Temper, temper

I lost my temper twice yesterday and once today. Always at the wrong people. OK, they didn’t do what I needed them to do at that moment. And I’m under massive pressure to get things done, so anything or anyone standing in my way gets bulldozered. I feel really bad about it, too. Even counting to ten … or to a hundred for that matter … or going for a cup of coffee or tea doesn’t really work. The problems don’t disappear by themselves.

The problem is, of course, that I myself only do things I think are worth doing, things I believe in, and don’t expect anyone else to act any differently. Everyone is a free agent, that’s my basic philosophy. So first I have to convince them. But when you’re under pressure it’s so hard to get everyone working together productively toward a common goal. We have a huge project but no real project team – basically the core actors are running around trying to get everyone else interested in what we’re doing. This is a bunch of writers and editors used to coordinating their output. With very high standards, and a lot of humor, and hanging out in the kitchen, so there is informal team building, certainly. But setting an agenda? Defining where we are going and who is doing what when? No way. it’s incredibly draining. I could sometimes scream. And I do. I mean I just did. Poor Helmut’s ear is buzzing.

With this project it’s like knitting a sweater starting at the sleeve, and not having a pattern or really knowing what size it’s going to be when it’s finished. I’m happy enough to unravel everything and start over … I don’t own any ideas, I want to try things out and then improve them, I’m very playful in that way  … so I’m doing a lot of extra work up front so people have a product to discuss and improve. I think it’s the only way. But then comes the feedback, when people start expecting things that, at least where I stand, are out of the question. I know how hard it is to keep a user coming back, how easy it is to lose him or her. And we’ve been stuck with some miserable design parameters that make life very difficult. But thankfully we’ve got the ear of our inhouse admin, so I’m hoping that in the last two weeks before the relaunch we’ll be able to patch up the worst problems.

Until then, does anyone have any tips for how to keep cool?

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Anne

Teaching English for business communication skills, writing online for learners, translating, sailing whenever I can, from Washington, D.C.

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