Thursday, January 07, 2010

Don’t Have Time, Eh?

I’ve had times in my life when I was really busy. I can’t say I’ve mastered dealing with being that busy, but I’ve learned a few things. I’ve learned enough about being “too busy” to have little patience with some people  who are “too busy” to do things that should be vital.

In about 2006, a friend of mine had a position open up that he thought I was more than qualified for. It was for a Systems Analyst. He worked for the government, and the position was with a contractor. I already worked for that company anyway, was qualified for the job, and it should have been very simple to get me down there.

Except for one thing…

The program manager in charge of the position was “too busy” to hire somebody, for an open position, that his customer was demanding be filled.  It seems like in that line of work, filling open positions should be a PRIMARY function of the job. I sent him a couple of emails introducing myself, indicating my interest in the position and my qualifications, and emphasizing that I ALREADY WORKED FOR THAT VERY COMPANY. He never replied. I attached a read receipt to one email. It apparently went unread. I wish I knew what this guy was doing.

Alas, Mr. “I have other things to do” did not fill the position with either me or anybody else, and it went to a subcontractor. That was during the one time in the last several years when I could have gotten out of New Jersey easily. Now, there’s no way. I’m stuck here for the time being. My friend told me later that program manager got fired for being a bonehead, but it was too late to get my resume to his replacement. I eventually left that company for my current one.

It’s one thing when you ask somebody to meet you for coffee, but they’re too busy. I can understand that. Too busy actually means “something else is more important to me to spend that period of time on.” But when it comes to work functions, then I get ticked.

“Hey, I sent you an email last week. I cannot move on this project until you answer it.”

“Oh, sorry, I’ve been too busy to check email.”

Right, if you’re too busy to check your work email, then obviously you don’t get notices for pointless meetings, so you should have time to check email. It’s a Catch-22.

Before I got fired, I needed to get an answer out of our vendor for something. I sent him email after email for more than a week, and left a bunch of phone messages, all of which went unanswered. I finally blocked out an entire morning and called him every 15 minutes until he answered the phone and I got my answer, which somebody else was breathing down the back of my neck for.

I’ve been listening to Tim Ferriss’ “The 4 Hour Work Week” over and over and over again on my iPhone. If only I could find a company that read that book and tried to follow its philosophy, rather than the “You’re not working unless you commute here and sit in a stuffy cubicle for 8 hours” philosophy. Think of how much time at work is just plain wasted on minutia and pointless bull that doesn’t even contribute to the bottom line. Much of the normal office workday is about working for the sake of working. You have to be there for 8 hours, so you might as well fill it.

I keep hearing about how Best Buy is testing a program to allow their corporate employees to work wherever and how long it takes to get their work done. If you can do your day’s work in 3 hours at 2 AM, then do it.

I wish I could find a way (without placing my family in financial jeopardy in the process) to get paid for results rather than time. Want more money, then produce more results. Make enough money to be comfortable in less time? Then enjoy the extra time you have.

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