Things at Company O. have been drifting along on auto pilot for me lately. Immediate deadlines for work have been relatively light, and, there have been few duties such as meetings and off-site visits that seemed to require my attention away from my desk. This has afforded me the leisure to do some things like begin the LONG and tedious process of cleaning out my e-mail box at work (only 1500 read messages in my inbox at work). I has also afforded the time to get caught up on my online diary reading.
Now, I hear you cry, isn't there something that Company O. wants me to be doing other than online diary reading? Yes, there is. As with the ebb and flow of any job, however, there are some slack times. I think this has been one of them. I usually hit some kind of wake up call that snaps me out of my lethargy and back into action though.
I believe that such a call came yesterday. I have been collaboration with two other companies, X. and Y., on a project to evaluate some new hardware for use with Company O.'s product. Each of the three companies (X., Y., and O.) each bring something to the table. We bring our product and expertise for setup and testing of our product. Company X. brings the hardware device, which they manufacture. Company Y. brings the testing environment.
Two colleagues and myself attended a meeting between Company O. and Company Y. yesterday. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the deployment of a specific technology at Company 0. This technology is related to but not necessarily the same as the device produced by Company X.
After suitable introductions were made (including a description of my work to the group with other members of Company Y.), one of my two colleagues, B., proceeded to launch into a 2-5 minute diatribe about how my work with Companies X. and Y. was fundamentally flawed. He went on to say that it was not an approach that he thought should be considered as part of the discussion. He also extracted some validation of his opinion from members of Company Y. that his opinion was correct for a number of common cases.
I could not help but squirm a little through all of this. B. is probably not wrong. I work closely with him on a number of issues, and he is very technically competent. He is also highly opinionated -- he will probably either one day become the kind of monomaniac manager that really gets things done, or, he will piss everyone off and get absolutely nowhere. Knowing this, I could both see the truth of B.'s statements regarding my work and even, on some level, why it was appropriate for steering this discussion. At the same time, I REALLY did not need to have my work deconstructed and strongly criticized in front of a group of other people by a colleague sitting right next to me.
The impact of this act by B. did not fully sink in until late last night. Since then, I feel slightly wounded. That I am not more emotional on the subject is that I entered into this project for two reasons: a) the device made by company X. is a cool toy to play with, and b) I thought it might be a good way to raise my profile, network, and gain some useful experience. It is therefore the process of dealing with Company X. and Company Y. that is good for me, but, not the result. So, ultimately, I could care less about the overall usefulness of Company X.'s device.
The wake up call is the need to be effective on a technical level responding to B. His pronounced opinions must be replaced by concrete data the I can help generate. I can also steer this project to deliver data for internal use at Company O. that can help to provide useful information relevant to the meeting I attended yesterday.
To do all that, I need to get my house in order with regard to this and other projects I'm working on. It is a final end to lethargy (for now). I'm glad to see that it is finally here.
on 2003-10-24 at 6:18 a.m.
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