Wednesday, November 15, 2006


BY FAR my favorite game at the arcade is pop a shot. The adrenaline of racing the clock, the challenge of a constantly moving rim and backboard, the feeling of accomplishment when tickets pour out of the machine, or the competitive nature in me that erupts when I get only a couple of tickets and quickly anty up for the next go. It's ironic that this scenario is appealing to me, yet I am completely deflated in a work environment when I encounter a task that is a moving target.

Employees face this challenge in every industry. IT project managers who work tirelessly to get a team cohesive and briefed and BAM "Mr/Ms PM, we have reevaluated and it's in our best interested to dissolve your team and go another way" or the Advertising Exec who pours their heart and soul into a campaign only to have it squashed at the last minute. After writing those two scenarios I am immediately mad for these fictional characters and have already have thoughts of what I would say in that situation. But why? Is it this so different than pop a shot? Why don't I immediately think "I can't wait to go back to the the drawing board and anty up my resources and knowledge and see if I can't win them over!"

I think it all lies in expectations. I know what is about to happen when I step up with a tiny rubber basketball in my hands and wait for the countdown to expire before I start firing. In work for some reason we have this unrealistic expectation that people are going to have ideas and opinions and keep them... FOREVER. It's like asking a child what they want in line at McDonalds and getting frustrated because at first they wanted the hamburger, but now it's chicken nuggets, but right before you order they scream "ice cream." Now granted in that situation I would not set myself up for frustration by asking a child's opinion, but in the work environment we don't have that luxury. We are forced to listen and adapt to the higher ups if we want to remain employed. There is of course the option of "chunking it all and starting your own think tank."

My advice to myself and of course any of you reading that share my frustration is to alter your expectations a bit. Acknowledge people and situations change and make your success about the experience and not necessarily the end result. After all more than likely I go back to pop a shot not because I win, but because I like basketball.

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