1. The closest gator. It’s just human nature to try killing the alligator that’s closest to your boat. Just by virtue of its proximity it’s the one that should pose the most danger. Most of the time your natural assumption is probably right. Every now and then, though, that gator that just happens to be closest is just swimming past… and while you’re focused on him the big, ugly sonofabitch swimming up behind you is the one that’s going to take a bite out of your ass.
2. Not being elsewhere. It’s a rare day when I don’t want to be home above all other places. Just this once, though, I wish circumstances would have allowed a bit of leeway so I could have found myself, for a few hours, in Rock Island, Illinois. Today was a live demonstration that that a certain big government agency can manage not to trip all over itself in pursuit of elevating someone eminently qualified into the ranks of senior leadership. I just wish I could have seen that shit in person, you know, just to prove in front of my own two little eyes that such a thing is actually possible.
3. Bordering on exhaustion. It’s not lack of sleep. Thank God my brain disengages as soon as I turn the lights off and lets me drift off to sleep on demand. The problem comes in those 19 intervening hours, when it’s busy jumping from point to point. I usually have a pretty good capacity for leaving the work over on the other side of the river, but for these past few weeks and another few to come, it seems to be following me. Even when I’m not thinking about it, a few ideas are churning in the back of my mind. It’s probably a necessary evil for the time being, but lord it’s wearing my ass out.
I usually give WAJTW over to three short, unrelated snippets of stupid that I’ve encountered during the week. From time to time, though, a single issue is of such magnitude that I feel it’s worthy of undivided attention. This week is one of those occasions.
For the last two months, we’ve been hearing around the office all manner of things about a “climate survey” conducted earlier this summer. Most of the time these surveys come and go without much notice. I don’t know exactly what the responses were in this most recent round of questioning, but I can only surmise that the results were beyond bad. It’s the first time in almost 13 years that I’ve ever seen an organization actually do something in response to their survey.
I should draw a line of distinction here between doing “something” and doing the right thing. So far, my little slice of the organization has been talked through the survey results on five separate occasions. We’ve now had two sessions with different groups allegedly to discuss what our perceptions of the problems are. Today marked (I think) the 8th time that we dedicated at least an hour or more of the work day to this topic. You’d think by now there would be more than a passing awareness at echelons higher than reality of what the issues are, who’s responsible, and the effects it’s having across the workforce.
What I’ve seen so far is that we’re spending a hell of a lot of time talking about things. What I haven’t seen is anyone actually doing something with the mountain of information they’ve already been given. I’ve been around long enough to know that the game plan probably involves talking about it for so long that people forget there’s actually a problem… Which in all likelihood makes much of the last two months a very large effort to check off the “we hear your concerns and are doing something about it” box.
On that score the powers that be are right. They’ve done just enough to demonstrate initiative, but not nearly enough to make a damned bit of difference… and thus does the great green machine go rolling along.