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  • The Jazzy Cool One (aka, some guy named J.C. Payne), is a news producer with a news/talk radio station by day, and a passionate cheerleader for business and free enterprise the rest of the time.

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Sunday, December 02, 2007

Tired Of Fighting Other People's Fires

After a very long week, I woke up yesterday with no real plans for the day, and a few ideas that were burning to get down on paper. I sat down to my computer and sketched out a beginning to a piece I was going to post on Cool Corporate dot COM, did a quick review of the special document to be posted at Bachelor Cooking, ate breakfast, and began to get the laundry started before I sat down to continue to write.

Then the phone rang, and all that forward moment was gone. No writing done, and I barely had the mental capacity to do laundry.

That's what I've been fighting for some time now. Other people's fires. Starting a day with a solid plan, or even just a good idea of where the day should run, and some seemingly random piece of news or someone else's emergency destroys the hope for a successful day. It eats away time, energy, resources, and at times sanity.

Luckily, there are a few things you can do to deal with it

DON'T DEAL WITH IT: What should be fairly obvious is the hardest to handle. Letting other people handle the messes they've gotten themselves into should be straight forward, and should end your involvement before it begins. This only works if they can't find a way to convince you that there problem will soon be your problem. Usually, you'll see realize this will soon become your problem before they even bring it up.

DEAL WITH IT JUST THIS ONCE: Put your foot down from the git go. You'll step in and assist now, but never, ever, EVER again. This usually works about as well as refusing to not assist in the first place, as you will end up stepping in to help again anyway.

TEACH/HIRE SOMEONE ELSE TO DEAL WITH IT: While convincing HR that you need someone on the payroll to sit back and wait for catastrophes to happen is feasible to the companies bottom line might be a challenge, pulling key employees away from key activities to fight other people's fires, some key, some just dumb, isn't the most effective use of there time either. And if you can't hire that backup backup who only seems to come around when trouble strikes or during corporate softball season, train some of the lower-level employees to step in and handle the dire situations. It earns you points for leaderships and earns them points for initiative. Just make sure you train people you believe have the ability to handle the situation, not just the people your bosses say have potential. That potential may be to make things even worse.

LEAVE: Not the easiest decision to make for you career or life, but sometimes, you just know things will never get better, and you will never achieve the goals you thought you were hired for because you're to busy keeping superstar employees from doing stupid things. If you can move out of your mother's basement and stop dating that hot chick who wanted to pick out china patterns on your second date, you can ask to be reassigned to another department at work, or find work elsewhere. No need to start drama either, just look for a good opportunity within your current company that your manages would be crazy not to put you into, and make sure you won't find yourself troubleshooting as much in the old position. Or just find a new job. If you're as good as you think you are, someone somewhere will see it.



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