Management lessons on the fly

How is it only Wednesday? How?!?!

It’s been a good week. Markedly improved over last. I’m more focused, although I HAVE to be. Deadlines and such, y’know?

I think I have two very strong candidates for the two open positions for which I’m hiring. One’s going to bring a few sticky problems with getting a work visa. And I know unemployment blows in this country, and believe me, it hurts my heart that the talent pool is about fingertip-deep. But I have such specialized needs that I can’t just hire any idiot and hope for the best. We’ve tried that already. Which is why we’re trying another way!

The problem is, I had some really good interviews. And those people are stalking me. And I would have taken a chance on any of them in a heartbeat. But I also don’t have the final say. So, in a decision-by-committee situation, I’ve gone the route of believing in Santa Claus. I have three requirements for these positions. And the two “winners” (can I call the race so soon?) let me believe in Santa, the Tooth Fairy AND the Easter Bunny.

What’s funny about the whole hiring process is the wide array of applicants. I have everything from fresh-out-of-college kids asking for six figures, to laid-off vice presidents at the (formerly) Big Banks who are STALKING me and only asking for $30K/year.

And don’t get me wrong — the JPMorgan guy and the Morgan Stanley dude would do JUST fine with little training. But … they’d also hit the bricks the moment the economy turns around.

I kind of hate having people’s fate in my hands like that. I don’t want them to think I’m violating any EEOC rules and not considering them because of their, ah, extensive experience. I just know not to waste my time (or, too much of it, as some of these stalkers are trying to bully me into interviewing them. Which is a tactic I’ve used myself. Successfully, at that. Surprisingly enough).

But what said stalkers must understand is that I’m wearing several capes right now, and having extraneous conversations goes to the bottom of the to-do list that’s about as long as a James Michener novel. And if my inability to call you right back at your convenience offends you, just WAIT till you get a dose of the CrankyPants on the phone!

But I’ve been there. God, I’ve been there. And a LOT of people wasted MY time, too. Between impossible editing tests and six rounds of interviews that didn’t so much as garner me a courtesy call to say they hired someone else, I know. Between living hand-to-mouth and not having next month’s rent or, hell, that week’s electric bill, I know. Not having a single soul to rely on if I get kicked out on the streets .. trust me, I KNOW.

I am looking forward to the “Glenda the Good Witch” moment when I can make two offers. Because this is my chance to build my team with MY people. I inherited a gaggle of great people, overall. Quirky as fuck, most of them, but in a generally lovable way. And at a time when the houseguest is like a bad employee who keeps getting fired but keeps showing up (and getting paid for nothing), and at a time when I’d go crazy if I actually TRIED to attack my whole to-do list, bringing in people who worship the very ground I fall on will be a nice change of pace.

Florida has been good for me. As I interviewed someone today who has had a very abbreviated version of my career path, I was proud to say that the person she met briefly a few years back is different now. Sure, I CAN work 14 hours a day again. And some times, I will have to. But I’ve found a bit of a balance that I never would have dreamed of allowing myself back in D.C. I HAD to overachieve. I HAD to haul ass. I was green in my field and I was hell-bent on learning everything I could. Now I can kind of chill. I know my shit. No one can pull the knowledge out of my head, or the experience out of my pocket. It is worth waiting for. I promise!

What I loved about my interviewees is that they’re still hungry. You get a lot of laid-back people in Florida. They don’t have the drive that we did in the Big City. We dress differently at the beach. We move a little more slowly. We know we deserve sunshine and time to enjoy our nice weather. We know things will get done and everything will be all right.

Or maybe the rest of the world was always like that, but I’ve only just now discovered how much BETTER life can be if only you choose to live it and not put it on hold indefinitely.

But, I still have some of my city-inspired expectations. Like, the lack of hunger for more responsibility, or to impress one’s elders, frustrates the FUCK out of me.

I was thinking about one in particular today — “toying” with the thought, if you will — how at that age/position/experience I would have been crafting projects for myself to impress my superiors — to get them to notice me. Hell, to ensure that I would still have a job the next day.

I appreciate when people ask how they can help, but when I’m changing from my Wonder Woman cape to my Bat Girl getup, I need people to play nice by themselves.

And I would CERTAINLY make the time to read a well-thought-out marketing plan on how to revamp the Web sites or how to monetize social media (and thus to make the case for utilizing it), if anyone thought TAKING THE INITIATIVE to hand me one might be a good idea.

Don’t get me wrong — I like lazy time. I believe that downtime is a great creativity enhancer. But if you’re gonna show up at work, grab a spare cape and figure out how to fly, because THAT is where I’m going to see you and think about taking you with me on the journey!

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