Saturday, March 13, 2010

Can't lose for winning

Not a day goes by where I don't wish they (my bosses) would sever me.  If such a thing happened, I would burst into tears of gratitude, grab my severance, and sprint for the door.  But corporate politics being what they are, my head is not on the chopping block, despite my subtle attempts to put it there.

No one has officially announced anything anywhere, but I am now a release manager (or something like that).  I spend most of my days directing email traffic (when I'm not ignoring it or watching Lotus Notes freeze up).  Last week I was near meltdown, so stressed my face went numb.  This past week was not so bad.  I had to lead the weekly status meeting, though, and when I saw who was attending, I thought, At last, someone upstairs will see how incompetent I am and start that severance ball rolling.

But no.  Instead, Mr. Big told my mentor that he liked the way I led the meeting.  What leading?  I didn't do anything! All I can figure out is my mentor is ambitious and a bit confrontational in an attempt to impress, and I'm neither.  Maybe Mr. Big finds that refreshing.

Anyway, after this little episode, it occurred to me that too many people have a vested interest in believing I am doing a good job, whether I am or not.  Whatever.  It also occurred to me that I don't have to be like my mentor.  The project is high profile (and being on such a project is against my slacker religion), but I am happy to share the limelight (and the work) with the whole team.  Meanwhile, I wonder how long I can use the excuse that I am new to explain away my screw-ups.

Besides routing email, I also spend a lot of time in meetings.  We have Web-Based Conferencing, so all we far flung team members can participate through the magic of technology, video on our PCs and audio on our phones.  I long ago switched to using a hands-free headset so I can knit type notes.  The downside is, just as popular songs can become ear worms, the sing-song sound of accented English can haunt my brain cells long after I've said good-bye.  It's like I am in a crowded room with the sound of conversation going on in the background.  Even when I wake up in the middle of the night - especially when I wake up in the middle of the night - the voices are there.  I'm never alone.

Fortunately for me, everyone I work with speaks English very well, better even than some of my American co-workers.  The only ones I have trouble understanding are the Indians, because they tend to speak rapidly but softly.  I do get a kick out of the little mistakes the different nationalities make:  pronouncing "synonyms" as syNONyns, making "closed" a two-syllable word (the Latvians do that), writing "rump down" instead of "ramp down", etc.    There is one phrase I'm not sure of the origin, though:  they talk about "clubbing" defects or reports, as in grouping them.  Sounds violent.

I guess that is enough for now.  Happy trails to you!

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