I went out to Oilcan Harry's on Thursday night with Skitzfiggitous, and she asked me what I've been doing during my vacation. I told her I spent one day reading a book about … management. Her reaction was the same as mine — surprise.
I told her about a prediction Kramer made last year. He told me to look into taking a management class, or to read a book about management. He sees management in my future. I made noises to Skitzfiggitous about how I don't consider myself management material, and she said, "Yes you are."
Maybe I'm revising history or something, but the last time I tried my hand at management, I sucked at it. First, I was the features editor at Ka Leo O Hawai`i, then managing editor. It didn't take me long to develop the reputation of bad cop, and I struggled with filling my section with copy because, well, I scared the hell out of my writers. I felt a lot of frustration because I wanted to do some ambitious things without having to provide instruction first. Hell, I thought that was what classes were for. I wanted writers who were ready to do the job. They weren't. Not till after I was done with them.
(The conventional wisdom, of course, was that the paper was the real learning experience, and classes were something you did to get the degree.)
After college, some supervisory positions opened up at Austin 360, and I was passed over for them every time. It turned out for the best, really, because I probably would have gone through the same kind of power trip I did at the student newspaper. Those votes of no confidence, however, spurred me to think more laterally, and I learned web development. Goodbye, editorial! Fuck the corporate ladder!
So back to last night with Skitzfiggitous telling me I was manager material.
I told her to explain to me just what I was doing to give off that impression. I know what kind of manager I am — one who rules with an iron fist and is just as willing to rain shit on people as shit was rained upon me. She had a laundry list.
First, I'm opinionated about things about which I know, which, to her frustration, is a lot. That kind of expertise gives off a manager vibe, I guess. She also said I have a better understanding of big picture stuff than some managers she's encountered. I'm also not the kind of person who takes shit from anyone, but I'm not inaccessible either. I understand the former; the latter, I still don't get.
Skitzfiggitous said she pictures me in a managerial role but not at our workplace. I don't picture that either.
I've designed my career in such a way to avoid management altogether. I consider myself a tool, something you use to make a job easier. You want what to do what? Sure, I can script something to do exactly that. Just … leave me alone.
Before the new year, I was one of two people in charge of a committee to update a specific web tool. I've mentioned it before. Something tells me that's my leadership style.
Deity save us now.