Monday, December 19, 2016

NewJob, Inc.

I got a new job! It's so great that it has absorbed most of my intellectual energy. This is really helpful because I have a lot of intellectual energy, and now that I'm starting Week #5, it's easier to sleep. It's nice, after years in the wilderness, to have a job that hits all the right notes for me. It's shockingly not-draining.

I currently manage 6 people across 3 teams, and a 7th starts in January, and then I have 6 more open reqs, plus an additional one which is one of those special-case "hire them if you can and we'll figure out the budget afterward" kind of things. Round about Week #3 I counted up the 13 people I'd be managing if I fill every opening,'s too many, especially across 3.5 product teams (a complicated number due to a special project X' which is the same as project X, but with people's time dedicated to X'). If you have 8 direct reports, you should hope that's your only job and no one expects you to write much code any more; without preventive measures, your quality of service as a manager degrades sharply, until, as a famous Valley manager says:
"If you've got 15 people working for you, you're not their manager, you're just the guy who grins uncomfortably as you infrequently fly by the office, ask how it's going, and then don't actually listen to the answer."
My mentor-VP used to say that once your "team" is 6 people or more, you actually have multiple teams, you just don't know it yet. Let's take 13 people, and factor in 3.5 products, and we can round it up to at least 15 people's worth of managing. Probably more like 17. My NewJob boss said "Yeah, I'm glad you noticed that...", but all there was to tell him was that I can do that, but I will be delegating things left and right. I'm telling my friends that I'm going to name 3 people as project leads, promote myself to Director, and take up golf.

It's a joke. Sort of.

It has already challenged my organizational skills. I knew I was getting serious when I renewed my Remember The Milk Pro™ account. RTM is one of the tools that arose to try and make money riding the Getting Things Done movement. I've been half-assing my task-tracking skills--my work ones, that is, since my personal-life task-tracking has never been more than half-assed--since my last full-time leadership gig ended in 2013. Now I have more responsibility, and more still to come, and there's no way I could keep all the plates spinning in my head, even if I were dumb enough to try. I've even added some basic organization to my email (Read / Respond / Action Required), so if you needed my input over email in 2014, I should now have no trouble finding it, and you can almost certainly expect a reply by this time in 2017.

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