Under Pressure

February 27, 2006

Given that I am still deep into depression over Michele's death and that I am now anticipating a call from Decatur to tell my of my mom's death (any time between now and, oh, say six months? eight months? three months?) I am stretched extremely thin right now. Having a sudden escalation in my work responsibilities could not come at a worse time. But come they have.

The overall project is on the hook for delivering the complete design for a major release in just nine more working days. In order to meet that deadline six members of the next major release were pulled and reassigned. As one of the few people left on the next major release I picked up management responsibilities for the entire release. Aren't I the lucky one. Second prize was management duties for both releases.

Today the added pressure on top of my already shaking grasp on "normal" behavior made for a very ugly and tense afternoon. I came unhinged and was ready to quit and just walk out. I wanted to charge up to my immediate project manager and ask him point blank, "Do you not get that I am struggling just to make it to work everyday? Do you not get that I don't really give a flying fuck at a rolling donut whether this project succeeds or fails right now? Could you possibly assign this responsibility to someone else?" However, given that two vendor employees (not sub-contractors) were walked out of the building just two weeks ago, I managed to contain myself. It adds more pressure still, but I don't feel safe trying to pass this buck right now.

I know that the root cause of my meltdown today was feeling out of control. I discovered my new duties in a public meeting where I was told, at the same time as everyone else, that I was now in charge of the team. Hard to turn it down in front a room full of your peers. I felt extremely blind-sided by the manner this announcement was handled. One of the first extra tasks was calculating a level of effort (LOE) for all the outstanding change requests (CR) tagged for our application. As soon as possible. After spending a day and a half struggling to get a handle on the 27 open CR I learned that only THREE were not already in the plan. Gee, could you have told me that TWO DAYS AGO!? All of which only added to my feeling of being out of control.

35 minutes until I can go home and hide under the bed.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.