Sunday, June 28, 2009
While practicing for the interview this week, I finally had a chance to talk to Howie about his behavior over the past couple of weeks. I started by asking him how he thought the economy and Design Associates looked. He described some things he'd seen that were good signs and tings that didn't give him much hope, but overall we were just trying to keep things steady. I asked if there was anything we (Team Howie) should know about, like are we about to do another round of layoffs. His response was no, and so I said, "Well, just checking, because I don't know if you know this or not, but you haven't been acting like yourself lately."
Howie sat back in his conference room chair a bit. "Really?" he said, looking genuinely surprised and interested.
"Yeah," I replied with a slightly pained expression. "You've been a little more impatient lately, and...well, one of the things we all like about working for Team Howie is that you never make it personal or say anything rude or snippy, even when it's our fault for messing something up, but lately it seems you've been a little more impatient, and some of your comments have been, ah, rather sharp. And it's not like you to be like that--ever--so we were wondering if maybe you were nervous about some layoff coming, or maybe if we don't get this project some of us need to start getting our resumes together--"
"No, not at all," Howie replied. "There's no excuse for me to act that way, but yeah, part of it is working for Bosley again after a break from Pomme de Terre. He can be pretty tough to work for."
"Very true," I agreed. "He'll say things occasionally that make me go, 'where the hell did that come from?' so I'm glad to know it's not just me."
"--and that's no excuse, but that's part of it," Howie continued. "Part of it's also that I have to go after work, and...going after work is a slow process, so when I've spent a lot of time doing slow stuff, all I want is 18 things right now."
I said, "I can totally understand that. It's like being stuck in traffic for half an hour on your exit ramp, and finally when the traffic clears--"
"--I punch the gas and go straight into a concrete wall!" Howie finished. This made me laugh pretty hard, because unlike most overly pushy people, Howie is aware of how his M.O. can backfire.
So we talked some more about management and scheduling and trying to stay busy, and when all was said and done, Howie thanked me for mentioning it to him and asking if all was well. I wouldn't say anything to him unless I knew that he knew how to act better, and I'm glad I finally mentioned it. He seems like he's been in a better place for the past couple of days, and hopefully that will hold until we get some more work in the office that allows everyone to breathe a little more.