Work Challenge Winners #4: “Best Lesson I Learned at Work”

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

By Larry Smith

We’ve wrapped up our summer-long “Six Words About Work” contest with the consulting group Mercer and think of no better way to roll into Labor Day than to announce the three winners of the final challenge, “Best Lesson I Learned at Work,” each of whom win either an iPad2 or BlackBerry PlayBook.

U.S. Winner—Melesha Owen, “Press every button until printer works.” Melesha just celebrated her tenth year as librarian in a public library in Hayward, California. Her memoir, she explains, applies to more than just the proverbial printer. “Over the years, I have learned that fixing stuff is just a matter of trying everything.” Melesha is an active SMITH user whose written more than 280 Six-Word Memoirs after spotting one of our Six Worders in an Honest Tea bottle cap this past March. “I was intrigued and once I started reading the memoirs of others, I thought this was a great way to say a little bit about my life in five minutes or less. And one of the things I enjoy about my job is that I can help a lot of people during the day—also in five minutes or less.”

Canada Winner—Kelly Heaney, “Follow your heart, not the salary.” Kelly lives in Hamilton, Ontario, and has worked for the Ford Motor Company as a financial analyst since she graduated from college seven years ago. “My Six-Word Memoir was inspired by loved ones that I have lost,” she says. “That life experience helped teach me that my time is priceless. It’s a hard lesson to learn. Since we spend such a significant amount of our time at work, we need to ensure we are doing it for the right reasons.” Kelly’s new to SMITH—her six-word debut occurred for this contest—and nows says she’s got a six-word fix.

U.K. Winner—Bryony Punt, “Make cups of tea, build bridges.” Bryony
is freelance graphic designer living just outside of London. “My entry may sound overly British in afterthought,” he says, “but we do love tea! I guess it’s just our way of solving problems and bringing people together. I’ve learned throughout my career that not only is it important to take those two minutes away from your desk but it’s a great way to secure bonds in your team. There’s nothing like a colleague who can remember how you like your tea and put a mug on your desk without you even asking.” Bryony says was recommended to SMITH “by my witty friend who knows I enjoy writing
the odd line of copy here and there.” We warmly welcome our English friend to our odd, witty, and wonderful world of sixes.

Thanks to Getting Things Done guru David Allen, our judge for this challenge, and to everyone who shared a little bit of the work life. If you weren’t among the winners, you’re still eligible to be part of a special Six Words About Work book we’re publishing later this year. We’ll keep the Work section of the Six-Word Memoir project open so you can continue to share your short, sharp takes on the work life.

Six Words About Work on NPR’s Talk of the Nation: SMITH editor Larry Smith will be on NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” talking about what we learned about work, six words at a time. He’ll be taking calls from listeners sharing Six-Word Memoirs About Work live at 3:40pm EST.

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One response

  1. bevvie says:

    Kudos to the winners!

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