Thursday, January 31, 2008

Anatomy of a Breakdown

You know how sometimes something gets in your head and drives you to distraction? It may not even be important. It's usually something stupid like a sound or mannerism no one else notices or a song melody you can't match any words to or the name of that actor who was with what's-her-face in that one movie you can't remember. Regardless, once this kind of something gets into your head you have a crisis on your hands.

Now, you may not understand or appreciate what I'm about to share and that's okay — this type of crisis is personal. But few things get under my skin faster than misused words, and I just got out of a five hour HR meeting about "Succession Planning".

(I'm sorry — just typing those words brought back a flood of troubling memories and I had to step away from my computer for a few minutes and breathe into a paper bag.)

Get a firm grip on yourself because you may be about to learn something: "succession" is not a fancy-schmancy synonym for "success". No no. No no no. No. "Success" planning, which is what we were really talking about, has everything to do with making arrangements to attain a favorable or desired outcome or some measure of favor. "Succession" planning would literally mean "sequence planning" and would probably involve making provisions for someone else to take over your duties should you decide to leave the company (planning for a "successor" if you will). And that is not what we were doing. No it was not.

What kills me is that, in this whole giant company of thousands of very smart people,
this company-wide process and all these handouts and forms
came into existence without anyone being like, "Hey, whoa — 'succession' planning? Don't you mean 'success'?" I mean, maybe HR could've run the whole thing past the writers and editors first (hellooo — that's my job here), you know, just to double check. But no. So now everyone has to participate in these mistitled meetings and fill out idiot mistitled forms. I just — I can't — okay, you know, I'm done.

Ha. If only it were that easy.