So, first of all - put links to several of my photo albums (of moots!) in the Info section of my LJ. Hope that's okay with everybody; please let me know if it's not. Still have a few more to put up, in case you're wondering.
Second - saw Paul Bettany in "Wimbledon". Yes, pretty predictable, but I loved Bernard Hill as his dad, and Paul Bettany was great, as usual, Kirsten Dunst was cute (maybe a little too "cute", actually), liked the little ball boy, and enjoyed the interior monologues that gave a view of what Paul Bettany's character was thinking as he would go from confident to fearful and back. So - I give it a thumbs up if you like Paul Bettany, but not a great movie otherwise. Oh - but who played his German tennis partner? Whew! Yummmmm.
So, this weekend I missed the RenFair moot at the Ohio RenFair - sorry, guys! On the one hand, I needed it badly - it's been an extremely stressful week - but, on the other hand, I needed some down time, and time to catch up at work. Sorry. And I'm also feeling guilty (!) for not going to see Sean Astin, seeing as he's only about 4 hours away from me in Chicago, but I keep telling myself that I've seen him 3 times, the photo conditions won't be great, and it would mean driving 4 hours up and 4 hours down - and no work getting done. I hope he gets a great reception in Chicago, or I really WILL feel guilty!
Speaking of work (cutting here for work stuff - it's long and boring and sad - read at your own risk) - it's been an extremely difficult past 3 months. It's been a challenge to my confidence, and a learning experience, not to mention humbling. I came in at the beginning of this year to this company to be a third team leader, for a brand new group that was to be created when the department reorganized about 3 months after I arrived. I was told not to worry; even though I was new, and most of the people in my group were new, the work wouldn't just be thrown at us; the other two groups were there to help.
Well, that very same person started complaining two weeks later because my group hadn't taken up all the work we were supposed to - even though two of my 5 people were still committed to other projects I wasn't allowed to take them off of (!), and, as I said, my group had all the new, inexperienced people, and the other two groups had all of the experienced people. What that meant is that we were probably about 50% as efficient at doing the work, since much of what we were doing, we were all doing for the first time. But I felt we could do it, if we worked smart, and kept moving us up to taking it all over during the next 3 months. This was a difficulty time, but I felt that I knew what we needed to do, and we did have a couple of people with experience.
So, why have the last 3 months been so stressful? We had 3 main projects. I put one of the experienced people on one project, along with a very capable new person, coached them, attended meetings, checked to make sure they were on track - and they've done great. I took another person with lots of industry experience - the person designated as my righthand person - along with the other person who had a lot of experience in the department, and put them on the other project. Again, I gave lots of coaching, and made sure they knew what needed to be done - and everything's gone badly. Why? Partly because the team leader I keep having problems with - who's very ambitious and seems to want to pull the "good part" of what my team does into their group - is the person they had to work with, and that person criticizes everything they do and keeps putting roadblocks in their way, despite my best efforts. Partly because the client they were working for wasn't clear about their expectations and, to be honest, was pretty nasty. And mostly because the veteran turned out to be unexperienced in the kind of work we're doing - although that should not have been the case - and the person I had supervising that veteran wasn't keeping a close enough eye on that person, due to vacation and illness and lack of knowledge in areas that I didn't realize he lacked knowledge in. This resulted in errors and delays that let our client down and took up all of our attention for the last two months.
I keep asking myself what I could have done differently, and I can't really say. I did the best I could with the knowledge I had available at the time. Perhaps if they hadn't given me the one person who has been involved in the majority of the errors and investigations over the last 2 years and had given me a high quality experience person instead, things would have been different. Perhaps if I had a group of people with quality oversight who were more experienced and willing to work with us, rather than tie us up with an overly rigid system. Perhaps if I'd had a boss. Yes, you read that correctly. I had a nominal boss when I first came here, but really I was under the wing of the team leader that I later learned was looking out only for themself. Then there was no boss, followed by a couple of months of a nominal boss who was new to the area and had about 50 people underneath (!), and was at a different site. I saw that person about twice. At least that person was sympathetic and saw that I was doing my best in difficult circumstances. In other words, I've had a great deal of freedom, which is wonderful, but nobody to see what I was doing - for better or for worse - and therefore nobody to stand behind me or coach me when things became difficult.
Now I finally have a boss, and I like him. But it's too late; my group has already got a black eye from the problems of the last two months, and, as fair as he'd like to be, he feels the best thing is to put an older, more experienced person over me, basically replacing me as team leader. It hurts, I have to say - it hurts a lot. I had hoped that I could at least talk with this new boss about the situation as a whole, and see what could be done, but before I've had a chance to do so, he's already recommending this. I can see the advantages of it (calms other peoples nerves) but also the disadvantages (things are getting better in my group now that we've learned lessons, but, if I'm replaced, any improvements will be seen as this new persons accomplishments). I have a meeting with him next week and will try to at least have a good talk with him about what I've been trying to do, and some of the concerns I've had.
I think what concerns me the most is that two of the problems I've had are ones I've had problems with in the past, and I'm still unsure how to handle them.
The first is that I wait too long to ask for help. That probably sounds strange to you folks, since I ask for help all the time, but it appears to be true. The problem here is - I didn't really have anybody to go to ask help from. I had no boss to ask, and the one person I probably could have gotten useful help from was the one person who I'm most worried about.
Which leads to the other recurring problem: I'm running into the same kind of problem person I did near the end of my last job. In each case, it's been a peer who's very controlling and judgemental, very ambitious, and who appears to feel threatened if you don't agree with her on everything. Here it's one of the two other team leaders who appears to fall into this category; in my old job it was a co-worker who then became my boss. Pretty horrible experience; I was so relieved to get moved to a different position when I was there. Having a boss may hewlp to take care of the problem here, but I do wish I knew of a way to take care of the situation myself. Unfortunately, I also learned from my last encounter with a person like this that you can't change them, and you can't be their friend - once they decide you're not their kind of person, they will always be against you.
So, that was my rant. Hope you didn't feel obligated to read it all, but I felt it best to let it all out. Every day I think about leaving; and every day I convince myself that things may get better. I'm giving it until the end of the year. If it isn't a more enjoyable job by then, I'm quitting. I have enough money to live on for two years, and I won't stay at a job that's not enjoyable. Stay tuned for updates.