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the two-year-old April 8, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Management, Staff.
Tags: , , , , , ,

The Two-Year-Old. Every so often* you’ll come across someone with the following characteristics:

  • If it’s new and shiny, she’s instantly interested in it to the exclusion of everything else.
  • She has to have it as soon as possible, and to hell with whatever else you had on your list of responsibilities.
  • The moment she’s concentrating on something else and you want her to clean up her mess — that is, make sure the new thing continues running as it should — she runs off to find another toy to play with.

The Two-Year-Old bears many similarities to a cat. (CC-licensed photo by Jon A. Ross.)

The Two-Year-Old bears many similarities to a cat. (CC-licensed photo by Jon A. Ross.)

This is very similar to the concept of seagull management, except that in this case, the manager** has at least some knowledge of what she’s talking about. It’s not like the pointy-haired boss from Dilbert — he has no idea what the hell he’s doing. No, the Two-Year-Old is actually pretty intelligent. It’s just that she has a magpie-like tendency to focus on the latest thing.

Here’s an example: Twitter. Twitter was founded in 2006. It hit it really big in 2008. But our local Two-Year-Old got back from her furlough on Monday and she started trying to find people who used or understood Twitter. (She also figured out Facebook, but I declined her friend request. I’m smarter than that.) Once she found one, she told him what she wanted and then got him to start showing people. And then she walked off to do something else.

On Tuesday she talked about Twitter a little with that one guy, and then went to a meeting.

Today — Wednesday — she hasn’t even brought it up. I doubt she will until someone says “Twitter” and she says “oh, yeah, how are we doing with that.”

If your boss is a Two-Year-Old, get used to just saying yes, deflecting, and waiting for her to find something new to play with. Then hope it doesn’t involve you.

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* …or every manager you’ve ever worked with. Take your pick.

** Okay, I admit it, this is obviously about managers or people in positions of authority over you. And often only you. At least, that’s how it feels.



1. “meeting vortex” « corporatespeak - April 17, 2009

[…] just the little waiting area outside the department head’s office — or, worse, the two-year-old’s office. But even more annoying than that is when the meeting vortex is right next to your cubicle; our […]

2. “voluntold” « corporatespeak - May 4, 2009

[…] tasks do you think this person was voluntold to do? (Photo by Mary Thompson)One of the things the Two-Year-Old instituted when she got hired was that everyone in the entire building had to join one of about 20 […]

3. inappropriate response « corporatespeak - May 7, 2009

[…] kill one of these.The thing is, all of this could’ve been accomplished without involving the two-year-old**. All Wally had to do was make more of an effort to contact […]

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