Tuesday, January 29, 2008


:) A little nod here to Douglas Adams although I’m actually listening to a book on tape by Stephen Frey right now. I’m quite annoyed with it frankly (but that’s another essay/rant/ramble). .. In the studio I listen to books on tape and I float between medical and corporate type mystery/thriller genera books. Usually mysteries and similar style writing keep me riveted in the studio. Whereas TV or radio in the background serve as negative background noise because these make me get up more often to “stretch” when commercials come on (repeat commercials are especially grating).

Anyhow, Frey writes financial corporate style books. I was musing about that corporate/financial side of my past life tonight when doing barn chores (happy grateful-not-to-be-there musings!) :) You would think “webmaster/graphic designer” wouldn’t have much to do with boards of directors and investors & the like, but unfortunately my position did. Assisting with materials right down to a bankers dinner once with the top execs (very posh little affair but I think they just needed more female representation more than anything). In the end, when the department was down to me and this other fellow for the most part, my responsibilities became both a lot more involved (sometimes more interesting), and sometimes extremely stressful as I hadn’t handled all the project details in previous years because the prior manager was extremely good at her job. My last & final manager/coworker/partner in chaos however was this Yale edumacated pharmacist (who mentioned his alma mater ALWAYS when meeting anyone –can you say puke?!!) who’d decided to become a marketing manager because retail pharmacy was boooooring (boohoo – still doesn’t make you qualified to be a good manager imo). Well if you have a Yale degree you can do anything, right? :D Have you seen “Office Space”? He stood around a LOT with his coffee cup ALL the time asking Bill Lumbergh-esque questions and otherwise said “everything is great” when anyone of importance asked. Anyhow, the prior non-Yale gal who filled his shoes managed things quite efficiently & the way you might expect – making lists, checking them off, following up.. apparently Yale however teaches you that saying “everything is great” makes it so.

Righto, so flash forward to the annual investor’s meeting being held in the same city (thank god), early one morning. The evening before I asked about the meeting’s annual report agenda. This was something that was printed out nicely at a printers (in the past) with a very formal feel (think graduation or wedding hand outs perhaps if you are trying to fathom what this is?). My part of the deal was the create the document, pass the file on, and the manager either printed it in-house on specialty paper or had this small publisher in the city do it. That year however, to save money, we’d discussed having it printed in-house on thicker paper. Well that was my biggest contribution really to the matter. Sure I helped polish up the CEO & CFO’s presentations.. but mostly, I provided a few printed materials for these particular events. Righto – so I ask him “are the agendas all set?” and he says “don’t worry [holding coffee up with a smile], everything is all set”. Next morning I turn to him outside the conference room of the hotel and ask where these agendas are …and suddenly he gets a blank face.

Dude. It’s less than one hour before the event.

Right. Don’t panic.

I do however RUN.

Plan forming as I’m dashing down the stairs. I have to retrieve my car from a parking garage below the building. As I shoot out onto the street like some sort of gangster movie stunt driver I’m calling the ONE woman at the company who can save me: the I.T. administrative assistant. The I.T. assistant is blessedly there. She confirms she does indeed has file access permissions that allow her to get into my files – one of the few, because she’s I.T.. She confirms she also has file access of course to PRINT to any printer in the company – another thing only a few had access to. The crazy plan just might work! I give her the IDs of three printers over in my branch. I am also driving like a maniac. Tires squealing around corners and blowing through red lights when it won’t cause an accident with any oncoming traffic. This is a long drive through the city streets even though it’s only a few miles as the crow flies away. This miracle woman (who saved our jobs really), gets “the plan” in a heartbeat and queues up the file appropriately to all these printers. Next call – to the administrative assistants who sit closest to these printers. Bless them all too for knowing how serious the situation was. They run to the printers, inform me they’re printing ok, and – ready???! -> Because it gets more complicated (!!!) they then pull the sheets out and FLIP the printed pieces over properly in the printer to print two sided folded copies so the next queued printings appear on the back (delicate 1x only chance to print in the right direction & coordination with the woman back in the other branch). They coordinated this tricky part with her – and they all worked like a team that had done this (never before done of course) print/flip/print maneuver like they did it every day. Madness. Then they pull them out and fold them. Meanwhile; I have miraculously also gotten a parking spot on the first floor of the branches parking garage. I am literally running in my leetle heels past the security woman who eyeballs me but knows it’s got to be serious so she says nothing. Up a painfully long elevator ride and I am met at the door by an admin who has (god bless them all!) run to each printer and admin and collected the 2 sided, folded agendas that are all burning hot and damp still from the printers. Back down. Back out. Another rip roaring ride squealing around corners. Back to the hotel. Back up the halls. The meeting is starting - the doors are almost ready to be closed and the CEO’s admin gratefully takes them from me calmly walks away and passes them around to the investors like nothing ever happened (she knew damn well how close it was) and passes them out to the investors calmly while I back into some corner and catch my breath.

I can’t say for certain that the SEC requires agendas for annual meetings but they are certainly very very much expected by investors at the very least. Let alone the CFO & Finance Director who both laid out what needed to be on these in great detail with me (requiring a few rounds of proof-reading and approvals). In short: it would have been quite a BIG issue for me had they not been there. That’s all I needed to know.

Honest to god, Mr. Lumberg-Yale-man was still standing around casually with his idiotic coffee cup dopy demeanor and looking at me like I had messed up. And truthfully I had: I listened to him. DOH! In all candor, to this day I’m honestly not sure he didn’t do it intentionally as sabotage.. it was near to the time when the next group to lay off was being selected and we had a lot of overlap in our jobs at that point – so it’s hard to say. He said “I’ve got it all under control” all the time and he truly just could have been being daft and not paying attention. Or he could really be a brilliant little slime. Dunno – don’t care. Bottom line was shame on me really for not following up more thoroughly on it by asking to see one.

In summary however; even though I was stressed – I wasn’t “panicked”. I was merely in a state of an extremely high adrenaline surge. Hahaha! And I am a bit of an adrenaline junky. ;) It’s quite amazing though how if you don’t panic things have a funny way of working out.

Reflecting further though, in truth the Lumberg dude’s “everything is great” is a philosophy that works too. It became so. Hahaha!

Today I had a (chuckles) “bad” brief moment (it’s so hysterical what I now consider stressful), when I lost my credit card I’d used this morning. I was replaying my day over and over and thinking of where I could have left it. Again, “Don’t panic” sprang to mind as I drove my same-poor much older and more dilapidated car home. I decided I would find the card in due time. And I did. Because saying it made it so. :D Now I am just nicer on my vehicles and don’t feel the need to put my life in danger with reckless driving. I’m learning to keep repeating to myself “everything is great”. Even when the chips are down and things seem quite dire. Because sometimes saying it makes it so.

SO! I hope all reading this are having a nice sane and panic free day out there. J I am working up to having many exciting VISUAL things to actually share here soon… but until then, wishing you all the best.

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