Ellen Million (ellenmillion) wrote,
Ellen Million

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Listing Giants

I've been part of a lot of sinking projects. There is nothing so frustrating as having an investment of time and love in something beyond your control. You can watch the cracks appear in the surface, spread and spiderweb across the face of something that was once beautiful and strong. The minor squabbles turn nasty. Friendships dissolve, suddenly everyone's got a One True Way. Because of the importance of the project, every imagined slight suddenly becomes cataclysmic. Fragile sensitivities become liabilities.

I can point at specific conversations and analyze them into simplicity. Here is where someone said something in a way they didn't intend. Here is where it was taken in the worst possible way. Here is where some argument from long ago became important again, and here is where someone came flaming to the unneeded defense of someone else. I can't say that here is where things began to crack up, but I can say that here is where I finally began to see the great ship beginning to list, and wonder how much water it's taking on.

That last here, btw, would have been over a year ago in terms of Elfwood.

Not that Elfwood is sinking exactly, but it's listing pretty badly. It's had some fresh coats of paint and a few crack-sealers, but the iceberg is still stuck in the hull.

I'm not given to pointing fingers. I'd never, ever say 'bad management,' or 'this person's attitude.' I didn't even think that the last closure of Elfwood was the fault of that particular outspoken person who unthinkingly mock-threatened the ERB. I think it's more a matter of human nature; the bigger the project, the more fragile the balance. The more people, the more chance of negative conflict and hurt sensibilities.

It's one reason I do most everything for myself. I'm not a pessimist, I'm practical. If you want something done, and you want it done right, you do it yourself. If you can delegate a few things, great. Don't rely on anyone: particularly in the case of volunteers, but even when you're paying them. And don't take it personally when people don't come through for you. Come up with ways that require less responsibility, because people aren't going to do what they say they will, and not everyone plays well with others. Sad, but true.

I just try to take joy in the things that do work, and enjoy the projects while they are alive, and try not to mind the little irritations.

I guess... I guess I don't mind dancing on a floor that is a little tilted to one side. I have a lifeboat, but I'm not going to abandon the ship until my shoes get wet.

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