In my agency, if you can open a PowerPoint presentation, change the master background, and really do anything more than straight bulleted text, you’re designated a PowerPoint Ranger and subject to 24-hour on call status for emergency slide making. Like today. When the boss realized an hour before a meeting that’s been on the schedule for six weeks that he hadn’t made any slides. Of course it’s not an official meeting if there are no slides, so slides we must have.
Here’s a snippet of conversation the followed the boss’ panicked rush to my desk:
A COLLEAGUE *sarcastically*: Did he just ask you for a batch of slides from the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, and our agency’s role in the invasion of Normandy?
ME: Pretty much, yes.
It’s PowerPoint. We’re not building nuclear-effing-weapons here (seriously, we’re not). Tell me, please, please tell me that I’m not the only person in the building who can consolidate 40 slides built for six different meetings over a period of 18 months into a 10 slide set, set them on a light blue background, add animation, embed video, and link documents that are available on our archive drive to open when you click the key word? Oh. Wait. Apparently I am.
I earned my undergraduate degree with honors. I made a 3.6 in my MBA program while working full time. I can’t tell you how glad to see six years of college education, ten years of professional experience and generous pay and benefits package being put to good use.
Editorial Note: This part of a continuing series of posts previously available on a now defunct website. They are appearing on http://www.jeffreytharp.com for the first time. This post has been time stamped to correspond to its original publication date.