So let’s say you’re the boss. You’re going to be out of the office for a few days and you have to pick between your underlings to tag someone to be the “responsible adult” in your absence. There are any number of ways you can go about making the selection – by seniority, but lack of seniority, by drawing lots, or even by throwing a dart at a list of names. All are sort of a pot luck approach to section that all but guarantees someone who doesn’t want to be in charge ends up, albeit temporarily, making the decisions.
If I can offer up a pro tip to those of you who ever find yourself needing to designate your own temporary replacement, the guy not to pick is the one who has been eyeball deep on a single project for the last three weeks and who has no earthly idea what anyone else is doing, what their project status is, or really anything beyond how many emails have piled into their inbox since the last time they were at their desk. When you do that, all you’re really going to accomplish is to leave everyone even more confused than when they started the day.
Sometimes the vagaries of staffing and coverage mean you can’t avoid the unprepared leading the unwilling towards the unforeseen, but it’s not going to be what you might call a best practice. If history has taught me nothing it’s that I’ll gladly make decisions regardless of how ill-informed I happen to be on the subject. As always, in the absence of clear guidance, I will create my own… and that course of action has nothing if not a truly mixed bag of results.