Inevitable…

The inevitable happened today. Somewhere at echelons higher than reality someone decided that there was a TPS Report that just couldn’t wait until after the holidays – that out there in the far reaches of our vast bureaucratic quagmire, some vital piece of information sure to bring democracy, peace, and justice to a troubled world was just laying around waiting to be reported upwards. Rank and high station may have their privileges, but getting dosed heavily by common sense isn’t among them.

What really happened today was a request for information was generated high in the stratosphere, it was typed into the computer and then passed to me “for action.” I immediately rolled my eyes, which is something I spend an inordinate amount of time doing if I can be perfectly honest. I then in turn typed my own message passing the requirement for this very important information down to the next level. When they receive it, someone will roll their eyes and ask what the fuck I’m smoking and then they will write up their own email and send it ever further down the line. Eventually it will reach the desk of some individual who knows at least some of the answer, they’ll write up a response, and then the whole great process gets thrown into reverse – with each level seeking out its own approvals, making a few changes, and then sending it upwards before an answer returns to my desk where I’ll realize that the answer-by-committee bears no resemblance to the question I asked originally. Because time has expired on the clock, that factoid won’t stop me from rolling my eyes and passing it on back up the chain.

It’s a clunky, archaic process at the best of times. Let me just say for the record, sending something out two days before Christmas and expecting a response immediately after the new year is not, by anyone’s definition, the best of times. What it is, however, is a recipe for a systemic failure at almost every level. It’s the operative definition of setting yourself up for failure.

But this is the season of yuletide, when a long dead saint rises up from his frozen tomb and alights onto his sleigh driven by eight super-natural reindeer to distribute toys constructed by enslaved elves to the world’s children. It’s the season of miracles like that… so if you just believe hard enough, maybe anything really is possible.

You were warned…

Given a sufficient amount of planning time, support from key personnel, funding, and leadership with some passable facsimile of vision, just about anything is possible. With a long enough lever you can move the world. By contrast if you want to operate on a shoestring, fail to assign sufficient people to do the work, and do it all without any clear idea of how you want things to turn out, all signs point towards presiding over a cluster fuck of notable proportions. I resist the notion of “historic” proportions only because in a hundred years, there won’t be one living soul who will give a good damn what jackassery was caused here today.

Most of us never bother to learn to see past the edge of what we can reach with outstretched hands. I like to think, in some small way I manage to see more clearly than others from time to time – though certainly not always. Still, I know the difference between a rush job when the situation calls for one and a rush job when it’s what we’re doing because someone forgot to think more than thirty five minutes in advance.

I’ve got 40 hours in any given week – minus mandatory training, holidays, the occasional sick day, and whatever other priority efforts my time and attention is directed towards on any given day. I’ll do everything I can for you in the amount of time allotted, but I damned well can’t miracle something into existence by force of will or personality. I’ve tried and since my job description isn’t currently Powerball Jackpot Winner, it’s safe to assume miracles lie beyond my purview…. But like the saying goes, if you want it bad, you’ll get bad.

Don’t say you weren’t warned.