Wednesday, May 13, 2009

If you can't have me, you don't want nobody bay-beh...

A general rule of the workplace (or the market) is that when you're good, you're in demand.  Over the past few weeks that I've been working on the FCH Master Plan, I've been having to wrap up a couple of small projects that I started working on before I got on FCH.  Thing is, I've been underemployed for so long that folks have gotten accustomed to me being available to sketch something up/make a phone call to the state health department/do a code study for them.  So, even though I'm heavily and gainfully employed on FCH, I'm still being bombarded with requests from Sven, Prudence, and Howie.  Last week when I sat down to review some plans with Bosley, I described my predicament to him.  I was afraid to say "no" to any request because I wanted to be able to have something to work on while he was gone to Frontier County here and there, but I wanted to do FCH justice.  Each interruption may take anywhere from five minutes to six hours, but regardless of length it keeps pulling me away from what I was doing on the master plan, and I don't want to short Bosley's project.

"There's enough to do on Frontier County to keep you busy even when I'm gone, at this point," Bosley said.  "I need you completely on this.  If anyone asks you to do anything, tell them to come to me."

"Thank you," I sighed.  It was good to know Bosley had my back.

I've been helping Howie with a little outbuilding project we were doing for Wheatlands for free.  We revamped an earlier-issued PR of a small outdoor enclosure for the hospital to be smaller and unheated.  I was hoping I had wrapped up this work for him last week, so I emailed him the final drawings for it as a PDF and told him they were ready to go.  I had also been helping him and Prudence do some code reasearch on a small pharmacy that was a part of a tenant finish project she was doing.  I had called the state health department regarding a technical question on the pharmacy, and they called me back just this morning to tell me I'd been given a wrong number, and here's the right number and guy to call.  Fine.  

But I know that a phone call to the state isn't "just a phone call," especially when Howie's involved.  When the state finally calls me back, it's about a ten-minute phone call.  It's another five to fifteen minutes to write out a clear and complete email describing what I've found out from the state health guy or gal.  Then Howie reads the email and asks me a bunch more questions for five to ten minutes, then I gotta call the state health guy or gal back, and whenever they call me back it's another ten minutes, then another five- to ten-minute email or conversation....  You get the picture.

So this morning, Howie emails me that he looked at the PDFs and has these four changes.  I should add that he still wants me to continue chasing the code question for Prudence, and on top of these two tasks he sent Gregg and his team to me to help them with a state code question because for whatever reason I have a good relationship with the state health folks and they call me back whenever I call them.  So now I'm making phone calls for two other people and doing redlines on a project we're not getting paid for...and Howie wants me to interrupt a project with a tight deadline to do these things.


So I emailed Howie back to relate the situation to him and asked him to please make sure all these extra-project activities are good with Bosley.  Y'all, Howie actually pushed back: "So, I should ask him about everything but Wheatlands?  But, you're just making a few phone calls!  Do you need more help on Frontier County?"  I pushed back on his pushback: "You should ask him about all of it--we're on a really tight deadline between now and Monday.  It's that the phonecalls take longer than one would think, and I have to keep getting distracted by them and can't concentrate on the project I'm supposed to be working on.  Frontier County is just the right size for Intern Kimmy and me--extra help wouldn't really help."  For some reason my brain had frozen up and I couldn't find the right words that I think Howie needed to hear: We're working on a master plan, and I'm doing space planning--it's all in my head and extra help wouldn't actually help.  But most of all, I think I was just getting frustrated and perhaps even offended that Howie evidently simply could not accept my own assessment and assertion of my abilities over a seven-day span.  I cannot help you properly and help my project properly in the next week.

As I searched for the words to fend Howie off, I realized there was a dark, shadowy figure in my peripheral vision.  I turned: Jesus, Mary, and Calatrava, it was Bosley.  I turned to Bosely and attempted to explain the situation: "Some teams want me to call the health department on some technical questions because I'm one of the few people they'll call back.  However, I don't want Frontier County to suffer."

Bosley made a polite facial expression of understanding.  I honestly think what he understood was that I was trying to push back against Howie, and Howie can be really pushy.  I don't know if he overheard the conversation starting and decided to step in and stop it or if he just happened to be walking by; either way, it was great timing.  As Howie began to ask Bosley if the Frontier County project needed help, Bosley raised one finger and cut him off: "She needs to be left alone until Tuesday morning so she can keep her head in the project."

Howie started to ask again, and Bosley cut him off yet again, gesturing to me as he spoke.  "Pixie needs to be left to work on the master plan--she's doing space planning and all the work is in her head.  Everytime she gets pulled away by a phone call or a code study, she can't keep her head focused on the master plan and get things done."

Howie responded with a tinge of resignation.  "So the answer is no, no extra help would allow her to work on this."

"No."  Bosley's voice was brilliantly final.

He then walked around to Howie's desk, and I could just overhear him explaining to Howie how he loaned me to Prudence for two days while he was gone to Frontier County, and that was all he could afford for me--if she didn't use me those two days while he was gone, then she lost her window.  He loaned me to Sven for one day and if Sven didn't use me on that day, then too bad so sad.  I smiled and turned up my headphones and started jamming as I worked out FCH's emergency department remodel.  I knew whatever Bosley was saying, even if it included anything about me having Shiny Object System (which I do have occasionally), it was ultimately in my defense and giving me the room I needed to get. stuff. done.


ms. kitty said...

Nice work, Pixie! It must be great to be busy and appreciated and even overly-needed all at the same time, especially when somebody sticks up for your needs.

Charlotte said...

I have nothing of substance to add, I just wanted to say I love the title of this post.

Mile High Pixie said...

Rev. Kit, it does feel good to be in demand and having someone stick up for you.

Charlotte, I'm so glad you got the joke on that! I was humming it all afternoon.

Wilderness Gina said...

Me thinks the ma-fa bettah git kevelar to go with the cup. I'm bringin it an he's NEXT.

Wilderness Gina said...

I'm wondering if when someone 'new' calls the Powers That Be what if they drop your name in their phone message? "Hi I'm Silly Person from DA. Pixie asked me to call RE: project..."
Waddayathink? Course they'd have to be polite and consise... um maybe not take the chance of ruining ur rep.