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Aaron N. Tubbs

Dragon chaser.

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So there is this project that blew up in our faces that we’ve been scrambling to accomodate. While the specifics aren’t important, it’s related to my chat about desk developers. In any event, I ended up behind the eight ball on this one in the first place because my management was out of the office on an emergency, and while my management knew this was coming, the ball was dropped, and I only found out after the fact. It was the desk developer’s fault that the appropriate folks weren’t in the loop, but things probably wouldn’t have been so dire had fate not stepped in. Emergencies happen; I do not begrudge any of that, but the downside is that any efforts I was making were already two months late. Even if I spin this in record time, it just looks like I’m ten weeks late, and I step on a lot of toes and pull a lot of favors getting that pulled off.

In any event, another emergency came up for my management, and I understand that; they’re really getting nailed with the bad luck stick, and going through a lot of miserable stuff. One of the things mentioned is that before they left, they would send out a communication that we have the situation in hand, and are working as fast as possible to get things done, but a policy would be sent out at the same time that this sort of thing can’t happen again, support needs to be in the loop from the start, and so forth. In other words, a cover-your-ass document that makes it so we’re not the “bad guys” in the future if we don’t get the information ahead of time. It also serves to re-enforce that we really weren’t the “bad guys” this time either. To a certain extent, this goes back to my bonus culture discussion, in that this nasty blame game develops since nobody wants to be accused of holding up progress when their compensation is directly tied to their “measurable performance.” Instead, an email went out dictating that I had everything under control and that we were ready to roll, without the appropriate scolding in place, which is probably still three days out. Bother.

I think my point at the end of that day is that if one is going to commit to doing something that’s going to have a direct impact on their employees, they should get it done. I don’t have a problem with handling bad situations; I have a problem with being told one thing to have another done. If I’m given full control and told to run with a bad situation, I can make things better.

It’s like this: If I’m thrown into a lion pit, and told a rope ladder will be dropped to help me climb out before it gets too nasty, I’m in good shape. If I’m thrown into a lion pit, and told “good luck,” I’m in good shape, because I know I need to find a way out, find a way to survive while I’m still there, and plan a way to make sure I’m never in a lion pit again. If I’m thrown into a lion pit, told a rope ladder will be thrown in before it gets too nasty, and then a four-inch piece of twine is tossed into the ring, smothered in lion pheromones, it makes me ornery. It’s all about expectations (I suppose this is fitting, since probabilistic expectation caught me off guard yesterday), but the end result is I need to remember that, as a subordinate, the only way I’m going to survive is to always assume I’m alone in the lion pit.