Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board

Like Oil On a...

Duck. current employer is unable to manage almost anything of a non-trivial nature.  This includes travel, skill-set alignment to projects and project mgmt.  Hence the subject line...we're oil on a duck!

Chaos doesn't begin to describe the current environment.  I am currently in a training session and getting multiple (and for different times) meeting requests for the week from our on-site VP (I should mention that my schedule is available on-line) who my(!) boss reports to.  My boss is completely unaware of my being constantly dragged into these other sales/project opportunities (I let him know afterward however).  I was just scheduled for a 1-to-2 week engagement offsite that will necessitate major project changes to my current assignment...which had been designated as "crucial" only last week.  This assignment has NOTHING in common with that current project but does make me billable for the short term.

I'm not the only one these incidents are occurring to/impacting but I'm the "newbie" in the office and less familiar with how things work and less agreeable to making it my S-O-P.

Should my boss/his boss be approached and how?

Wednesday, July 9, 2003

"This assignment has NOTHING in common with that current project but does make me billable for the short term"

Most companies consider revenue #1. As long as what is left behind will not impact revenue, then making you billable is the most important thing.  It may also save your job if they decide to get rid of people "at least you are billable" may be the difference.

As for your boss and his boss.  The next time you are pulled in, ask your-boss's boss if you should "run this by" your boss.  If not, then keep your head down, it looks like your boss may be looking at the door.

On conflicting schedules, meetings, shifting priorities, etc. Welcome to the real world. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2003

What does "Like Oil On a..." mean?

Wednesday, July 9, 2003

Warning: being billable will not necessarily save you when the layoffs come.

Two years ago I was billable, as a consultant working for a (now defunct) contracting agency.  The contract with the client was terminated by my employer, and I was laid off two days later, leaving the client in the lurch.

A week later I started a contract directly with the client to finish the job.  It took (thankfully only) one week to work out a limited waiver of non-compete with the original employer.

David Jones
Wednesday, July 9, 2003

Is this a larger consultancy shop you are working for? Often projects are designated "crucial" just to give those on the bench something to fuss with. On a scale of 1 to 10 bringing in the money ranks at 11, "crucial" projects rank somewhere around 2-3.

Just me (Sir to you)
Thursday, July 10, 2003

Even in disfuncational companies it seems to be a general rule that managers like to defend their scope of authority. So I would expect that it wouldn't be that hard to go to your manager and ask for a rule that all assignment of your time has to go through him/her. And then when some other manager asks you to do something, direct them to your boss.

And in any case, if you're not already, start keeping a log of the amount of time spent on each project so that you can justify delays to when your boss considers your primary project.

Bill Tomlinson
Thursday, July 10, 2003

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home