Wednesday, July 24, 2013

An Arvind’s Work is Never Done. Really, Not Ever.

I ran into Arvind. His project had wrapped up a week or so before, culminating in a lunch social that he’d presided over as if he’d just launched a new product at Apple. He asked if I could come to his cube for a minute because he needed to talk to me. Reluctantly, I went. 

It turned out he had done something else wrong related to his project. The whole thing had to be done over, again. This would be the second complete do-over of a simple project under Arvind’s leadership. This time Arvind would have to do all of it himself because I had been given another assignment and Emma had returned to her regular duties. 

I think Arvind was trying to make me feel bad so I would go to my supervisor and maybe make the case that I really needed to help him for a few more weeks. After all, he pointed out, had done things wrong (under his direction) too, so now he was redoing my work as well as his own. 

One of the myriad problems with this guy was that I was certain that he wanted to suck up huge amounts of my time (again) and then announce we’d done it all wrong (again). Working with him was like stepping into an episode of the Twilight Zone: color and air would drain out of the room as time slowed to a hair-pulling crawl. Decades of life threatened to disappear under the fluorescent light with Arvind. 

What’s worse is that he had given me something I wanted, so I felt like I owed him. There was a position I had decided to pursue. I had taken the test for it once already and logged an abysmal 72%. It turned out he had been trying for the same position and could lend me some study materials that might be useful. I should have factored in that he had not managed to attain the position and declined this favor, but I did not. 

But I couldn’t bring myself to volunteer to work with him anymore. Just the thought of it made me feel like a trapped animal just before it chews off a limb. I wished him luck with the project, assured him that it couldn’t take long given that we’d done most of the work already, and left his cube believing I was free of him. I was not.