Monday, April 07, 2008

I had a one-on-one with my manager's skip-level manager not too long ago. When the invitation came from his assistant I did not know what it might portend. It must, if nothing else, mean something. We all got an invitation, my manager too. He called me when the agreed upon day and time arrived.

"I want to hear from you. I want to hear your thoughts and concerns," he declared. There was the unmistakable sound of whining in the background, of one, maybe two unhappy brats.

"Good, I've got some questions -"

"Justin! Calm down!"

Fumbling noises. And are those wiper blades?

"I'm calling from the car. I'm taking the kids to school," he explained.

"Oh, OK."

"Go on, I'm listening."

"I'm a bit worried about our sales goals."

He gave a somewhat halting explanation of why things were gonna be alright. Then his vision of where the technology might go, interrupted for a few seconds as his children leapt out like paratroopers and he edged back into the stream of traffic. Some calm descended, as though he'd walked into the coatroom of a noisy restaurant, but he still gave the impression of being too busy to listen, too harried to care. We talked about some mumbo-jumbo. Then we thanked each other for our time and I hung up.