Music for the Masses

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Fear and Panic in the Air

So, this morning, I've been working on this bug-reporting process document. Earlier, I met with one of our our project managers so he and I could go over the steps and verify them as accurate. I drafted up a document and sent it out for review.

A couple of hours went by. I've been working on some other projects, catching up on email ... regular work stuff. All of a sudden, I got a skype message from my team lead. "Hey, could you come in here?" He was in one of the conference rooms.

I don't have a logical explanation for it, but my immediate reaction was one of sheer fretting and dread. I honestly expected to go in there and face some kind of consequence for something I wasn't even aware that I had done. I felt like the proverbial lamb being led to slaughter. Not helping things is the fact that the conference room is glass all around, allowing me to see straight to my lead for about the last 25-30 feet. On the table with him was a pink sheet.

Come to find out, all the worry and panic was for naught; he only wanted to go over the draft I had sent him, the comments for which were mostly complimentary. The rest were comments phrased like, "Here's where I can see this being improved. What do you think?"

I guess it's just conditioning. In my last job, I very rarely ever heard anything of a positive nature from anyone--management, team members, peers ... anything that was discussed was always of a negative nature. Having been on the inside and now able to look in from the outside, it's an incredibly un-positive environment. Granted, I had one lead who went out of his way to be complimentary, but I sometimes wonder how much of that was genuine and how much of it was smoke being blown where smoke doesn't belong.

So now I'm in this great, positive environment, where there's an atmosphere of total open communication and unity. I guess I'm still not used to it. At my old place, it seemed like it was "every man for himself," as it were. On all levels: internal, external, contractors, government ... there just wasn't the feeling of one-ness, even though everyone's goal was to "support the war fighter."

I guess it's still gonna take some time to get used to being complimented for my work. It's definitely a good feeling, and I'm sure I'll get used to it eventually ... it'd just be nice to get to that feeling without the preceding fear and panic as to why I'm being called into an impromptu, one-on-one meeting.

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