Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Taking Care of the Boss

I haven’t posted any stories from my work life before now; mostly because my work isn’t all that exciting. My job is what they call, in the engineering world, an FE analyst; in layman’s terms, we’re the guys the other engineers think of as nerds.

Now, the Conventional Wisdom on How to Get Ahead at Your Job includes the idea of Taking Care of the Boss – make him look good to his own bosses, cover his ass when you can, and see that he’s never embarrassed on account of something you’ve done, so that when he gets promoted for doing a good job, you’ll be in line to take his place.

Anyway, when I was young and fresh out of college at my first ‘real job’ (back in the days when engineers still wore ties to work), my boss was a guy named Alex. One of the other guys in the group who reported to Alex was a crusty old guy, a Navy veteran named Bill. Bill was just a couple years from retiring when I started there; he and Alex had been working together for a long time, and had developed a kind of symbiotic relationship.

One day, I was scheduled to be in a meeting that Alex was supposed to be leading, and Bill was in the same meeting. Just before the meeting, Alex, Bill and I were gathered outside Alex’s office, and Alex heaved a heavy sigh. “I really don’t want to be in this meeting,” he said, explaining that it was pretty much a useless meeting, and besides, he wasn’t really prepared for it.

“No problem,” Bill said. “I’ll take care of it.”

Alex looked at him quizzically for a second, and we all went down the hall to the conference room for the meeting.

When we got into the room, and the other attendees were all there, Alex called the meeting to order, and the small talk settled down. While we were all waiting for Alex to ‘officially’ begin the meeting, Bill let loose with the loudest, longest, most odiferous fart that I have ever experienced in my life. We all just sort of stared at Bill in awed, open-mouthed silence, until finally Alex said, “Good grief, Bill – did you shit?”

As the noxious cloud spread through the room, someone suggested that maybe it would be a good idea to postpone the meeting to another time, and Alex quickly agreed, rescheduling for a week later.

I was walking back to my desk afterward, and as I passed by Alex’s office, Bill was standing there, and I heard Alex say, “Thanks, Bill – I owe you for that one.”

Bill answered, “No problem.”

And that was my first, best lesson in the Art of Taking Care of the Boss. . .


Monday, August 14, 2006

OK, Let's Try This Again. . .

I've decided to give blogging another shot, and see if I can do it in a more rational, less all-consuming way. We'll see if I can, but I'm confident enough to give it a shot, anyway. . .

Actually, I've kept up with my blog-friends during my hiatus, and commenting on your blogs is practically indistinguishable from keeping up my own blog. As my comments started getting longer and more involved, I started thinking that I should just post them on my own behalf. We'll see how it goes. I probably won't be posting every day (or even every other day), and I probably won't be leaving quite such long posts as I did before, but that's probably all to the good, anyway.

So - I'm happy to be back in Blogworld. Let's get this thing going, shall we?


Just by way of review, or bringing some of my newer visitors up to speed, let me do a quick (?) rundown of the Cast of Characters in the Jones family:

Me, Desmond Jones - Recently turned 50. I call myself a serious Christian (God only knows how really serious I am). Over the last 6+ months, I've lost 80 pounds. I was adopted as a child, and have met both my birth-parents (and two half-sisters).

Molly Jones - My wife of 26 years. Also just turned 50, but you wouldn't know it to look at her. Molly and I are the parents of eight children (their 'blog-names' are a combination of their birth-order and sex):

1F - our eldest; getting her life back together after a disastrous 3-year abusive relationship. Gave birth to our first grandchild last winter, but the little girl has been given for adoption.

2F - a college student; currently living 'semi-at-home' and working full-time.

3M - recent HS grad (barely). A 'troubled' kid, but brilliant (genius IQ); gave us an incredible amount of grief from age 13 to the present; moved to his own apartment this summer.

4M - All-American boy. A-student, star athlete, good-looking babe-magnet. All of which presents us with its own set of challenges (especially when it comes to denying his will).

5M - solid kid. Pleasant, good-natured; tends to get a little lost in the wake of his two older brothers, but we're learning not to do that.

6F - the pre-teen. But the teen years are coming on hard.

7M - Another brilliant, volatile kid (but maybe we'll have a little better clue how to help him cope). Earlier, I told the story of his being run over by the neighbor's car when he was 17 months old, but there are no, repeat NO, lasting effects of that accident, which is nothing short of miraculous.

8M - "I'm the baby, gotta love me."

Over the last few years, we've weathered some pretty intense challenges that we never imagined we'd ever face when we were first married (heck, we didn't imagine them when we'd been married 20 years), but the upshot of it all has been on the order of, 'What doesn't kill me, makes me stronger'. We're still here, still married, still raising eight kids as best we know how.

God is good.

Can I get an 'Amen' on that?