Not Playing That Game Anymore!

Anecdote / Generic / None

Not Playing That Game Anymore!
David Winter , Consultant, United Kingdom

Sometimes the corporate machine works towards its own destruction. Frustrations abound and never in the history of project execution has the phrase 'Just grin and bank it' been more applicable. This is just the dialogue of a conversation that should never have happened.

Have you ever been worked up to such a level of enthusiasm over something, that you decided to work over the entire Easter Holiday weekend to produce that something and show it off proudly?
And the petty, stupid, self serving big company bureaucracy that wouldn’t let you into your workplace turned your attitude a full 180 degrees?
Well that’s happened to me. Once too often and now I’m finally going to get my book out there. Its been over 5 years in the making and now is the time. I can’t do anything about this (access to my workplace denied) in the real world, so its going to be a chapter in the book (How To Make Your Project Go Badly Wrong).
Don’t worry if you don’t quite follow me. All will be revealed and I hope you will join in by doing the same as me. Ripping to pieces the corporate world, not in a nasty way but just with the right amount of derision and scorn, and offering your own examples of Project or Corporate self Sabotage. There are many! You ‘know’ what I mean!
Anyway, the dialogue went a bit like this:
[Do-goody Dave] “Good morning. Well, this is a fine morning for coming in to work. To get lots done, even though its Saturday. Tomorrow too (Sunday) I’ll be here, and heck, why not, the next day (Bank Holiday Monday), I’ll be here then too. Three whole days of working in the office, when I could be having a holiday. All for the good of the Company and the Project. Because what I’m intending to do is really, really important. And By God… I feel, ‘so’ enthusiastic, I could punch the air and cry out ‘THIS, is the day I could move Mountains!’And Kick project work ASS! … So. Can I come in?”
[Satan, the Security Guard from Hell] “Whats your name?”
[Do-goody Dave] “David Winter. ‘Do-goody’ is just my nickname because I am SO good for the project. A willing hand. I go more than the mile. I give 110%. I under promise, over deliver. I am such a productive principled smart arse that it would make you sick to watch me work. Now, can I come in?”
[Satan, the Security Guard from Hell] “You’re not on the list.”
[Do-goody Dave] “Ha! Where I come from we ‘laugh’ at lists. Lists are for wimps and ‘girly’ girls. I should be on the list though, because I did all the right things to get approval yesterday. But even if I’m not, here’s my access badge, and my passport, and my certificate of not being a terrorist. So, I can come in, right?”
[Satan, the Security Guard from Hell] “No. You’re not on the list.”
[Do-goody Dave] “Hang on, now this is important, and I’m so enthusiastic, and I have a lot to do. This work is crucial. I need to get in here. This is a bit serious, and I don’t mind admitting that I’m getting a little ‘agitated’. Now, what’s it going to take for me to prove to you that I should be on that list?”
[Satan, the Security Guard from Hell] “Do you have the letter of approval?”
[Do-goody Dave] “Ah, good idea. No, I didn’t print it out. But I know it exists on my PC. So could you come with me to my office so I can start my PC, print it out then you can see I have the approval. Shall we go?”
[Satan, the Security Guard from Hell] “But you’re not on the list.”
[Do-goody Dave] “What??”
[Satan, the Security Guard from Hell] “I can’t let you in if you’re not on the list.”
[Do-goody Dave] “But I should be on the list. Haven’t we established that (Moron)?”
[Satan, the Security Guard from Hell] “I’m just doing my job, and if you’re not on the list I can’t let you in. I have to man the reception here and I can’t just go around escorting lots of people all over the company watching them turn computers on.”
[Do-goody Dave] “There’s TWO of you. Its your [expletive deleted] JOB! You come with me and he stays here. Simple (like your brain cell). My office is on the 4th floor, takes a minute and a half to get to, another two and a half minutes to turn on the PC and print out the proof. Lets [expletive deleted] GO.”
[Satan, the Security Guard from Hell] “But you’re not on the list.”
[Do-goody Dave] “My Good God man. If I don’t get in to do my work the project will FAIL, can you understand that. I come here EVERY DAY. You see me EVERY DAY. I am not a criminal or a terrorist or a beater of women. I am a nice guy who just wants to get in to my office to work. For the good of the Project. Now PLEASE, use your commercial/professional discretion.”
[Satan, the Security Guard from Hell] “Well, let me make a phone call [rrrrring rrrrrring.. bit of chatter, phone down].”
[Do-goody Dave] “Well?”
[Satan, the Security Guard from Hell] “Sorry, I can’t let you in. You’re not on the list … ”
[Do-goody Dave] “[many, many, many terrible, unprintable expletives deleted]”
Now, I can’t describe … the feelings I had at that time, other than to say … its a bit like sex, when you get to that point of no return, when the ‘mood’ overwhelms you. All I wanted to do at that point was to pick up a chair and hurl it through the glass partition of the security desk. I wanted to break everything I could see, into small crushed pieces and keep on breaking things until my fingers bled and I could see no life around me. Anywhere. I thought at that point that maybe that is what in fact a dangerous criminal, or a Scottish person, feels like all the time.
Interesting to think that maybe there is indeed a dangerous criminal deep inside me that’s just waiting to emerge. And I wondered if maybe there are other wild spirits on the project that aren’t quite as tolerant as me.
Interesting indeed. So that’s it. The incident that compelled me to dust off my book and turn it into a blog. I worked those three days on the blog instead of what I was going to do for the project. And it felt so good to get this in print that I’m welcoming submissions of stories from others, as I am sure I’m not the only one incenced from time to time by project stupidity.
So, as you’re reading through the various pages of my blog site (I hope you will have a quick browse), feel free to leave your appropriate comment, or contact me. Confidentiality assured if you want. Feel free to register on this site under a pseudonym. That’s allowed.
The world would love to hear from you.

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