I spent most of my productive time today working on details of two separate events. I use the word “events” here purposefully instead of “projects.” It’s intentional, because these two items are absolutely events – occasions if you will. So, break out the floral arrangements and reserve your best rented tux, because it’s dog and pony season.
The first, a three-day series of informational briefings to contractors about how we plan on spending our cut of the defense budget over the next two years, is, as ever, the bane of my existence. This will be my 9th year though this particular wicket. For a while I had a series of supervisors who’d always promise that “next year we’ll get someone else on this.” Nine years on, my various supervisors don’t even bother saying the words. Death, resignation, or retirement seem to be the only path away from this particular bit of fuckery.
The other, decidedly less labor intensive event, is what amounts to an overgrown trade show hosted in northern Alabama every spring. Laying out who should attend, if we want to nominate some special bit of equipment or process for a demonstration, and reminding everyone to get their hotel rooms booked early or they’ll be staying in 50 miles away from the conference center is the regular drumbeat of my life in January and February.
I’ve said it before, and it bears repeating, that none of this is especially hard work. Like most of my projects, I’m more a facilitator than a doer. I try to make sure the right people have the right conversations and nudge them back into alignment when they wander too far afield. None of it is hard, but every bit of it is a time consuming pain in the ass.
Almost every day, I ponder what one must be thinking to decide that I am the one who should be draped in the glory of planning conferences, events, and all manner of dog and pony related activities. My well-noted misanthropic opinions alone should make me uniquely unsuited for any assignment in which the goal is to engage and entertain large groups of people. But here we are. Again.
I’ll do it. Everything will exceed the baseline standard of “good enough.” If, however, you think I won’t bitch and complain about the process, the attendees, the inability of our own bosses to get documentation approved on time, and my general disdain for in person boondoggles and the utterly unnecessary logistics tail that accompanies them, you must not know me at all.