Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Notebook Rage - An Office Space Kinda Day

Much like road rage, notebook rage occurs when someone or something in a notebook lights the fires of anger in its user.

I get this all too often, and when it happens I envision an office space printer scene where I pick up my computer, launch it out my second story window, and greet it on the driveway with a bat, and a kick ass Geto Boys soundtrack.

And in my case, it's rarely the hardware that is the real problem, it's the people I am beholden to in my email.  That technological advancement that is supposed to expedite communications, is the thing that often trips people up, and enables them to speak (write) without thinking, makes them more sensitive to nuance, and acutely aware of tone.  All in a far more complex way than letters used to.  And in my case, there are several people around the world who are free with their opinions and all too ready with an aim and a shot, using those opinions as weapons.

In Corporate America, unlike any other time in it's history, is plagued with dotted lines.  Office Space summed it up with how many people told the main character about a stupid, simple negligible over site in his TPS report from the day before.  With dotted line reporting structures that are heavily used today in an effort to support the cross functional complexities of organizations, the result is overload, strain and exasperated minutae management.  And that's what I'm dealing with.  Don't even get me started on the politics it explodes by virtue of the power struggles between people who own functions outright and those who feel their dotted lines should be firmed up and solidified.

I'm caught between a rock and a hard place most days, and it challenges my mental health 24/7.  I have a job that supports people all over the world, which means that very often, I put hours in well past closing time, AND it means that I get to figure out how to influence people with different cultural histories and genetic make ups which make them more or less opposite in how they can be managed depending on what time zone they work in.  BUT it also means that my American boss is not the only person I am beholden to report to.  I have dotted line responsibilities into folks in Europe and Asia, and none of these people makes any mistake about how inconsequential or how disruptive I am to their regional processes/activities with any given issue...and that means each and every one feels obligated to tell me what they think I should be doing instead.

And so it's moments when this occurs (ok, this happens at least 3 times each week), when I want to fire my notebook out the window, bash it around a few times with a good solid bat, package up the remains, and ship them to my hard line boss with a post it note that very succinctly explains why he's looking at a pile of junk from me.

But I can't and so I won't.  And instead, I'll respond to all my emails with a smile on my face (albeit copied and pasted from last week's email), and I'll thank these blow hards for their time and valuable (ehem) inputs. Then I'll have another cup of coffee, and read the next email.

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