Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Big Day

Today was the BIG day at work. This leadership contest that I have been working on for the past couple of weeks started today and finishes tomorrow. What a roller coaster ride. Basically my role was to develop one of the key PowerPoint presentations and to run all the video, music and power points for the rest of the show. The lead up to the show was an exercise in frustration.

But to back up some, if I had to list my strengths at work near the top would be my level head and ability to stay calm in a crisis. I’ve been told this many times and I think it is part of the reason I get asked to help with these things. Working on these presentations is usually really fun. After all, I get paid to stretch my creativity a little. Also, a lot of the other people that get tagged to work on these things are pretty fun.

The frustration comes into the equation when we need input on the presentations. Basically what these things are for is to celebrate the management team’s accomplishments from the past year. That means all six of the various areas at my work have to write up what those accomplishments are. Then those write ups are translated to a presentation, which is then reviewed by the same people who wrote them up and they inevitable have changes. All this would be fine if they could actually get the changes done in a timely manner. In past years, we made changes to these presentations as late as the break in the conference right before the presentations were supposed to be shown. This is all the more ironic since the upper management of our area has a nasty habit of expecting responses to thier emails with ridiculous timeframes (All too typical example - please survey your employees for interest in such and such. Response is required by noon tomorrow. ) This year we had the finals a few days in advance which was really nice. Getting them done by then was a battle. We actually never had a rehearsal that included a final script or had all the performers in it.

While I do have a somewhat calm demeanor, I am a bit of a control freak so not having everything rehearsed and planned out can drive me a little nuts. I guess I can’t deny my nature a momma’s boy Italian. You know how dramatic those can be. But I have learned how to keep it inside and try to stay calm when things go pear shaped. Going into today’s show, I felt really good about all four of the power points I had to show. The problem was there were actually five power points I was supposed to show. But for some reason, until about five minutes before it was supposed to be shown, I had forgotten all about this one power point. Now 5this power point that I did not even have on the computer was no ordinary power point. No my friends this was the power point for the director of our entire branch of the IRS. The big kahuna. And five minutes before he was going to start talking, I realized I did not have the power point. So in between trying to plan my new career as a clerk somewhere, I managed to get around the security measures on my boss’s computer to extract a copy of this power point and with a delay of about 20 minutes, we were back in business. I felt horrible because my boss was the organizer of the whole shebang and she is a friend of mine as well. I thought I had totally let her down. Luckily it seemed to be ok once we got it going. The crisis passed but I had aged about ten years in the process.

From there the rest of the show went off without a hitch. I even was totally surprised to win an award as the Most Appreciated Manager for my group. I have never actually won an award like that other that the usual B.S. awards when they give EVRYONE and award. Those are a lot like trophies for perfect attendance in gym class. Anyway it was nice and I got a huge round of applause.

The day was a roller coaster from beginning to end. Actually it started last night when I got some bad news about a friend of mine. Then I realized I had lost my worry crucifix. It must have fallen off of my chain sometime during the day. Then I could hardly sleep worrying about the power points (oblivious at that point to the missing one). Then the ups and downs of the actual conference. Then to top it off, when I got home, a friend of mine pulled into my driveway behind me. I was so burned out I was looking forward to an hour of staring at TV with my cat but since I had not seen this friend in so long, I ended up playing the Wii with him.

Here are a few pictures from today. I hope tomorrow is a little more balanced.

At this point I was desperate to get the dang power point loaded.

This is a look at some of the crowd. That's my friend George in the foreground.

This is a lousy picture of the award they gave me. Sweet!

The view from backstage during the big opening number.

My friend Gale working the registrations tables

All smiles after the presentations were done.