I was a Living Dilbert Cartoon

dilbert-04.jpgTwice this week. First, I was told I had to write a proposal for a piece of work we could not win. This has been a 4 man day effort so far and will eat up more time next week. The sales guy agrees with my logic that we cannot win since in this one niche area we are far less qualified than other companies.

Yet… how can we not, says he. This is a big important company. The story goes on and on over several days. The sales guy gets other people to agree with him. None of these people are going to be putting in any time writing this thing. So now, if I refuse I am branded as uncooperative and will be shut off from other sales opportunities. Several days of my life will be spent being unproductive when I have actual revenue generating work to do instead.

The very next day even more fun ensued. The Admin Assistant that reports to me (lets call her Madame X) transfers to another department. Mind you she is not my AA but since she had to report to someone, she was assigned to me. It becomes my job to find new AA support for the eight people who used to use Madame X. There are 5 other AAs in the department and my boss tells me 3 have some capacity.

So how many senior people does it take to screw in a light bulb? Being the silly and naive guy I am, I think I should go to the AAs and ask them what their capacity is and find out who they might be able to take on. To avoid politics, so I thought, I copied their managers on a memo asking if I could meet with each AA individually and discuss what they might be able to do. Apparently I was the only one who thought that women between the ages of 40-60 should be treated as adults.

Within minutes 6 emails appear on my computer insisting that it is folly, folly I say, to have AAs make these decisions. We the managers must meet to make such important decisions. Two of these emails came from people with global responsibilities and one with regional responsibilities. Only one of the six voiced confidence that a 25 year veteran– meaning me– and the AAs could work this out. The thought that seven high level people who should be paying attention to customers needed to meet about this threw me into a fury. What BS. Fortunately before I went postal, my boss came by to ask if she could take this task off my hands.

I have worked my entire career for large companies. I expect some amount of bureaucracy. Mostly though I expect some Corporate type to make some decision that makes the life of the people in the field miserable. When it happens with others in the “family” it is beyond my comprehension.

Does Scott Adams take ideas for the strip?

About 48facets
What you read is what you get.

4 Responses to I was a Living Dilbert Cartoon

  1. Pingback: We Put the “Cult” in Culture at KnowHR Blog

  2. tomob says:

    Love this post. It is especially funny to me because your first example (proposing on business that COULD NOT be won) was the proximate cause of my resignation from my LAST big company job.

    Our small, successful company had been acquired by Merrill Lynch. In the prior year we had proposed on 25 new business cases. We won 18 of them. ML had proposed on something like 300 new business cases – and won 12 of them.

    First thing we agreed on was that our “qualify hard” model was better than ML’s propose on anything model. The problem is that if you are going to qualify hard, you will decline many, many RFP requests.

    Not too long after we agreed on this approach, I was asked by my boss to answer an RFP that we could not win. He agreed that we could not win it – but we needed to respond anyway.

    That was the day my resume started going out.

    Tom O’B

  3. 48facets says:

    Tom, after too long in this consulting biz I knew better but relied on logic and rationale thinking to carry the day. With sales guys I just needed to be firm and walk away. They could not do this without me and they will come back evenm if I so no every once in awhile.

  4. Pingback: Dilbert Stole My Idea « 48Facets

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