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Friday, June 21, 2013

My Job

I wrote this about my job at a previous company a few years ago...

I don't think this is a revelation to anyone, but I'm a project manager for an equipment supply company. Sometimes when people ask what I do, and I tell them, they say that it sounds like a hard job, or complicated, or important. And it isn't. It really really isn't.

My job here at my present company. . . Brand X. . . can be (as explained to a curious friend earlier) summarized as professional bullshitter and buckpasser.

Remember in "Office Space" where the two Bobs are interviewing the older man, Tom Smykowski about what he does for Initech? (and I'm not THAT big a dork, i'm pulling the blank pieces of my memory back with the help of IMDB) He says, "Well-well look. I already told you: I deal with the god damn customers so the engineers don't have to. I have people skills; I am good at dealing with people. Can't you understand that? What the hell is wrong with you people?" That's me, sans pot-belly, male pattern baldness, and persecution complex. (maybe a little persecution complex)

I can't pull the rest of the quote, but from Tom Smykowski's description it becomes apparent that he takes the specifications from the customer and delivers them to the engineer, then when the engineer is done, he takes them back from the engineer to the customer. . . you know, because of his people skills. That's what I do. I'm the bottle-neck in the system. I take the information and pass it along to the people who actually know what to do with it, then once they're done, take the information back to the customer.

Sound complicated? Then you weren't listening. I don't fucking do ANYthing. Not REALLY.

Do you know anything about baseball? You know the cut-off man? Long fly ball hit to deep left center. . . man running from second. . . center fielder can't make the throw to home, so he throws to the cut-off man, who in turn throws the ball home. Well in the big leagues that makes sense, because the ballpark is immense. . . but in little league?? Not so much. I had a great arm in little league. I could basically hit anyone on the field from anywhere on the field. I'm not saying that to brag, there were lots of kids like me. But they TEACH you to hit the cut-off man in little league. So essentially a bunch of kids that can't reliably throw or catch add an unnecessary step of an additional throw-and-catch in an effort to get someone out. I am the superfluous little league cut-off man. Throwing the ball to me instead of to home means one more throw and catch in order to get the runner out. It introduces the possibility of another error.

To stretch it out one more mediocre analogy. . . i'm one more kid in the "grapevine" game, where kid one whispers the message in kid two's ear and so on until the last kid announces the message as he understood it and sees if it's the same as the one that kid one whispered in kid two's ear. The message is never right.

I CAN do the job a project manager is supposed to do. And it CAN be complicated. It CAN be important. But that level of important complexity is not what Brand X requires of me.

So if you wonder what an 'important' project manager such as myself is doing here on Facebook, blogging, tweeting, etc . . I'm working. At least in the capacity that Brand X requires of me.