One Day I Will Rule the World

World Domination, Babies and Middle Eastern Dance

November 14, 2008


I have taken the day off. I did not think that I would probably be in dire need of a day off just six or seven weeks after going back to work. My work, while sometimes high-pressure, has not really been burn-out-y for me.

I can’t say so for all people, because I know some of our programmers are in such demand that they sometimes work ridiculously long hours and one of our project managers spent the summer working 12hr days, six days a week.

For me, I’m not fueling the production fires. My job is to make the programmers’ lives easier and the production process to therefore burn a little less hot. And so I don’t face a lot of deadlines. I just have to keep plugging away at improving our systems.

But it’s a new position, and I’m still sorting out what it should encompass. And we’re making a lot of process changes or debating a lot of process changes. Some days I look at an initiative that my department has agreed that I should advance and I feel paralyzed because it’s just So Big and I don’t even know where to start. Mostly when I do find where to start it requires the cooperation of other people, who, when I go to them, need to spend forty minutes meeting with me before they even see the wisdom of what I’m proposing. Or, they see the wisdom of what I’m proposing, but redirect me through different channels which will continue to infinitely redirect me because, wisdom or no, people don’t want to be responsible for making changes, and they figure there’s got to be someone more qualified than themselves.

And, bless them, I understand about the perils of change. And I understand about treading softly so as not to stir up bad feelings about the changes we are working. But I am efficiency minded, and truthfully, a bit of a fascist, you know.

But, of course, people who have been there for a long time are a little jaded about changes, too. And maybe a little emotionally invested in the idea that it shouldn’t just happen, because “if it was that easy, don’t you think we’d have done it already,” or “that’s not the way we do things around here, which I know because I’ve been here longer.” And I know how irritating it is when you are in the trenches, and nothing about the demands of the trenches has changed, but along comes some officer saying, “I want the trenches organized more like this. Let’s do that.” I mean, faugh. You’re going to be right angry, because you’re still in the middle of freakin’ war, right? And what do they think, we’re just going to pause the war and go start all over?

Which, I don’t. But I can see how suggesting changes to how we develop would certainly look like we want entirely new trenches dug. And if we could all just agree on what the better way is, then we could talk about small, achievable steps to making it happen eventually.

Interestingly, I find that it’s not the troops who are resisting the most. It’s the other officers. The troops, of course, have been working within the system. They’ve been thinking about how this or that thing would make their lives easier. Some of the troops kind of bloodthirstily encourage my fascism (“Just make everybody agree, or, you know, off with their heads,”) because they’re emotionally invested in believing that change should be just that easy.

So I’m not burnt out, exactly. I’m just in need of a day away from navigating the murky waters of other people’s needs.

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  1. I hear ya, sista.
    The bigger it gets, the harder, but more necessary, it will be.
    Let me know if you need: 1) Help; 2) A shoulder to cry on. 😉


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