Friday, August 12, 2005

Taking charge, tentatively

This week I got my first real taste of management. I started with some of the scary parts. One of the upper managers walked into my cube and without so much as a 'hello' to announce his presence and let me change gears, he began grilling me about how I planned to correct some billing mishap I had never heard of. With all the presence of mind I could muster, I listened as carefully as I could, plead lack of knowledge (true) and told him I'd get back to him. Then I called headquarters and asked for help.

This week I also got my first inkling that I might, just maybe, be suited for this job. I had always been just a rank-and-file engineer before. What has previously been an annoyingly high tendency toward distractability might now come in very, very handy as multitasking. True, I will need to adjust the balance. Besides managing, I still have more than enough of my own work to do.

I think my propensity for talking to coworkers may serve me well here, too. While I hope never to be one of those people who demands that the entire department attend a weekly meeting, need it or not, communication of various forms will continue to be essential. I'm even getting over my phone shyness rapidly.

The woman whose job I'm suddenly taking over left two weeks ago, well before I was confident in my understanding of the role. I must say, I have a whole new appreciation for what she did. The handful of people in the department under her left, too, so I get to use my tenuous understanding to train their replacements. Teaching, though, will force me to understand it thoroughly myself, and allow me to meet the new people.

It is too soon to tell whether the grass is greener here or not. So far, I am nervous, but optimistic.


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