Tulane VISTA Blog

Fighting Poverty with Passion

One Minute Classical Music: The Work Cycle

One of the things about professional jobs is what I think of as the “work cycle”: the process of a project from start to finish. This is even more applicable to VISTA life because our work is very project-oriented. Things are great! Then things are bad. Then things are really bad. But it usually all works out in the end.

To illustrate this, I’ve tapped into my newfound classical music kick, my recent spate of visiting churches, and my budding Buzzfeed writer alter ego. (Sometimes, I imagine my life has a soundtrack as if I were in a movie.) So let me present: “The Work Cycle” with one-minute-or-less musical accompaniment!

The Work Cycle

Vocation: “Radetzky March” by Johann Strauss, Sr. (0:17-0:42)
A new project! You have marching orders! Sweet. This is going to be great. Seriously, you’re going to own this.

Mission: “Prelude from Suite No. 1 in G Major” by J.S. Bach, performed by Yo-Yo Ma (1:50-2:41)
You start off making plans for when things will be due, when you’ll work with co-workers and partners, and set up some expectations for results/impact. Charts are involved. Plans are made. Then, like a busy bee, you’re hard at work. Each day has a purpose.

Doubt: “Lacrimosa” from “Requiem in D minor, K626” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (0:49-1:25)
Trouble brews. Perhaps your supervisors or leadership have changed strategic priorities. Bureaucracy is being immovable. Grant funding has been pulled and you’re going to have to scramble for other money. No one is replying to their email (P.S. Commandment #11: Do not email right before Mardi Gras. No one’s going to answer.) And sometimes you get derailed for what seems like inexplicable reasons. Uh oh…

Penance: “Hungarian Dance No. 5 in G minor” by Johannes Brahms (0:00-0:35)
Due to all sorts of factors, you’re now all sorts of behind. Time to call up the reserves and reach out to your co-workers and the VISTA team. Work feverishly around the clock. Bring a giant plate of dumplings to the office for dinner. Not that that has ever happened before.

Doom: “O Fortuna,” from Carmina Burana by Carl Orff (1:37-2:31)
Death must surely be coming. There is no way this will work out. For example: that time I was 1000% sure my Career Day event would implode because all the details were coming apart at the seams at the last minute and nothing made any sense. Or when we were racing to get our first annual report written in time for Thanksgiving mailings. Sometimes, I’d have disquieting dreams where it was all a disaster!

Deliverance: “‘O Sole Mio!” by Eduardo di Capua and Giovanni Capurro, sung by Luciano Pavarotti (0:00-1:38) [okay, I lied about one minute, but this one is good!]
Success!!! You are the toast of the office (for the day, anyways.) Time to bask in your accomplishments for a bit, think of what can be better and what can be changed, and then plan for new tomorrows.

Other Updates

GiveNOLA 2014, the inaugural city-wide online giving event on Tuesday, May 6th, went pretty well! Some stats:

  • 26 donors
  • $6,505 raised! (And some matching dollars to come as well!)

Also, the Cowen Institute is hiring!



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