What Jeff Likes this Week

It’s harder than you might thing to pinpoint what I like this week. I’m going to attribute that to the fact that the last seven days were brutal even in the face of my already pessimistic expectations. It’s tempting to say that the only thing I really like about the past week is the fact that it’s now over. That would be the easy answer. It would also have the benefit of being a statement of fact. It’s a happy coincidence when those two fall into line together.

Although it would be the easy and truthful answer, there’s something slightly more tangible that should come at the top of this week’s list – the fact that this past Monday saw the total number of people working in my office increase by 66%. That’s an impressive figure at first blush, though it loses some of its luster when you realize that even with those additional hands we’re still only staffed at 56% of the total number of people we had when I started working there.

Still, I’m glad to see two more bodies available to throw into the fight. It buys a little more breathing room. It means there might be a chance to actually be a little thoughtful and do a little analysis before recommending a course of action. It means there’s the ghost of a chance of doing more than hoping for the best from week after week of responding to situations with little more than knee jerk reactions.

So, if anyone asks, what Jeff likes this week is the simple fact that two people showed up. Now of course how long they stick around is another matter entirely. I’m happy enough leaving that for a different post at a different time.

Note: This is the 1st in a six-part series appearing on jeffreytharp.com by request.

A sign of life…

After another week of ponderous waiting, I was given another gentle reminder that this thing up north might actually work out. I got to spend a few minutes talking to a to individual who will act as my “sponsor” during the transition and in-processing period. It wasn’t exactly the call from HR that I have been waiting for, but it’s a sign of life. At this point on the long, torturous process I seem to be overly given to looking for signs and reading tea leaves. Absent the magic moment when they throw the switch from tentative to official, that is probably as good as it’s going to get. After nine months, you’d think that I would be use to waiting for things to happen.

The ability of the system to make the simple things hard is never far from my thoughts these days. Since this whole exercise involves filling out some paperwork and moving my electrons from one database to another, it’s still hard to understand how it could possibly take as long as it does. The irony is that once they pull the trigger, they’ll probably want to give me a short reporting date and wonder why I can’t get out of here with a whole two weeks notice. I’ve been around this Army long enough to know better than spend a dime making preparations without a set of orders in hand. So, I hurry up and wait.

Day 75…

We are now at day 75 of the thirty-day hiring freeze. Surely we’ve attritted off some of those overhires by now, right? Seriously, we even have a budget for the rest of the fiscal year now. So, come on already Overlord of Personnel. Let’s get the hiring process thawed out.

I haven’t racked and stacked my list lately, but the total number of resumes released into the wild stands at 335. I’d estimate that about a third of those are still in the “open” category. Probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 are sitting on the desk of a real human being. I’ve had two interviews for positions that are “frozen” and have another one coming up later this week. I didn’t particularly want to go outside of DoD, but they’re making it very hard to show the love right about now… so Treasury, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Coast Guard, FEMA, and a host of others are being fed into the mix as of about two weeks ago.

My search grid now extends from Philadelphia down to Richmond and from the Shenandoah Valley east to Norfolk. Like Grant contemplating a similar piece of real estate, “I propose to fight it out on this line if it takes all summer.”

Such is the ferocity of my desire to catch the last train out of Crazyville.