To remind you of this cast of characters, and bring you up to date:
The Boss has been delivered of her son (at last) --healthy, happy, and damn cute. Both of them. Seriously. Our crew is in the day-to-day hands of The Lieutenant, who hit her long-legged stride right away and, I can report, has lost neither her sense of calm nor humor (which is not only the best medicine, it is a top-grade sedative).
Rock Star is The Boss's Boss; ordinarily I say about her that "she makes me pee." As in, 2 dogs meet in the park and one of them squats and pees. That one's me.
When I say this to others -- particularly to other lady execs who are patient enough to mentor me over martinis -- it requires explanation. So let me elaborate: I play a pretty high level of game myself, and I'm in the starting 5 most of the time (to use a basketball metaphor for a change, respect to The Lieutenant). But I only have a few moves, and I am particular about who sees them. I am not unconditionally loyal, I can not be "on" all day, sometimes I'm not even listening, and you know I am not moved by the Company logo.
But I don't really want her to see that. (I accept that she already knows it. My reputation precedes me.) She is the gold-medal Olympic team. So I become completely self-conscious, and by extension submissive. You know...I'll turn it off when she does. And that ain't nevah gon happen.
At the time The Boss came down with-child, and we were shipped to Camp Rock Star, I had high hopes, (especially for The Lieutenant, who deserves the best), but was also scared out of my mind.
Rock Star?? Really? without a buffer? oh man, we're gonna have ropes courses and intramural mentoring, and "stretch goals"... it's bad enough I have to present all my work in a plastic report cover, do I have to burn the edges now too?
I steeled myself for 3 months of lying low, biting tongue, putting on the happy face. exposing my belly.
And you know what, Dear Readership? It's really quite good. This is not to put down The Boss. You know I have a big fat work-crush on her, and I miss her far more than I expected to. But the tone that has been set for the rest of the year caught me quite by surprise.
To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.... in a reverse homage to Thomas Jefferson:
1. She has observed that we work too much, in both time and scope. And we should stop it.
What? well, now you're scaring me.
2. She understands we are understaffed.
And so she "leveraged," (because she talks like that) her other slightly under-staffed staffs to help out. Also a little scary, since I do NOT look forward to reciprocating that favor, but it gave us some breathing room in our assignment-to-worker bee ratio.
3. She understands we are addicted.
So she tries little Anabuse doses, like "try to leave by 6," and "try leaving your laptop at work a couple of days a week." "Try drinking at lunch." I may have heard that one wrong, but it makes the afternoon much more pleasant.
4. She would like to undo some bad habits.
It's a subjective view, certainly, when she suggests that a lot of the ways we spend our days are doing things that are other people's jobs. But then she asked us to list what we think those are. She also suggested that if we stopped sending emails in the middle of the night, we would stop getting replies. And you know... she was right.
5. She works at her level for the benefit of our level.
A lot of Executives don't really like the conflict management part of their jobs, especially when they are middle management. They would rather tell you to "work it out" and sign off on it. "Escalating" to them, then, becomes the adult equivalent of telling the principal you are being bullied. Rock Star will delight in the "opportunity to enhance synergies."
6. She never lets us see her sweat.
And I am sure she does.
So when I am wrong, I say I am wrong. I do know perfectly well the Yankee Swap is coming, and we only narrowly missed an apple-picking team builder, but if that's the price one pays for bringing the time sheet down to under 50 hours a week, I'll take it.