What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. Overestimation. As much as I appreciate your belief that a good word from me is a powerful totem for overcoming organizational obstacles, I regretfully must inform you that you have profoundly overestimated my ability to command change in a chaotic world. I appreciate your vote of confidence, but if my serving as the voice of reason is your last best hope, I think it’s best for all of us if you plan now on crushing disappointment. Rest assured that my pleas fall on the same deaf ears as yours.

2. New (old) routine. It took me exactly three days to fall into a new routine of doing whatever I wanted to do whenever I wanted to do it. Landing back in the office after almost a week of that kind of decadent behavior has proven to be a hard pill to swallow. Sure, it’s just the old routine back again, but after a brief hint of freedom I can’t help but resent the confining structure just a little bit more than usual. Fortunately it will only take a few weeks of grinding monotony to reset my expectations based on this new (old) routine.

3. Pollen. The weather these last two days has been ideal for top down driving. The airborne pollen that hits you like a physical wall, however, makes it prohibitively agonizing to avail myself of the opportunity. Sure, some people who are more strongly constituted or may just be willing to endure scratchy, bloodshot eyes and the inability to breath through their nose, are out there soaking up the sun. Me? Not so much. Real summer will be here soon-ish. Then I can really enjoy the ride. Sadly, though, I want to be topless now.


My voice has been heard calling out from the wilderness and I have been delivered! Unending thanks to an old friend who with the simple word “tomorrow” has granted a reprieve from two months of delaying tactics which others were too timid to protest. With that, I conclude my short career as an emergency manager. I still love the work, but find that continuing to work under a regime willing to exploit my talents while at the same time being told that I was not yet ready for greater authority was simply intolerable.

I’m just glad this version of deliverance doesn’t have a scary banjo-playing kid.

Wanting and Getting…

In life one of the hard lessons I’ve learned is that there’s a profound difference between wanting and getting. Wanting leaves open the window of great expectations where the actual getting has the hard finality of real world consequences. For most of my post-teaching professional career, the only thing on earth I wanted to do was run my own operations center and be at the center of the action. It’s a hell of a way to live and almost never a dull moment.

While I’ve held my own over the last year and even excelled at some points, what I have discovered is that my real talents don’t lie in running an operation. They lie in developing the grand strategies and seeing the big picture that the entire organization will follow. With my own frustration rising to a point that I haven’t seen since I was still teaching, I decided it was time for a change.

To make a long story shortish, I asked my boss if he would endorse a reassignment if I formally requested one. He offered training and a lot of other things to try to change my decision, but I think even he knows that if I’m talking about it openly, my mind is made up. So, yeah, I’m putting the wheels in motion for another change. If all goes well, I’ll still be here in Memphis, just down the hall from where I’m sitting now. Someone once told me that I seem happiest when I’m the calm center surrounded by mayhem and chaos. Maybe that’s true… and since nature has been letting me down in the mayhem and chaos department, perhaps I’ve decided to create my own.