Thursday, December 10, 2009


Industry is fun. And, like many fun places, there are games we can play.

The first I noticed was Hot Potato.
Rules: A task lands on a desk. Instead of doing the task and ending the game, we spread the enjoyment by sending any number of emails to 1) ask questions, 2) remark on the quality of the request or 3) explain why someone else is better suited to handle said task. Given that there is normally a 2-3 day delay between each new email, sometimes the tasks just go away because they've been ignored or discussed to death.

Now I've played hot potato with crap I really don't want to do. But I try very hard to complete action items that are possible. That habit, however, makes me resent the hell out of anyone who screws with my requests.

The trick to getting out of the game? The telephone. Confronting those who are hoping I'll just forget about it and the job goes away works wonders. And my handy spreadsheet of action items reminds me to follow up and demand explanations when crap takes too long.

The second game is more of a bad habit. One of my favorite parts of Industry is the clear power structure. I understand the organizational chart very well and find comfort in the explicit nature of it. But when I give an answer someone doesn't like, that person will go above or around me with repetitions of said request until they've found someone who'll make me do it or grow exhausted from the effort.

There are two things that should be widely known about me.
1. I like to make people happy. If I can do it, I will. I try not to say no and generally do it only when I'm protecting someone else's time.
2. I hate to lose. By going around/above me, people trigger my need for battle. And despite telling myself it's silly, I will put a tremendous amount of effort to make sure my response remains true.

I told someone no this morning. (It was actually a 'yes, but' rather than a firm 'no' but it was apparently read the same way.) I was also a bit terse in my reply because she's been bothering me incessantly about this thing and it just requires a lot of people's effort and isn't very important. So we'll try to get to it, but there aren't really guarantees. If something slips from the list, it could be her deal.

After multiple layers of trying to get around me, she ended up with the person who wanted my job before I started. Who then escalated it to 2 people the level above me.

Now that's OK - I was right and I don't mind defending my decisions. Still. I'm angry. And I shall plot revenge.

That's a game I indulge in quite a bit.

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