Tuesday, August 18, 2009


I know my previous posts about my new job have been just short of gushing, making it seem as though I've found the most awesome job in the world, so I thought I'd make a post about how it does frustrate me sometimes.

The "president" of the company ... (Tangent: In such a small company, traditional corporate titles become ridiculous, being both ostentatious and not descriptive enough. Our president is a figurehead for the company, but he also is the sales department slash account representative slash the guy who smooths things over when shit goes wrong.) ... where was I?

Anyway, the president and I have very frustrating miscommunications sometimes. The miscommunications sometime come in the form of novel-length email strings or whole days of walking back and forth between each other's office looking confused. This is a result of us being two distinctly different types of people. In the time-honored tradition of reducing a complex society into an oversimplified dichotomy, he is a Talker and I am a Doer. (This is not to be confused with the Thinker vs Doer generalization.)

Talkers react to issues that would best be solved by discussion and negotiation and schmoozing and other human interaction. Doers react to issues that would best be solved by planning and organizing and completing tasks. This is not to say that Talkers don't do anything, and that Doers don't talk. It's just that each group doesn't see what the other does as necessary to resolving an issue. They often can't see or don't understand the issues that the other can.

For instance, the president spends his day wheeling and dealing, and he finally pulls in an account. The talk is over, so to him the deal is done. The only thing that's left is that pesky problem of delivering on the promises he made during his speal. He doesn't care if what he promises is reasonable, feasible, or even doable. It's not an issue to him; he just talks until the deal is closed.

Enter me. I've got to make what he said we could do a reality. I need to take the client's specifications, and the extras he said we would do for them, and figure out a way to execute them. Whether or not he promised something we can't do or that can't be done is not an issue to me. It was just talk.

Obviously, this is where we don't see eye to eye.

When he closes a deal, he'll send me reams of email strings that criss-cross, overlap, back-track, and repeat themselves, as well specification documents that the client created and negotiation documents that he and the client made together. It takes me literally hours to sort through all this crap to find out what it is I'm supposed to do. There's stuff in there like, "Hey, it was good seeing you at the convention! Are you going to the next one?", "The next time you're in town, I know a great steak place to eat.", and "You have a great weekend with your daughter!" It's all mixed in with relevant details about the deal, which also might be mixed in with relevant details about other simultaneous deals. Writing code and entering information in to a database is easy. Parsing through this bullshit is one of more difficult parts of my job. It get's a little frustrating.

Similarly though, when he asks me for a status update on a project so that he can impress, reassure, or otherwise talk at his clients, I give him a list of what I've completed, what I am working on, and what I have left to do. He often gets flustered and asks, "Yeah, but is it done yet? What do I tell the client?" I'm trying to do something, and all he cares about is what he'll say.

So, there you have it. In summary, my job's not perfect, the world is full of confusion, and this post is done.

1 comment:

  1. no job is ever perfect. even a dream job will have rough days or minor issues. what matters is if you enjoy/love your job. i do.


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