rant about my work.......


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Oct 18, 2011
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I got my ass handed to me on a plate today at work.

I knew it was coming but my pride is now a little dented as my work was trashed in a meeting of reasonably senior guys. I needed to submit my work to meet a deadline, not for myself but in order to keep a project going as we are going through a very disorganised planning process. Part of the information we got from our client's various reps, part of the information we'd been waiting for 6 weeks for and had to force a meeting to get the info we needed.

So it turns out that a big part of the info we were provided by the client's rep(s) is wrong which is what I based my work on and that's the part I was trashed on. On going through the detail it turns out that what I did myself was fine but I couldn't push the point too hard for fear of annoying the client too much so I had to shut my mouth and suck it up. Not to mention the politics that's in play with these guys atm makes this a bit of a minefield for us.

I think the thing that annoyies me most is I could have come across a bit better. Ah well, the joys of being a subcontractor...

Thanks for reading, feel free to add your own story if you wish

Sorry - that really sucks. Been in similar situations and there is no professional, dignified way to say "it wasn't my fault" without sounding like you're making excuses. Sounds like you did the right thing by falling on your sword. Hopefully your immediate boss and his boss know the real deal and there are no repercussions.
Thanks mate, its not a position I'm used to being in to be fairand its not entirley the guys at the meetings fault either (they are also trying to work with a flawed system). Knowing the job meant that we could show we'd already tried to go through the clients system and talk to the right people but hit delays and brick walls all the way.

Oh and don't worry, my boss knows exactly the issues and why. Luckily I work in a good team where communication is good and we have quite a collanerative approach together, so I have no worries about repercussions. Its just my pride that's a bit dented as I am used to nailing this stuff first time!
That stinks, man. I'm sorry.
Some days you just take it in the shorts and go on.......... fuhgettaboutit.
What lesson did you learn that will help in the future?
An unpleasant day for sure. Now you will see whether the senior folks realize and appreciate what you did. They certainly should.
Thanks Tony, that's more or less what I'm going to do mate.

Runnah - there's a few things I'm going to take away from this. Probably the biggest one is to increase my contribution to these meetings by realising when it's going a bit off course and to try and steer it back to the things we can do to deliver what the client wants. There will be more of these so I'll get a chance to do that, but I'm aware that sometimes I can be a bit like a dog with a bone and unless the other guys have strong personalities I could come across as overbearing, so I was trying not to do that too much but don't think I got the balance quite right. The other thing I'm going to do next time is go over the technical stuff and get a commitment from these guys that if I make xxx changes they'll approve it.

Thanks Ken - they should do mate, I know at least one of them will plus I've a pretty good working relationship with him so I'll say to him directly!
I've been in thousands of meetings, and it helps to know what the unofficial agenda is. Are "we" on the same side of the table, or on opposite sides? Who or what is really driving the meeting? Meetings can be productive events when lots of things get decided, and the real agenda is in close relation to the official agenda. On the other hand, I've been in meetings where betrayal, ambushes, (character) assassinations, and nuclear warfare happened, and most did not see it coming. When I was in the corporate world, I tried very hard to know (or at least get an insight) into the personal agendas of the people who were going to be showing up. An unexpected invitee was almost never a good sign. As was a loose or non-existent agenda. And more than once, some innocent person was the sacrificial lamb in a situation they really had nothing to do with. After a few years, I approached meetings of more than 3 people as potential battlegrounds where you needed to know the lay of the land, the disposition of forces, and the positions of the potential adversaries and/or allies. The initial seating arrangement was usually a powerful clue as to how that particular meeting was going to play out.

Although it shouldn't be that way, there is much value in political environments, in having a pre-meeting (or several) with the likely players to get a sense of what the hidden agendas are. Then there is less chance of an ambush, or to find yourself "out front" without any supporting allies or covering fire. And if you know you're going to be in the cross-hairs, then it is a good strategy to be right next to the potential aggressor - it's more difficult psychologically for a person to attack another when the "victim" is in their personal space (unless they are psychopaths), or the emotions have risen to the point that all they want to do is "kill". I've also been in meetings where there was an incredible synergy and much more was accomplished than we could have hoped for going in. And then you go back to your offices and cubicles and whatnot, and say "Wow - what happened there? That was amazing!!!" . Yes, they do happen. And when they do, savour the moment. They don't, unfortunately, happen very often.
At the very worst, well not exactly the very worst, you can come away understanding why the disaster happened and what steps there are to keep it from happening again.
Yeah, things like that will happen, and office politics suck. I remember letting myself get coerced into “glossing over” certain details of a multi-million dollar proposal I was working on. I knew there were things wrong with it, but several higher-ups were frothing at the mouth to win the purchase order as soon as possible so that they could meet their department goals, look like heroes, get their bonuses, etc. When I tried to bring light to the problems, I’d get responses that amounted to a thinly-veiled message; something along the lines of: “If you know what’s good for you, you’ll stop trying to stand in the way of getting this order.”

So, I shut up, and we got the order. Of course, several months later, when all of the problems I had identified started bubbling to the surface and causing the project to bleed money, everybody seemed to have developed a case of amnesia, and couldn’t recall my trying to fix those problems up front. And who was responsible for the technical content? That’s right, me.

So now, I document everything, and assert myself much more freely, even in front of the President. If somebody wants to hang me for trying to act in the company’s interest (rather than in the interest of certain individuals) then so be it—but I’m going down swinging.
I'm one of those people who has a difficult time sugar coating things. If someone else is responsible for something being screwed up, I'll be damned if I'm going to take the rap for it. I have no truck taking the heat when I screw up, so others need to be prepared to do the same. If they don't, I'll be happy to point it out for them...
Sometimes management is like a bunch of children: difficult to convince that everything always comes out, the chickens come home to roost, etc., and it's easier to deal with it all up front than to fix it later. The best thing to do is insist politely and firmly that everyone needs to deal with the problems now.
Often, managerial myopia is seen as focused dedication, instead of what it really is, the inability to see the bigger picture or the larger truth. And when these same characters invite you to join them on a safari, remember that they want you there so that they can trip you when the lions start chasing your bunch.

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