Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Borrowing Brains

Recently, a coworker of mine left our office to re-enter the big world of behind-the-scenes politics. She had applied for a job in L.A. and our Fresno office was really rooting for her. I know she has a passion for what she is doing now because when she was describing the requirements of her new job--namely, raising millions of dollars for a particular political candidate in a matter of weeks--she had a huge smile on her face.

My nausea level was somewhere between "long car ride" and "loopy-loop roller coaster" as I imagined having that same responsibility.


I guess someone has to do that kind of thing.

Anyway, now that she is tackling that job, the office she's left behind has redistributed some of her work. In splitting up her former projects, I think I got a good deal.

I'm working on some of her projects with clients that are readily available, are well-informed, and are generous with their information. While most of our clients are smarterrific, they are also on time constraints. I am counting my blessings that my clients have time for my calls and e-mails.

It's just too bad that along with her extensive notes and examples of past reports that I couldn't get a flash drive with my former coworker's brain powers in it. There are just some things that the person who has worked on a project for so long just knows.

When you're with someone for so long, you have information that you assume is inherent but is actually subtly learned over time. You know the client's history. You learn their operations and bureaucracy (if applicable*). You might even learn their favorite breakfast pastry over a meeting or two.

When meeting yesterday with one of these very clients, I could feel myself asking questions that I knew my co-worker would have covered months ago. It was sort of like being a pinch-hitter on a date: "Sorry so-and-so couldn't make your movie date, but I can take us for pizza. Oh, you're lactose intolerant? Hmmm, funny, that wasn't in my notes...."

I just need time to get caught up.

You know, caught up before the client's deadline in two weeks.

*Who am I kidding: it's always applicable.

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