Thursday, August 15, 2013

Two Things I Dread...

Today I posted my horoscope and asked my friends what I dread most. I do not dread death, or even a harsh sickness like Cancer. And, I really do not fear becoming a liberal.

Here is my greatest fear: Someday I may do something stupid (really, really stupid). 

Several times in my life I did stupid things on a motorcycle. First, I tried to cross the California Street cable car line on a rainy night. This was so stupid that I was able to tell my passenger to get ready to fall, right before we crashed. The second time I was riding towards Point Reyes Station, when the road changed from asphalt to gravel. Again, I had time to tell my passenger to hold on - and safely avoided the spill. I also got pulled over in Oregon for speeding. I honestly answered the officer that I did not know how fast I was going because the speedometer stopped at 85. On that same trip I fell asleep while riding - waking up right on the rear end of a truck. I pulled over and slept for several hours before resuming the ride.  

My second fear is that someone will not take a moment to tell me that I'm about to do something stupid. And, at a more subtle level, that they are simple watching, allowing me to make a bad choice. A two minute conversation could cure the problem, but they will not take the time. 

Two Simple Examples

In college I was having trouble with football blocking schemes (right-guard). Since I did not play in high school, I was behind on much of the terminology, schemes, and audibles. My coach was not really interested in taking the extra time to work with me. In his eyes I was the long snapper and second string guard. Of course, things change and I moved into a starting role against Oregon State. It ended badly for me and our QB.

More recently, I have been working in a challenging environment - with high turn-over, imprecise deliverables, and a certain lack of cooperation across teams. During my mid-year check-in I was soundly humbled.

Six months later, after following remediation guidance, it turns out that my management has never validated the work that they requested. Questions about a problem that has been reported for 7 straight weeks, and which was escalated to him (among others) proved that my weekly reports and escalation emails did not merit his attention. Three missed one-on-one meetings isn't lending to the solution. (He provided plenty of excuses... and a crystal clear statement about his priorities). 

A two minute conversation, to allow course correction, adjustment, realignment is apparently too much effort. 

In college I let down my team. I could have injured my girlfriends - truly things to dread. Those problems were instantaneous, and over. Now, I have to make career decisions that will impact my family, and I feel like those that can provide guidance are not helping, that they are perfectly willing to let me do something stupid.

It's my plan to be really open and honest with my manager - about my role, my lack of faith, my disappointment and my wish to move on.

Yes, I'm stupid.