Sunday, January 30, 2005

Bete noire

My bete noir, and the reason I haven't posted in a while, is getting thrown changes at work which I can't possibly have guarded against or seen coming. In this case it was one of my two best staff being taken from my team on no notice, to work on something which I find hard to see as a higher priority. Changes like this shift my life of tedium and stasis into chaos (at least temporarily), making me shift my concentration from restoring my health to, instead, having to waste what would otherwise have been a productive week (delivering things to my clients) undertaking re-planning of my team's schedule to ensure we can at least meet some of our commitments by the end of the financial year.

Now I realise this issue hardly compares with actual tragedies, regularly occurring around the world, but I've realised the severity of emotional impact of an event basically ties in with just how seriously it affects one's own life. In this case, for at least a few days, it appeared that my carefully crafted position at work was going to go from great to average, and I was going to have to work 8 day weeks to get anything done. Now, after getting a whole lot of frustration and disappointment out of my system, I have a plan moving forward (with plenty of help from my 2IC), and am once again enthusiastic about what my (smaller) team will be able to accomplish over the next 5 months (and beyond). I'm really not a big fan of change right now, after such a disrupted past 18 months, and I wanted so much to settle back into my work and enjoy the comfort of a high performing team for at least a few months before my plans got kicked in the guts. I've now had 4 of my top 5 staff taken from my team within the past 12 months, constantly disrupting any chance of delivering value. Not to mention it's hard to continue seeing the work I do as important when my team can so blithely be ripped apart to suit other areas' needs. But this is the reality of my job, and why I have to spend so much time managing client expectations. While it seems obvious to me that you can't take a top-notch performer with 5 years experience, replace them with a brand new starter fresh out of uni, and expect the job will be finished in the same amount of time, try convincing eager users they're going to have to wait. I'd rather be programming, and I don't even like programming. Still, beats working for a living.

Despite all that crap I've written above, I'm feeling really positive right now, and full of new ideas about the systems I've been working on delivering for over 2 years. Pumped enough to go into work yesterday (a Saturday for an hour or so) to add some extra functionality. I think this change has at least given me a mental kick in the pants, and hopefully it's the revitalisation I need to lead my team the way I try to. Or I might wake up tomorrow feeling tired, and finding that my boss has changed his mind again, and I have to spend another week planning. Either way, for now I'm going to enjoy the anticipation of a great work week ahead :)