I have been pulled from my duties, many times, by the CEO to create poster-sized Excel spreadsheets showing in graphic technocolor glory the story of a trio of Jobs Gone Awry. He will, in theory, take these posters to court and use them as an instrument to sue the socks off the errant customer.
We keep revising them. Over. And. Over.
Each revision has been adding more detail. It started with RFI documents, as-planned dates, and as-built dates. It added in subcontractor documents, correspondence, submittals, release dates…. The last revision called for me to append to each labelled detail (RFI #14) a short explanation of what it implied (Discussion of wombats undermining widget framework footings; ledgedancing subflooring not stuccato enough). For everything. And, in eight hours of focused frenzy, I have done just that, printed out the results, and took them to The Man for review.
“What,” he asked me, pointing to several dots, “is that?”
“Correspondence. Release dates. Submittals. Subcontractor paperwork.”
“Oh. We don’t need that. Delete it and let’s look at what we have left.”
The room became very far away, and all sound but the steadily rising muffled thunder of pulsing blood became a hint of whispering ghosts. My body moved as through crystalline taffy, recording for history a firm, confident smile, a sweep of documents into neat piles, tapped even and paperclipped, and something very like my voice asserted that new documents would be forthcoming.
And I was back in my office. Even my outrage is very far from me. I’m waiting for my pulse to settle before I continue.
Then I’ll roll that beastly rock up the hill again.