January 13, 2018

So yesterday I get a phone call while I’m on my, like, sixth web ex meeting in five hours. I didn’t recognize the area code so I punched the button to reject the call. Nothing unusual there, happens all the time.

I’m on the web ex and see an e-mail come across. It’s from the CEO of our company. Not an area VP. Not an executive VP. Not even a senior VP. [Heck, I’ve talked with each of those roles multiple times over the past few weeks. It used to freak me out, now I just take them as if some fellow lowly PM living in some sh*thole (thanks President Trump! :-)) were calling me.]

This was an e-mail from CEO asking me to “follow up on his voice mail”. Like, the CEO. The top banana. The head honcho. The top dog. The big fella. Numero uno. And it’s not an e-mail to all employees with his tribute to Martin Luther King day or about our Q4 earnings. It’s an e-mail to me. Like, personally.

I waited until my web ex was over and gave him a call back.

He seemed pretty personable, said something to the effect that “you guys” (I’m thinking he wwas referring to the part of the services organization I work under, but who knows?) “…usually” (I picked up on that right away) “…do a great job with our clients…” and then began to pepper me with questions about what was going on down in Florida at “The-Client_Who-Shall-Remain-Nameless”. What could I say? I’m just a dumb project manager who six weeks ago few people in the company knew or even cared about. Now I’m on a call with the CEO.

Keep in mind here my company isn’t some crackerjack store down the block – we have 7,500 hundred employees worldwide. And while (I think) he’s kind of a hands-on kind of CEO used to rubbing elbows with major hospital and healthcare network CEOs and lobbyists in Washington, somehow, at around 1 PM EST I found myself on his call list.

I told him my version of what was happening down in Florida, no more no less. He didn’t ask me for my feelings about things, and I didn’t tell him anything beyond that. He asked me why the myriad of issues we’ve been working weren’t uncovered eight months ago. I didn’t have a good answer for him, but theen again it’s not my nature to throw other people under the bus. He didn’t seem very happy with what I told him, but he did thank me for the info. And then he was gone.

I can’t begin to tell y’all how this last six weeks have changed my life. I used to like my job and was damned good at it (if I say so myself). I always thought each day was the perverbial box of chocolates Forrest Gump talked about. Sure, you’d always run up against some tricky and dicey issues, but my nature was always to run towards the guns, not away from them. It’s what I always felt I did best – work the problems, resolve the conflicts, smooth over the disagreements. Troubleshoot, resolve, move on to the next thing. Repeat and rinse.

Now it’s all different, as if six weeks ago I took a new job with different bosses and different players. All people I can’t relate to. People who could care less about me (and vice-versa). People who want this nightmare to go away so they can get back to the jobs they’re used to doing, just like I do. People far above my job level. My boss wants nothing to do with me. His boss is calling me every day, and his boss as well. It’s taken a toll. I don’t know who I am any more. I don’t feel like hitting balls. I could care less about sweeping or backwashing the pool. The only thing I care about is sleeping, even though I know that when I awake there will be at 50+ e-mails asking when this will be fixed or that will be fixed, and when. I sit on the back patio with a glass of Pinot Grigio and my brain is trying to figure out ways of working this or that problem out. The India guys on the team are freaking out because they never in their wildest imaginations ever thought they’d have to work this hard, and their peers who have never had to work as hard as they have in their lives can’t believe what they’re going through. One of my guys has given his notice; there’s little doubt the rest of them are thinking about it. They all ask me when all this will end. I don’t have an answer for them.

We’ve got a bunch of layoffs coming next Friday (so my boss tells me), and I’m just about at the point where I really don’t care anymore if I’m one of them. I thought last week was the week when the whole thing would come crashing down, but now I think it’s going to be next week. Not sure if it’s going to be Tuesday or Wednesday, but it’s going to be bloody. How bloody? So bloody that one of the so-called “dickheads” called me yesterday asking for my help – the same guy that only days before was sticking a knife in my back.

I remember the last “normal” day in my life. It was Saturday, December 2, and I was driving up to Las Vegas to meet my Goodboys friend “Doggy Duval” for a few days of Vegas R & R. The day was warm, the sky kind of cloudy in a early December-ish kind of way. I had the windows open and early Pink Floyd on the CD player. And I remember thinking in a way that was so clear to me at the time, “just enjoy this, it may not happen again.”

But I can’t remember what that felt like.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 23:57 | Comments (0)
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