negative inspiration

Posted by anton
on Friday, October 07, 2005

this is an unfortunate quality of mine that I have noticed a while ago.

there is a number of pet projects that I always have around (conveniently summarized in the wiki) and complete on a loose timeline parallel to my direct work.

there is a person on the team that is a classic example of "hit and run" behavior - for a brief period of time he generates an insane amount of activity, climbs all the ladders, litters all mailboxes, calls meetings. then he loses interest, gets distracted, starts another project. this approach is also often called a "seagull syndrome" - fly in, crap all over the place, and fly out. he never completes anything fully, even his direct daily work, leaving things in half-assed state, which has earned him a well-deserved disrespect of his peers.

this person is also bent on climbing the political ladder, pissing off every single one of his teammates in the process. this has an effect of essentially making them sabotage any of his ideas, even if they are sound.

I strongly believe in joel's mantra of hiring people that are smart and get things done. it would make a great example if I could describe this guy as someone that is smart, but never gets things done, except that the former is not true at all.

whenever he turns to any of my pet tasks, I am forced to act, I scramble, motivated to get it done, because I do not want it to be ruined by his midas touch. it happened a number of times already, and made me pull together a few successful projects.

it is not that i never work on these projects by myself, but the danger of his intervention becomes an incentive.

ideally, one should be able to harness his energy and work together with him, but I simply cannot stand the sloppiness and his constant desire to rise above, and lead the way - "manage" - not together with people, but above them.

I am willing to give him a benefit of a doubt and attribute his managerial maneuvering behind our backs to simply a lack of understanding how to succeed in his ultimate goal of becoming a manager ("never ascribe to malice, that which can be explained by incompetence").

of course, this is a very selfish motivation - it is disheartening to see him trying to hijack a project I wanted to complete myself. I want to get it done properly, see it being used and take credit for the effort. I fully realize this and view this competition as unhealthy, even though it does result in a completed project.

I think it comes down to being open and trusting - with other people in similar situations I am able to surrender this possessiveness and try to carve out pieces we can individually work on. with him it is impossible, since one always fears that he would do things incorrectly, as well as try to suck the life out of the project by trying to "lead" it.

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