MasterPo says: This blog is about topics and issues that are of importance to me. I am not one of the countless blogging lemmings that are tripping over each other scurrying down the hill and off the cliff of blogging oblivion trying to write the greatest blog on the latest topic de'jour. Your comments are welcome.

January 24, 2010

Whose Fault Is It Anyway?

The professional work place is an obstacle course, laced with landmines and booby-traps, and like climbing a snow covered mountain has many deep crevasses hidden by a thin layer of what looks like transportable covering. You need skill, experience and BIG barrel of luck to survive every day! (which is one of the reason MasterPo gets so annoyed at people who poo-poo the money made by white collar professionals as "excessive" – who in their right mind who go through crap like this everyday for minimum wage?! But MasterPo digresses…)

During the course of events it is inevitable that some projects fall victim to these (and other) obstacles and perish, pushed to the bottom of the priority list to be smothered by the current avalanche of new higher priority work. Or, put on the shelf, frozen in a block of perpetual ice, never to see the light of day again. All this in spite of the weeks or months and hundreds if not thousands of man-hours of work put into them (and some really good work done too!).

Normally MasterPo would say that's life in the professional world. If you're looking for hands-on satisfaction from seeing the fruits of your labors completed and use go build a bridge instead. MasterPo has long ago come to terms that MasterPo's greatest accomplishments in life will be outside the work place.

But when the inevitable audit of the professional life happens (that is, you need to go on a job interview) and you're asked what have you accomplished – how can you truthfully answer that question?

For example, you've been working on a project pretty much exclusively for 8-9 months. Out of the blue the upper powers-that-be decide instead of doing it in-house they're going to hire a service to do it instead. Maybe the costs are better. Maybe the service has a feature they feel is too valuable to loose. Maybe the service belongs the VP's brother-in-law (don't think that doesn't happen!!). Whatever. Doesn't matter. The fact is 8-9 or more months of work just got shit-canned.

So what did you really accomplish? You kept your job and these days that is an accomplishment unto itself.

But substantively, what?

You generated a lot of paperwork.
Held many meetings. Send thousands of emails.
But all to naught.

So when someone asks "What did you accomplish?" or even just "Is it being used now?" if you are to answer truthfully how can you without looking bad? (i.e. all your work tossed aside)

But that then begs the question: Is it your fault? Should you take any blame for the project being cancelled or indefinitely suspended?

You didn't make the decision to cancel or suspend it.You didn't have any control or input into the decision.

So why should you?

Since the questioner/interviewer can't speak to your senior managers about it that leaves you in the hot seat for the project.

MasterPo thinks the answer is simple: Lie!

Lie like a rug about it.

When they ask you about the project talk as if it went through to completion and is the greatest thing since beer in a can. Then hope they don't have a way to confirm what you're saying (most job references won't speak of work specifics officially so you have a 50-50 chance).

But more over, the main issue MasterPo wants you to ponder is: Should you take the blame in life for a project that didn't complete when you did not have any input or control on the final decision?

Life is tough enough without taking the heat for things you can't control.

Think about it.

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