Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A different flavor of crazy

Ethel steamed over to my desk yesterday afternoon. "I'm so pissed at Wanda that I'm afraid to start venting or I won't be able to stop."

Yes, Wanda's back on the crazydar, my friends.

"Our CDs for this research building are due on Wednesday, we've got plenty of work to check, details to work over, but no! She's got me working on text!" she fumed. "She's complaining how the text isn't the same font on different pages, so I'm going through all the drawings to make the fonts the same. Then just now she's decided she wants all the text to be 1/8" high, not 3/32" high, like she told me to do last week!"

I was rather shocked. Wanda's been off my crazydar for a while now, and I'm surprised I didn't sniff her out earlier. Longtime WAD readers recall her outbursts and belligerent behavior earlier in the year, which seemed to quiet down a great deal after a talking-to by Howie (and, I believe, refilling a prescription, because the change in her behavior was pretty drastic). Ethel went on to describe some pretty annoying behavior from Wanda: she would tell Ethel to do something that Ethel thought was a bad idea, and Ethel would call her on it. Wanda would insist on doing it that way, dammit. Later, Wanda would come to agree with Ethel and go, "Why did we do that?" and Ethel would have to say, "You told me to," and Wanda would say, "No I didn't." And there's Ethel, looking like the fool. "I know I'm not always right, but dammit I do know some stuff!" Ethel declared through her teeth under the breath to me.

Wanda and Ethel are working on this project under another associate in the office, a laid-back but very knowledgeable architect named Sven. I told Ethel that in the future, if she disagreed with Wanda's direction on a detail, construction system, etc., she should go to Sven and ask him for a tie-breaker decision. After I recounted Ethel's story to Guy, he went one further: "I'd tell Sven that she's got me fixing fucking text fonts instead of checking drawings and completing details," he said. "Wanda's shitty management is gonna mess up Sven's project." Good point, I agreed. I also told Ethel to send emails confirming directions and make written notes everytime Wanda gives her directions so that she has a record of Wanda telling her to do something stupid.

However, all of this working for completely-unable-to-prioritize-tasks Wanda has given Ethel the courage she needed to ask Howie for her own project. She still has four ARE exams to pass and lacks some knowledge of exterior building systems, but in architecture the business, there's no really good way to learn something except to do it. There are many things I never knew how to do before I did Wheatlands, but I had to do them to learn how to do them. That's the great paradox of the business of architecture: many firms only want you if you have experience doing something, but the only way to know how to do it is to do it. Seven years ago, I was lucky that Design Associates believed (and still believes) in investing in interns. I had no real architectural experience when I got out of grad school. Now, I can run projects with my eyes closed. And oddly enough, it was working for a complete nincompoop in 2004 that made me think, "Jesus, Mary, and Phillip Johnson, if this incompetent fucktard can run a project, then so can I" and then ask Howie for the chance to run Wheatlands. Boo-yah.


BaxtersMum said...

And that, my friends is how you TAKE OVER THE WORLD!!!!


Actually, being your own boss is a hell of alot better than taking over the world.

Speaking of, I got the news this morning. The Kindergarten is Mine. Forever. Officially. Temporary Assignment no more. So apparently I'm good at putting kids in time out and telling them to wipe their own asses.

Wanda is on a finite time line. Poor thing. She's got no idea whats going to happen to her, and probably won't even begin to understand it. (sigh) Hard lessons are *so* unpleasant.

Good advice to Ethel. Document and protect the Boss. That is KEY!

SpookyRach said...

Wandas are just freaky people. Something to do with the name, I suspect.

I am waaaay jealous of your theatre tickets, girl. Waaay jealous.

ms. kitty said...

The anecdotal record and documenting emails is a good procedure, MHP. Good advice!

And by the way, you've been tagged for a meme over at my place.

Miss Kitty said...

LORD. Get out the liquor. Wanda's back on the crazy path.

Mile High Pixie said...

Bax: congrats on the "promotion". Just don't feed them Snickers bars.

Spooky: It's funny, Wanda's not her real name, but her real name *is* one that I find belongs to useless people. Weird.

Kit: I'll eventually get to your meme, I swear.

Kitty: [glug glug glug]