Sunday, November 11, 2007

Two-Week’s Notice Guy

We all want to be two-week’s notice guy from time to time. When work gets you down, and there is no end in sight, sometimes I just want to go into my manager’s office and say:

“F*ck it! I QUIT!”

And then I’d swiftly walk out, never to return.

Two-week’s notice guy probably would do it better. He probably has thousands of exciting, interesting and fun ways to leave our places of work. He’s probably scribbling innovative ways to tell the boss where to go as we speak.

I wish I was two-week’s notice guy. I’ve got big issues with where I work.

Actually, I’ve had big issues for a while now, but thought I could somehow manage to fit in – just as others are doing.

The problem is, there isn’t any form of project management at all. There doesn’t appear to be any management of any kind on any real level. They do have an executive level and a managerial level – what exactly these people do I often wonder, because it certainly isn’t “management” as I’ve experienced it at other companies.

One day my manager tells me project X is the priority and to focus on that. They very next day, she gives me a completely different priority, knowing full well she told me to already focus on something else.

I tell her the previous priority won’t get done, can’t work on it, if while I am working on her new project. She tells me she knows this already – just do it.

I shift gears, only to be tossed around to other priorities as they pop-up. Nothing really ever gets done until the very last minute. And because everything gets done at the very last minute, there is always something shoddy about it. It is never correct the first time around, simply because everyone is rushing around like their lives depend on it – so mistakes happen. Always. And everyone sees these mistakes, and accepts them as just part of the normal way business is done.

This has been going on since I started at this place several months ago. I’ve discussed project management with managers, executives and staff. They all tell me different things – but no one really knows what I’m talking about.

Turns out, the company (which has been around since the 1960s) has had most of the same staff since it began. And, this company has always done things the same way, forever. So, those working at the company don’t know any other way of doing anything. They think the “just drop everything and do it” approach is how all companies operate.
But many executives have supposedly come from other companies, where they do have sophisticated project management systems in place.

What’s there excuse?

I think I’ve figured it out – it’s their style.

Some people feel restricted under the riggers of good, solid project management. They know it is a necessary evil, because without it, the whole works falls apart.

But, when you go into a company where the majority of the worker-bees don’t know any better, you have an “a-ha” moment and realize that at very last, you can get away without letting on your knowledge about how to do things better. You can finally work under the style which you’ve always wanted to, even though you know it isn’t very effective.

A lot of very creative people hate being managed. But they know it is better to have some form of official management in place, to provide structured substance to the creative process. Without this process, things fall through the cracks, and you end up with burnt out employees, rushing around to get things done, producing shoddy projects, where everyone can see the mistakes.

I wonder what excuse two-weeks notice guy has to get out of this mess?

I’m highly creative, but I know the benefits – hell it is a necessity as far as I’m concerned” to have a formal project management structure in place. I’m looking to get out of this mess, so that I can breathe, and once again enjoy doing my work – without the heart attack never ending rush of priority one assignments.

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