Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Manager! Really?

I, like most other adults I know, have spent the greater part of my life employed, working a job to keep a roof over the families head and groceries on the table.  Nearly four years ago I retired from my long time government job and came back onto the workforce as a contractor, working in the next desk over from my old one, working for the person who had replaced me.  That lasted a bit over two years until the contract changed hands and I decided that part time would be better than full time.  The company with the new contract choose to allow that option on my part and I became a part time employee, having more time to invest in other interests.

Throughout the 40 years of my working life I had managed to stay out of management, at least people management, and I liked it that way.  But late last year all that began to change.  It started with a layoff from the programming job and an offer to work part time helping to manage the interests of my employer (AKA, the company) on the Navy base where I had been employed for the past 32 years.  This was actually a great opportunity.  I could now work from home an hour or two a day, draw a little bit of a pay check, and try out retirement a bit more.  After about 4 months of this bliss my boss asked me how I would feel about having a lobotomy and becoming an actual people manager.  Yikes!

Some portion of this past Christmas season was spent considering this frightening generous offer.  Since I had managed to survive cancer surgery I finally decided that I would likely be able to survive the lobotomy as well and agreed to take the position.  But only after ensuring that I would still be able to work part time and at home in my pj's.  And that this year's month long PCT trek would not be in danger.  And so, in mid February, I became a manager, fully completing my journey to the dark side.

It all seemed so simple on the surface.  Sign time sheets for my four employees every other week, make sure they do their on-line training as required and do an annual performance appraisal for each one.  All of their real work would be given to them by their government customer.  I knew all the people, thought I knew what to expect and figured it should be no problem taking care of whatever minor issues would come up.

Did I say 4 employees?  Make that 6 now.  And still with 3 more positions to fill.  Interviews, hiring, badges,  security, etc, etc, etc..  And the manager's manual that is supposed to tell you what your responsibilities are and how to do them?  It's a myth, at least as far as I can tell.  Hardly a day has gone by that something new does not sneak up and jump me from behind.  The two levels of management above me have been great helping me through this, but I have no doubt that they end many a day laughing at what they managed to sucker me into.

In all seriousness, it has been an interesting first few weeks, and still looks to be something that will be doable without adding much stress to my relatively stress free life.  It has been somewhat challenging for a hermit like myself, but I believe a challenge that will be good for me; or so I keep telling myself.  And it gives Sue and I something else to laugh about as well.

And, by the way, I still get to do the job I was doing late last year, at least for a few more months.  If I'm not careful I might actually have to put in a full day at some point in the future; perish the thought!  Maybe when this gig is all done I can take up juggling!

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