Wednesday, May 06, 2009

A Humorous Work-Related, Hive-Memory

I've written maybe 5 entries specifically about work, which is kind of mind-boggling when I think about how many hours I've actually spent at work. Because so many.

So, for no reason other than my current "I should blog more, maybe with shorter posts" jag (and by "jag" I mean this is post #2) (woo), I just thought I'd share this one moment I had at work that still makes me laugh. But also maybe I'm just weird and it's not funny to anyone else. In which case, I apologize and will think twice before using the term "jag" again.

Right, then.

A long time ago, I worked for a boutique consulting firm. Every project was assigned a Senior Consultant and a Project Coordinator. In some cases, a project would be big enough to warrant more than one consultant, even though there'd still be only one Project Coordinator.

(Isn't this so fascinating?)

Once I'd been at the company a few months, I was assigned to my first real client. I, as competent rookie, was put on a ginormous project (a series of projects, really) involving a multi-million dollar Chinese holding company. The project directly involved the company CEO -- a billionaire himself, I learned, yes, billionaire, with a "b" -- and his senior strategic staff. Big, scary stuff.

(Even as I write this, a hive has formed on my chin. I'm not even kidding. That's what happens when I feel acute stress. And you can bet that I was a hivey wreck throughout that first project. If I can conjure memory-hives ten years later from the safety of my livingroom in Napa, you can imagine what kind of shape I was in by the end of that project.)

So okay. You have this major project and me as a first-time lone Project Coordinator. That sets the stage.

Next, add that our project team included a non-senior-level consultant. In fact, Marie was the only non-senior-level consultant on any project, because she was the only non-senior-level consultant in the company. They'd promoted her from the position of Project Coordinator for the first time in the company's history.

So sure, if you want to look on the one hand, the two of us were kind of hot-shots.

On the other hand, OH HEY. Kind of neither of us knows what the hell we're doing!

The project progressed okay for the most part, but the week before the first major client meeting, it was not smooth sailing. The weekend before the huge Monday meeting, Marie and I had to come into the office to get a lot more stuff done.

And this is what made me laugh, and love Marie, and think, Ah-ha! So THAT is what professionalism looks like when everything is falling apart!

I got into the office on Saturday morning and Marie was already there. She was at her desk in her office. She was focused, calm, and typing away at her computer.

Her mouse, however, was on the floor. Of the hallway. Outside her office door.

I approached her with trepidation.

"Is um? Hi? Is everything okay?" I asked.

"Yep, just working on my stuff," she replied.

"Is ah...your mouse--?"

"It was annoying me," she said, in a perfectly measured tone of voice, and she offered no further explanation.

Still, I found it gratifying. She wass clearly as stressed out as I was, she just expressed it by throwing her mouse into the hallway and continuing with her day.

And I think there's a lesson in there for all of us.

Do I know what that lesson is? No. But I DO know that coming upon your completely cool, calm, and collected colleague who's hurtled a piece of office equipment out of her office and into the hallway is damned funny, lesson or no.

12 comments:

  1. An alarm clock is a necessity in every household to keep us on time with our daily activities especially if you're always on the go.

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  2. That's pretty much the greatest thing I've ever heard.

    Also, I'm still recovering from the trauma of my last job - I can totally relate to getting hives!

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  3. that is hilarious and I may need to try throwing some piece of office equipment out my office door the next time I feel I am in over my head at work. Like, maybe tomorrow.

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  4. Picking up a mouse thrown into the hallway is better than having to scrape a colleague off the ceiling.

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  5. OMG you just time-traveled me back to 1998, in the heady dotcom days when I worked at what was to become one of the largest internet consultancies (and also the largest supernova when it bombed 3 years later.) There we were, a newly minted project team, collecting gobs of cash from a starry eyed client, trying to make this dysfunctional little family work. Our project manager was a stress puppy, prone to similar outbursts as your colleague to express his demons. One day I reported for duty in our happy little PMO, only to find the remains of a laptop on the table, shards of LCD glass everywhere, all dusted with laser jet ink he's sprinkled on top. Like a vampire banquet, only for IT types. We all cracked up, had a proper burial as a team, and went out for drinks at 11 a.m. Believe it or not, that was a bonding experience back in the day! I just got hives recalling this particular project! Thanks, Kristi!!!!

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  6. Lesson: When life gets you frazzled; throw shit.

    It does seem to make things better for me!

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  7. So, here's another story combining work, stress, and Chinese clients.

    A friend of mine sells advertising space to restaurants and other hospitality-type business. In this tight economy, some restaurant managers are reluctant to talk to her, and have been known to break appointments, etc.

    As she arrives at a Chinese restaurant one day for her appointment with Mr. Hung, she sees an Asian man getting into a car in the parking lot. Concerned that her contact is leaving, she calls to him. Across the parking lot. To a man she has never met. In front of witnesses. And what does she holler? "Are you Hung?!?"

    Enough said.

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  8. :) so perhaps this is because i'm struggling myself after a tough week in the office, but i really thought you were describing a real mouse. then i wondered if it was dead and if she had thrown the mouse. the visual was interesting.. i'm okay now though. on the same page. ahem, back to reading and typing.

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  9. When i was in highschool - i used to crumple pieces of paper. and then uncrumple them and write lengthy notes on them.

    Throwing a mouse sounds SO MUCH BETTER.

    I feel ya on the hives - I get seriously bad rashes all over my legs and stomach when I get stressed -its a slice of foxy.

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  10. I'm a hive breaker too. It takes a lot for the break out but it takes 4 months for the hives to go away. Yay me.

    Hmm. What do I do when I get stressed? I tend to clean stuff. Not OCDish. Just stuff I never seem to notice until I'm stressed.

    But that's at home.

    I have a no stress policy at work. Really, my job is so sleepy my only stress is my loud colleague whom I'd like to punch sometimes.

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  11. Hi

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    ReplyDelete