Bad indian

I keep finding notes to myself that I wrote when I was supervising the Incoherent Twit from hell. You know, there are more days than not that I miss being in management — I think I did OK with teambuilding and getting folks out of the office for one-on-one, not-just-a-cog-in-wheel time. But other days, we remember the ones who gave us all our hard knocks … at once.

Written circa late 2001:

Give honest, ongoing, consistent feedback about their skill sets. Figure out how their ambitions can possibly be integrated into the department’s overall function/mission to keep them engaged.

Dude, she’s got to be good at SOMETHING other than going AWOL or simply existing to annoy the shit out of me. She knows which buttons to press with me but I need to counter that with buttons to press with her that will make her productive. Clearly she’s not interested in what she was hired for — that’s fine because she is terrible at it and I’ve spent half a year cleaning up her messes and trying to show the superiors what I really do with my time.

I asked her what she wants to do. Write. Network with the community leaders. Build up a good clipfile. OK, so on top of my 16-hour-a-day job, now I am going to have to help her to bring her writing ability up to the third-grade level and ALSO take her along to my meetings with potential donors (who are CEOs and VPs in the community!) where she will promptly talk about her boyfriend in jail and the bathing suit she bought at ON WORK TIME?!?! Good lord, give me something to work with here!

Don’t try to change the way you work; you will fail.

Then again, I’m failing already — if I can’t fire the problem child based on bloodline (despite a well-documented file of behavioral issues), my only adjustment is to work more hours. Yeah, that’s a GREAT solution. Almost as good as trying to help others to change the way THEY work.

Ask people up-front what we need to know about their strengths, values, etc.

I like that — I wish someone would ask ME. I need help, but when I ask for it I’m told to use the people I have at my disposal, when I wouldn’t trust my main person to carry my trash to the curb. My values are to have a strong team, a respectful one — one that wants to pitch in and do well — we might get praised individually, but we sure as hell fail together.

What are my values, though? Think about this one. Because I have a funny feeling that I’m continually going against them. At least, that would explain the rock in my stomach all the time.

Recognize that there are chiefs and Indians; it’s OK to not be in command.

I liken that to there being visionaries and cleanup crews. I like being a visionary; I just wouldn’t pay even immigrant labor rates to most of my Indians. My vision is constantly blurred by my exhaustion from being my own best Indian sometimes.

I love finding this stuff. Because I moved on from that job and had the dream staff. And now I’m back to being an Indian. (I have such a strange career path!) I think my life might have taken me back down this path again so that I can become an even greater chief someday — one that actually has the power to choose who stays on the reservation and who gets voted off.

I already have the name of my management book that I want to write — someday I guess I have to string all these crazy meanderings together and make it happen.

I wonder whatever happened to the idiot I wrote about. I would rather hammer my own toes than give her a good reference. Last I heard, she quit that job to go on welfare because she was tired of working. Proof positive that I ain’t makin’ any of this shit up!

2 Responses to Bad indian

  1. Valbee :

    Every time I read some of the stuff you’ve found that you wrote a while back, it makes me wish I’d have known about your blog when you were at your last job. As entertaining as your posts are when you’re not writing about topics that probably every working person can relate to, I can only imagine what those old posts contained. 🙂 But I also gather that the after effects were a tough time for you and there’s no way I’d want to make you relive all that. I was just saying… I wish I’d been here then.

    So, I’ll be content to read your descriptions of the people you encounter now… such as the nail salon patrons… and the Wendy’s employees… all people that the rest of us bump into as well. If only we could all write about them so well. 🙂

  2. Caterwauling :

    […] I never dreamed the day would come when I’d find someone who made Incoherent Twit (click here for a tip-of-the-iceberg explanation) look like a genius. […]