Thursday, March 29, 2007

Welcoming CYA


CYA is alive and well at my agency. Apparently the issues I raised at the meeting with the BIG boss, the meeting where I declared by departure, didn’t end there.
At a meeting last week purposely held when I wasn’t available (Darfur vigil), my boss announced that BECAUSE I HAD GONE TO SEE THE BIG BOSS, a (high-price) contractor had been engaged to check out some of the problems I had mentioned. The "gang of four" apparently blanched and started arguing that we didn’t need outsiders to be scrutinizing our work. If I had been there, I would have been wearing a huge smile on my face as I said YES! Instead after the fact, I pledged to my boss my intention to cooperate fully with the contractor.
Yesterday was the first meeting with the contractor. It was extremely interesting to see how the participants positioned themselves at the large 4-sided table. The expensive-suited contractors were on one side. My staff and I were on the second side. My boss seated herself among the "gang of four", just about as far away from me as she could possibly sit. Then there was the COTR for the contractor who works directly for the BIG boss. So far she seems rather neutral.
My boss seemed quite nervous as she made the opening remarks. At one point she sort of laughed a little nervous laugh and declared that she knew nothing of the technical details. That couldn’t be more true. The "gang of four" had rather grim looks on their faces.
My confidence was buoyed as the head contractor began to speak. As he invited us to send him documentation including things like requirements and test plans, I realized I was finally dealing with someone who understood "processing best practices".
One of the gang got on his soapbox and pleaded that he shouldn’t need to supply any documentation because he had done similar work for another application. The contractor quickly shut him down and didn’t buy it.
I spent the rest of the day pulling together a boatload of documentation and shipping it off to the contractor. I rather enjoyed this, looking at it as a possibility to totally vindicate myself on the way out the door.
The real highlight of my day was my visit to my division’s retirement specialist to turn in my paperwork. I stared in disbelief at a folder two inches thick that contained every personnel action for my 36-year career. As I signed on the dotted line, it all became real. On the long walk back to my office, I think I was skipping. I know I was smiling.

14 Comments:

Blogger media concepts said...

Liberation is fun. Vindication is more fun. How about revenge? Do you have any thoughts of throwing some whoppers on the way out, in the form or memos or otherwise? I have never done it, but it sounds like it could be fun.

1:25 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Now there's an interesting thought... I have mentally written a departing letter to my boss, the director, lots of people. I could say so many things that would make me feel like I had the last word. We'll see. When I left the FBI, at age 22, after having been there for all of 3 months, I wrote a scathing letter to J. Edgar Hoover. He probably never saw it, but it was important for me.

2:02 PM  
Blogger steve said...

They say you are truly past it when you can write the goodbye letter and then not send it. I would assume they have done or will do an Exit Interview. after 36 years, are getting your Gold watch?
"Best Practice"...good words
"The standard of value for a Work Relationship is my Best Effort in exchange for yours"

2:23 PM  
Blogger goatman said...

So waddelse is new? Busy Busy.
Neat post.

5:10 PM  
Blogger goatman said...

Just saw your post on the FBI experience. Now there is something that you can draw on later . . . "glad I had the sense".
Welcome to freedom.

5:14 PM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

I'm smilin' with you all the way back down that hall!
What goes around comes around.

6:29 PM  
Blogger Ulysses said...

I'm glad you got to see that your opinions and experience can still count and have an effect there.

7:51 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Steve -- Gold watch, are you kidding? This is the govt! The only "metal" I ever got was the 10-year, 20-year, and 30-year pins and believe me, they are nothing to write home about.

Goatman -- You mean, glad I had the sense to LEAVE the FBI? Yes, that was one of the better decisions I made in my career.

MOI -- Yes, beaming!

Ulysses -- Not so fast. They hired the contractor. They haven't written a report yet. I'm just hoping they see things the same way I do.

10:00 PM  
Anonymous David said...

I like what Steve said, "They say you are truly past it when you can write the goodbye letter and then not send it.". I think that's probably the right approach.

10:12 PM  
Blogger Pauline said...

Given the press interoffice government memos are getting just now, I think I'd merely gloat and let my work speak for itself. Revenge has a way of coming back to bite. Glad you're going through with retirement plans and better still, that you're leaving vindicated.

10:13 PM  
Blogger Old Lady said...

As my great-grandmother used to say, "The wind don't blow up one dog's ass forever"

7:55 AM  
Blogger Old Lady said...

Uh oh, just saw the J. Edgar Hoover thing. Yup, you had a file!

7:56 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Every bit of news that you've relays since deciding to retire just broadens the smile on my face. I am glad that you're leaving on a positive note, that you are right.

3:35 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

I had a similar experience at my first job. The company was having lots of quality problems. I had been complaining a lot about issues, but upper management kept coming back saying it was the techs being to rough with the equipement - postal sorting machines. I explained, I treated it with kid gloves, but they could be certain the posties wouldn't. As it happened they were experiencing massive failures in the field.

Finally, the parent company called in some high powered investigators to see what was going on. The VP made sure he was present whenever an employee was being interviewed. When I was explaining my story, I swore his eyes were going to pop out of his head. I eventually left befire everything was resolved, so I am not sure what the fallout was.

Surprisingly, I did not get a dressing down - which I had expected based on the apoplectic expression on the VP's face.

10:44 AM  

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