Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Log Jam

I am a log jam. I recognize my log jam status. I am every organization's worst nightmare - a single point of failure. I'm desperately trying to get out of that position, but in the meantime, I sit here, in log jam hell, working all day and all night, traveling on weekends so as to be available during the week, and generally taking it out on myself until such time as I can create other avenues for things to get done.

It's all in process, but in this brief logjam period (roughly from mid-december to today), I've been in hell. Which lead me to think --

who ARE these people who enjoy being the lynch pin of a process? Why do they take pleasure in it? Do they enjoy telling people to f-off, since they are too busy? Do they simply not feel the guilt of a million expectations? What is the mechanism by which someone can say "No" so effectively that being a log jam is an appealing position? And doesn't nature naturally abhor a log jam? Wont the world create new paths around the problem?

I have many many peers who seem to revel in their status.Their teams aren't authorized to approve a font choice. 40 year old men aren't competent to brief an analyst or design a slide on their own. In my opinion, if that's the situation, you're either a control freak or hire very inappropriate staff. I hope I can get to the point when my team can act in my stead much of the time, freeing us all up to have more complete lives.

But in the mean time, I'll be en route to everywhere for the next 2 weeks. wish me luck.

1 comment:

Capt. BS said...

There's a distinction to be made, I think, between a logjam and, say, a dam.

I see a logjam as a quasi-chaotic point of convergence for many different logs and/or other floating objects, all of which exert variable, non-uniform pressures upon said point. It was never anyone's intention for this point to become a bottleneck or barrier... that's just how things ended up.

A dam, by contrast, is constructed with a specific intent (e.g. throttling a river, creating a lake, generating electricity), and feels constant, uniform pressure across its entire surface. Since it was built with a purpose, it is built to expect and withstand the river's current at maximum strength (plus a factor of safety).

I don't think people try to become logjams, but I do think some people set out to make dams of themselves. Driven by whatever motivation, they set out -- and are often specifically employed -- to regulate and slow down whatever process enters their purview. They plan for and brace themselves against the inevitable blowback and subversion to which they are constantly subjected. Because they expect adversity and conflict, and because it is constant, it is easier to deal with on a day-to-day basis, and it is a constant reaffirmation that they are doing their job.