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Friday, September 19, 2003

It's not right that I should still be complaining about the same thing I started the week complaining about. Not right and not fair, to me or to you. But here we are, with all the goodness wrung out of my Friday, all the sweetness sucked dry leaving nothing but a bitter aftertaste.

Well, it was almost that bad.

I thought Boss and his truculent son Tim had given up on the Big Project after they were so overwhelmed at the City presentation this week. But no such good sense managed to ooze its way through the cracks.

They (meaning "we") still have the Board presentation next week. While the City is an interested party, the Board makes the actual decision. This has let a faint ray of hope shine into the darkness, but why must it shine directly into my eyes?

My problem today wasn't that this pipe dream is still alive. It was the way I was caught between the two of them. The Boss knows how to write a business letter, and he knows that I'll take his words and make them acceptable. Tim, on the entirely other hand, can talk but not write. He wouldn't know a complete sentence if it bit him in the predicate, and he doesn't quite understand why it's important.

So I spent my whole day reworking the same letter (to the City) in different versions. I got endless emails from Tim and a furious flow of faxes from the Boss, and each one thought his version was superior, to the point that they were both explaining to me, in separate phone conversations, what was wrong with the other's thinking.

In this kind of situation I usually side with the Boss, who is after all the boss, but this project is Tim's baby and the Boss would like to see Tim succeed (or, more likely, fail) on his own. But neither of us wants the company name at the top of a jumbled mess of sentence fragments and comma splices, so I had to try to please both.

I tried to get them to talk to each other before sending me yet another version of the letter, and they did. And then after that I still got two different versions. This went on all day long. I kept hearing, "This is the last version, I promise," but that was a lie every time but the last time, which was much too late on a Friday afternoon to suit me.

At one point the Boss asked me to let him know if he pushed me too hard. I don't know where that question came from, but I assured him that I was prepared to do whatever he needed me to do. I'm sure he was sincere, but he doesn't suffer wimps gladly. If I'd told him to back off, he would have lost any respect he had for me. If I told him how I really felt, I'd be polishing my résumé over the weekend.

I still don't know, late tonight, if we have a version of this letter that's acceptable to everyone. I know that neither of them is happy with whatever role the other played in drafting the letter. I kept changing one word back and forth ("our" to "one") all day long, depending on whose instructions I had last. I'm not even sure which word we ended up with, or if they'll be bugging me all day Saturday to keep polishing it. I know Tim is leaving for Southern California again Sunday, so he'll probably leave me alone after that. It's nice to think so anyway.

16 September 2003

Sun sinking in the west.

As I said, it's not right that I should still be making the same complaints I started making Monday. I do know that I'll be sleeping late tomorrow, with the phone turned off. That doesn't mean I won't have a pile of papers sitting in the fax tray if and when I do get up, though. I won't be sure it's over until we have official word we're out of the running on this project. That could come as soon as Tuesday, but with my luck it'll drag out another six months.

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The worst thing to come out of all this was my own reaction to it. I didn't cope very well, and I took comfort in the usual place. Cheez-Its, Teddy Grahams and Mother's Checkerboard Wafers. At least it didn't get so bad that I resorted to Little Chocolate Donuts, but I still felt queasy for a long time.

Recent recommendations can always be found on the links page.

One year ago: Lighten Up
"When it's put that way, it makes me envious of ... well, myself, actually, if that's possible."

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