Monday, January 2, 2012

Next on The Life of Pixie: Drama, rumors, and a little better pat on the back, Part 1

So Happy New Year and Feliz Nuevos Anos and all. I know I haven't been good at keeping y'all up with the goings-on at Design Associates recently, but the fact is I've been busy as hell just doing my job and trying to fight through some holiday/end-of-year irritation. Let's see if I can sum things up with any grace or coherence as we move into 2012.

I wrapped up the construction documents and a couple of addenda on Gestalt's Uber MOB right around Thanksgiving, and Jesus Mary and Renzo Piano was I looking forward to a slower December. But alas, 'twas not to be. So I had to go out of town for a three-day series of meetings that involved being away from Guy and home and kittehs and being with people who were for some reason rubbing me the wrong way. We added a new healthcare planner (and licensed architect) to our ranks earlier this year, and while I'm trying not to feel threatened, I feel, well, threatened. I felt like at times during those meetings that I was having to prove my skills and abilities and even the right to be at these meetings once again to a new person, and it pissed me off. I think Bosley's goal of putting this other planner and me on the same team is to get a sense of consistency in our healthcare planning processes, but it just felt sometimes like there was no point in including me on this. It felt like there were too many cooks in the kitchen.

And dammit, that pisses me off, that feeling of being extra and feeling like I have to prove myself yet again. Not only have I been at DA for more than a decade, but I think I've proven myself time and time again. I've gone above and beyond the call of duty and overdelivered. I'm done proving myself...and at the end of 2011, I found myself increasingly ready to ask for, if not demand, a promotion and a raise. Not just an "oh, well, things have been tough this year" raise, but a raise commensurate with the kind of work I'd been doing for the past year-plus. Howie and Sven and I had discussed a possible promotion for me a few months ago, and I had reached the point where it was put-up-or-shut-up time for DA's leadership.

Speaking of leadership, DA's partners hired a management consultant firm to talk to select members of DA and ask about DA's culture and management styles. They wanted to know what was working and what could be improved. And guess who was one of the people who got interviewed?

Oh yes. C'est moi.

So I shared with the consultants what worked (there was room for a variety of styles and goals of people to perform at their best, there's a lot of flexibility in the office culture that allows people to be themselves, the firm does good work and gives everyone a chance to contribute), and I shared what didn't work (roles and steps needed to achieve promotions are incredibly unclear and ill-defined, management is so nonconfrontational of problems and crappy people in the firm that they're just about avoidant of what are obvious issues). So they thanked me for my feedback and sent me on my way. Now, what you'll notice is that I didn't name names, but...some other people did.

Specifically, so many people mentioned Gregg, Guy's old boss, as a problem in the office that the management firm came to the partners and said, "Look, we gotta interview this guy. Too many people have called him out as a problem that we can't avoid it." So, they finally got a hold of Gregg (just as he doesn't respond to his team's entreaties for an answer or some input, he didn't respond at first or even at second to the consultant's requests for a meeting) and had a li'l chat. However, I have no info on the results of that chat, and I'm frankly a little despondent that anything might come of all these meetings. But part of my brain tickles on this whole process--if I were a betting gal, I'd bet that the partners do want to get rid of a few people, but they're so nonconfrontational/avoidant that they won't just say, "You suck, GTFO of here." Instead, they'll hire some management consultants and get them to collect the data that allows the partners to get rid of the person. By doing so, they can kinda shift the blame onto "them"--"other people" in the office, and the consultant. Regardless of the outcome, it will be interesting to see, what, if anything comes of this.

Next: time to pay the Pixie.


ms. kitty said...

I hope things go better this coming year, Pixie, in that they listen to your wisdom and recognize your talents and skills in a way that encourages and supports you as you continue to develop as an archyteck. (Do you know those songs by Robert Schmerz? I learned them from John Shaffer in Denver, a retired archyteck himself.)

Miss Kitty said...

EPIC WIN for your promotion & raise! Now go buy your kittehs some Fancy Feast!