Monday, September 15, 2008

Da Big Man. Me.

More and more in my life I find myself being in charge.

Yep, all we need is a plague of locusts and we got ourselves a real, down home, old fashioned apocalypse.

Here's a tangent before I even get going; did you know there's a significant portion of the US population who are actively waiting for the end times of Revelation? And I thought being stood up for a blind date was bad. Ba-boom ching!

Anyway, in various aspects of what I do, I am in charge. I am self identified in this blog as a writer, so some people reading this might be confused. Not those who will read it any time soon, because you both know exactly what it is I do. But maybe someone reading in the far future. Or, possibly, aliens. Or, remotely, Vancouverites. In most people's minds, a writer is not a leader of men. A writer is not a captain of industry, or a long suffering, but well meaning middle manager. A writer is a solitary figure, sitting along at an old timey typewriter, watching as it turns into an insect.

Sorry, I David Cronenberged for a second. Did I get any on you?

In the type of stuff I do, I often work with other people - mainly other writers, but also with other types who work hard day and night to realize the things that I "write," and by write I mean things that end up in my word doc after I drop a bowling ball on my keyboard. The suckers.

While I consider myself to be pretty good at what I do, I'm not sure I'm a natural boss. You see, I have had very few bosses in my life - way less, I'm sure, than your average bear. And the few bosses I have had aren't really great role models. There was the KFC manager who was stealing the from the cleaning fund, who had me come in at 10 one morning, handed me a well worn J cloth and a greasy bucket and said, "Clean everything by noon. Ceilings, floors, fryers, everything." And then there was the telemarketing boss who'd get all coked up and yell at us. Or the other telemarketing boss who spent all day creating and maintaining a roster of fake employees and pocketing their pay cheques. There was the washed up, drunk, B movie director who called me, "A waste of time." Oh, and I have to mention my boss on my first professional writing gig whose managerial style was limited to a single email, "Helllllllooooooooooo!? I wouldn't keep me waiting." (You can't blame him for not being more hands on - he was living in three houses at the time. You ever try to live in more than one place at once? It's exhausting.)

I could go on, but let's summarize. I've had some bad bosses.

So when it comes to being the boss myself, I don't have very much in the way of a positive role model. I just try to govern as I myself would like to be governed. Basically, I try to function on a simple principal - that some day, those who I'm in charge of now will be in charge of someone else. They may even still be working for me as I move up the ladder. While I'm very conscious of the work that needs to get done, I'm also trying to let people discover things on their own. After all, the more work they can do unsupervised, the less work for me! And all that other stuff about building for the future.

I'm only just starting in my career, and I have a lot to learn. I'm grateful for the chance to test the waters of being responsible of the work of other people in (thus far) arenas where it is not life or death.

What's that? Life or death, you ask? Surely, such hyperbole belongs to the realm of soldiers and hunky, blonde, ripped paramedics?

Nope. Writing is a blood sport. Now get back to work!

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