Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

Carefully controlling chaos...

So after I've been on the job for three weeks, my boss left on a 2.5wk vacation to France. And it sounds like an *amazing* trip (I'm appropriately jealous :). No worries there. The tricky part is that he left me in charge. hahaha classic eh? Now those who've known me for longer than the blog's been in existence, which I'm sure is like 90% of the handful of people reading this, will know this is not the first time I've been left in charge of somebody else's business, and is certainly the most undramatic reason for it. But it IS the first time I've been left in charge of a business I know very little about! It's one thing to take over when you know the business, know the clients, can preform the roles of any and all staff if necessary, and have a strong support system in place. It's quite another when you only know bits and pieces about the clients, can't do anybody's job but your own, and speaking intelligently about the business is an prime example of the supreme art of bs.

hahaha but like all good managers, I've mastered the twin techniques of delegating and deferring! That and I work with some really amazing people so those techniques actually work *g* Had to laugh though cause one of the things that was left on my plate was to write a proposal for company X. No problem, I've written proposals before, I know how this works. Oh wait, this is a design firm. They don't write proposals -- they draw them! I have *never* seen a proposal as fancy as the ones they turn out. N of course have absolutely no idea how to go about creating such an item. Ok so the guys are really busy cause, well we have a ton of work and one of our people is in France, so have to figure out how to do this. CS degree would indicate I'm reasonably proficient with a computer, should be no problem right? uh huh. Shall we revisit that statement with even a modicum of technological experience...?

First step was to locate on the server our previous proposals (I know fully well there's no template -- there certainly *will* be after this game but as of yet, it does not exist). Ok so turns out there's a step before step one, that'd be "turn server on". hahaha welcome to a small firm. So server boots and I find some examples of old proposals. They're stunning. Brilliant works of art. All in pdf format. Which of course means I can't actually use them as anything other than decoration. Ok now at least I know what I'm looking for. Search around a little more and find the design files. Woohoo. Open one up and . . . PINK. Yup that's right. The text is all distorted and the entire document is pink! Now I may be new to this, but somehow that just didn't seem *quite* right. So went and turned on boss' computer and found the same file there. Sure enough, no pink. Turns out that while my mac does have all the design software on it, it is lacking many of the plugins that the design guys use all the time. So no biggie, I'll just work from my boss' computer. One computer's the same as another right? (right about now all the techies are having a great laugh at that)

Well the first thing is, he has two monitors. TWO. Never in my life have I worked with two monitors on one machine before. Why do you need two monitors? All this I'm muttering to myself as random windows are appearing and disappearing in strange and unusual ways (again, keep in mind, it's a mac environment which I'm still not entirely comfortable with. One time I gave up entirely and had to ask one of the guys where my window had gone! Way to feel like an idiot.). Anyways, I have to admit by the time I was done with this procedure I'd come to LOVE the two screens and was very sad to have to return to my one lonely one. Once I figured out where things were going it was soooooo much easier! hahhaa Ok so to reset the screen - I'm working on a mac that's not mine and that has things set to display in strange and unusual locations but despite this I found several files and got them open. Picked the one closest to what I have to do and decided to use that as a template. Promptly start moving things around. Or trying to anyways. Turns out things don't move in the way I expect them to. N in fact often do decidedly what I do *not* expect. So revised that decision, turns out things are perfectly good in the order they're in :) Edit some text, get things pretty, the world is good. Except the footer still has the old client's name in it. And I cannot for the life of me figure out how to change it. Read through all the menu options, look for a template or a master slide, nothing. Ok now comeon, it clearly got put there in the first place, there has to be a way to change it. Well remember the whole delegate and defer thing? Yup go to the top designer "I need to borrow your expertise" - it's amazing what a response that can get :) So he comes over and gives me a crash course in this particular software (including how to reorg those pages!) n two mins later we're off n running. World is good. Proposal is typed, pretty pics are in place, appropriate samples included, all is well except the actual quote... Yeah turns out I have *no* idea what this type of project involves! hmmm perhaps boss really *should* have done this before he left as he was supposed to eh? hahaha hindsight's a nasty little bugger, esp when he comes along w/ his little brother "I told you so". But that's for my boss to deal with after he gets back, by which point we'll have the contract or not and it will be pretty well a non-issue. To be fair, I did ask those who've been involved in proposals before their opinion and then used it exactly as suggested. No point in deferring to the expert if you're not going to apply what they say eh?

But seriously, all this turned a half-hour job into a half-day job. I'm starting to see why I never get out of here on time. On the plus side, I @ least have some idea what I'm doing now so future ones shouldn't be quite so traumatic. And I must say, I turned out a very pretty looking proposal >;-} N yes I freely acknowledge I didn't actually have anything to do w/ the actual design, but surely that's a *minor* detail hahaha

Now by the end of this day I've been sitting staring @ a monitor (or two) for about 11h. Haven't really eaten much. Haven't gotten to enjoy the amazing weather. Am working up a pretty good pitty-party for myself that's only slightly salved by the fact that there's no traffic (yeah March break!) on the drive home. Now I'm supposed to go to spinning class (where all sorts of strange women spin around in circles till they crash.... oh wait no, this'd be the sit on a bike and pedal fast version), and am sort of wavering between "do I go, don't I go" but my car gets off at that exit (all by itself!) so to spinning I go... Now I get there and doesn't the instructor (who I have to admit is absolutely amazing) tell us "today's going to be a really hard one. We're going to do an endurance stretch to warm up and then straight up-hill the rest of the ride." You have GOT to be kidding me. Well I have to admit it was a great workout n definitely spun away the stresses of sitting at a desk all day, but still... A *little* excessive >;-P hahaha

Ok well now it's back to fun and games at the office.



LOL!!!! Welcome to life at a small design firm... I did it for years. It's always trial by fire, but amazing fun if you're working with the right people!


hahaha yeah it's a good group here -- fairly entertaining :)


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