Sunday, November 16, 2008

Old Girl network

Leave it to The Baroness to know I already had a connection to the TSA. A woman I went to college with invented it. Not the NTSB, who are these people, and have been around since 1967, but the I-am-not-kidding TSA.

The Baroness has always been better at these things than I am: the instant networky, 6-degrees of you-can't-stump-me, weren't we in Brownies together kind of things. I am good at doing-your-dirty-work-and-no-one-needs-to-know kinds of things. Put those 2 skills together and you understand how we agreed to pluck each other's chins in the nursing home. But that's not the story I'm telling.

Here is the story of how Liz Brownlee invented the TSA. Not like Al Gore invented the Internet. According to this article, she did the kind of thing I do all day, which was she wrote a white paper saying "what if we federalized airport screening?" The trick is having anyone with any power pick it up and act on it. Well what have I done with my life? I think about that scene in Apollo 13 when Jim Lovell says, "Neil Armstrong? Neil Armstrong?"

The other culprit might be failing to work in any industry where white papers have any influence. A typical Mill event is when a 4-page proposal I put together and pass to a Product Director is answered with, "Have you called *****? Because she already has something going on this. You should get looped in with that."

looooooping is a big term in our particular garment industry. And I actually said to ***** (or really, to her sidekick, but right in front of her, because I don't speak directly to the brass) "I am just glad someone with more power and authority is behind this." (see also - dealing with idea stealers) She said (asterisk did, not the sidekick - I am not telling this story very well), "I don't think I have any more power," which was kind of nice, but not at all true, and I said, "than I do? I think you do. [pause] Man, I hope you do."

But of course if she did, I wouldn't have spoken directly to her. That's probably why my white papers don't turn into federal agencies.

I came up the ladder with any number of women who are now federal agents. I might be one; you don't know. Two of the women in the picture above are. I don't really know that. I don't know who they are. It was just the closest I could find to madras shorts and pheasant pants.

1 comment:

  1. Just wanted to make sure our nursing home has a view of the ocean or the mountains. Let me know where you've picked and we'll get our names on the list.


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