Watch out for the salt….

Four weeks ago, my immediate management chain started preparing for the annual goat rope known as “Spring Review”.  Panties were bunched, upper lips steeled, and strategy sessions were held…

i attended.

Initial planning had me preparing, and delivering, a one hour presentation to our Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Technical Officer (CTO) and the entire senior leadership group.

“This is our chance to shine!  To show them how good we are!”

Awww… Isn’t my new division boss cute?  She genuinely believed this…

Three weeks ago, things got more intense.  More strategic planning sessions were held.  Budgets were analyzed.  Programs were chopped or reorganized.  Facilities were documented.

i put together a few responses to targeted taskings.  Then went to the gym.

But wait!  Stop the presses!  We’re getting feedback from the front office — they don’t want technical stuff, they want management stuff!  We need to kick this up to a higher level review.

Cool!  The “Horsie/Duckie” stuff is in my wheel house!  Even better…And my one hour presentation is now only going to be 30 minutes….  Well.  Look at the time?  That’s lunch!

So by last week – in the home stretch – we did a complete 180 degree turn.  New strategy.  New “required” presentation charts.  Those other charts they asked for three weeks ago?  Put ’em in back up… Just in case anyone asks…

Time for my horseback riding lesson.  i’ll get right on that tomorrow.

By the time we got to the “Final Friday Strategy Session” before our big “Monday Review” today?  i was only on the hook for a 20 minute pop.

Damn good thing i hadn’t wasted a single minute of the past few weeks working on my one hour presentation.

i worked an 8 hour charity event on Saturday.  Sunday?  Took four hours out to ride my bike to a minor league baseball game and enjoy some time in the sun.  Poked at the presentation over the weekend.  Submitted it to management at 7pm last night.

And delivered it this morning.  To rave reviews.

So the lesson for all of you parents fretting that your little hippie kids are farting around with those theater classes when you think they should be studying hard sciences, or getting trained in something that can provide a living wage?

Let ’em take that improv class.  It’ll pay off when they’re older.

Oh, and it also genuinely helps to not give a shit about your own career advancement….

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35 thoughts on “Watch out for the salt….

  1. The worst example of this I ever personally experienced was a 10 month project that completely changed direction every week or so. At the 9 1/2 month mark, the CEO settled back on our original approach. No one ever had the nerve to tell her.

    • somehow i knew you’d get this one… we’ve both got a few of these t-shirts. i feel a little guilty about phoning it in… but they were happy with the product. did my job. just did it far more efficiently than most.

  2. Daisyfae! I knew you were a VIP but freakin’ genius, too? All this talk about presentation to CEO’s, budgets, management stuff…wow!
    Hey, my son’s looking for a job here in the states…can you take on a Princeton grad? I think he’s pretty smart, too! 🙂

    • No, darlin’… Not a VIP. Definitely not a genius. More of an “imposter”. Much to my complete and total amazement, i’m pretty good at my job, though… despite my sluggardly ways, they seem happy with what i do.

      My most important job at the moment is preparing for an inevitable reorganization. i’m trying to get the good folks i have on staff to safe harbour when it all goes down… Would be a bad time to hire someone new. i’m sure he’ll find something more rewarding!

  3. I am so glad I no longer have to play those games. The thing that most peeved me was watching just how often ‘suck skills for success’ were in fact successful. Retrospective growl.

    • i don’t think there’s any way on earth i could do your job, dear! you have to work with families. in a medical environment. i’ve had enough of that to last a lifetime… but i can clean your house, call out for dinner, and fix you a gin and tonic every night when you come home!

  4. Haha – only got caught once with this philosophy… Had a boss it would be Monday “We need to do this….” and off he’d go. I’d go back to my desk knock up something in an hour or so, submit to him as I left the office that day – my colleague “I’ll be here to midnight doing this” Next morning “I’ve re-thought we need…” off again – normally 3 to 4 iterations and I’d only put real serious effort into the third one on. Only once did I go in and say “What are we doing with x” and he said “Gave it to the VP already”… and I had to say “Oh – there might be a problem, see that data, well a lot of it was far from up to date”… He went mad but we fixed it quickly enough. My colleague never did get it with him – he worked his butt off and ended up hating the man, I did explain my strategy to him but he never adopted it

    • Ouch — but cool that you made sure it was corrected. i’ve been fairly open with my strategy (even with my division tech director). he’s worked with me enough to know that i’d probably pull it out of my arse. Can’t wait to retire, though. This stuff makes me tired…

        • I used to be counting down, then the govt moved your first opportunity – if the large USA company I used to work with hadn’t shut down their UK operations and the govt hadn’t moved the earliest to 55 I’d have been looking at semi-retirement later this year… 😦 Now – probably 15 years away

    • i’d rather avoid them… especially the ones happening at the highest levels. at least they’ve started hiding the sharps in the conference rooms!

      • i did for a time… about 10 years, i really wanted to climb the ladder! thought i could change the world if i just got the position of authority thing taken care of. it was ego-driven for me… i wanted to see just how far a trailer park kid could get inside the big machine. and then i stopped giving a shit. and i felt a lot better…

  5. “fucking off for max pay”
    Now THAT’S a ‘career’! lol

    I had a couple (almost ALL) teachers AND professors tell me that I was amazingly adept at churning out quality bullshit in record time.
    I have always considered it a compliment …. and one of my finer attributes. =)

    I prefer my salt on a margarita glass …. happy hour is the PERFECT “strategy session”! 😉

    • The things I hated most? Being a little further down the ladder, but called on to “explain” unpleasant decisions to juniors. If you’re not prepared to do the difficult stuff you shouldn’t take the job. (I like being a “kept woman” 🙂 )

      • those are the tasks that cannot be delegated. a few years ago, i had to inform my branch of the death of a colleague… could have done it by e-mail. chose to do it in person… chose the face of a woman i knew to be tough. one who had been through a lot. when i saw her shock and grief, i damn near lost it myself… which i eventually did when she burst into tears. bad news delivery is an art i haven’t mastered…

      • I work best under pressure … hence my “careers” as an EMT, volunteer firefighter, etc.

        I never mastered the art of bad news delivery either …. and that’s why I no
        longer work in those types of fields.
        It was taking a toll on my mental health.

        • i admire those who can do those jobs – even temporarily. dealing with life and death, throwing yourself into fires and car accidents to help someone else? ouch. you are a tough one, ms. fyre…

  6. Consider yourself lucky. The poor bastards you abandoned – us’uns across the street – are in the middle of a HUGE reorg. Musical chairs on a massive scale. It’s the annual “Hunt for Relevancy” exercise on steroids. Fortunately our group isn’t being touched too much, especially after they hacked our budget by 40% starting next year. I’ve been there since 1987 and the last five years of constant reorgs, budget cuts, midstream course corrections (180 degree turns mostly) have sucked all the fun out of working in the place. I can retire in 4 years, seven months but part of me wants to stick around just to see what kind of fucked up, unbelievable, stupid shit comes down the pike next. And, oh yeah, it would be work long enough to pay for my kids’ college, too. That would be 9 years and 7 months. I would write a book about it but they would make me publish it in the fiction section.

    • yeah. been tracking that mess. sorry to hear that the game of musical chairs continues. about ten years ago, when i was still there, there was some sort of anniversary function — and we were doing a contest to come up with a new slogan for the lab. someone suggested “Excellence Through Reorganization”. i laughed my ass off, and did everything i could to get the committee to at least put that down as a finalist for voting purposes… always suspected that you were the one who submitted it…

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