[NCT Bootleg – Free Falling]
According to psychoanalyzis and neuroscience the “I”, the ego, the conscious “me” we are referring to is a fluke. It is an instance that observes and takes responsibility without actually doing something. It is just a radar, a scanner system to look for problems.
I mention this because as a project manager I seem to be exactly that. A radar looking for problems, taking responsibility but not actually doing something. A fluke. I talk a lot and then I write a lot of mails about the lot that I talked about. I remind people of what they said they would do and how they would do it. I am a self-aware sticky note on the fridge of this project. I complain if things do not turn out like they were promised to come about. I am the nagging old lady from the first floor left. I do have to organize things. Ask for information, weigh the effects implied. Get the opinion from the people that actually know or convincingly pretend to know what they are doing. As I do not have enough knowledge about all the things I go with the option they want to go with. I am the best pal who gives a pat on the shoulder. I keep track of the happenings and guard the budget and tell people again and again to follow a certain procedure so I know what is being spend we don’t go over budet and we save time and money. I am one of the grey Gentlemen. Playing so many roles effortlessly at once. Guess theaterschool was worth more then anyone could have expected. What I am seemingly not is an engineer. Or am I?
They told me this was a common sense job. Engineers are common sense people. One would expect. In my mind they are. And it works out so far. My technical background does help. I learn a lot about very different aspects and although having the feeling of not actually doing something a lot of people are really pleased with my work. By the way I am not complaining. I am analyzing. Going one meta level up. Like meta theater – a theater play about making theater – the manager starts managing his own process.
So here is one scene out of this play:
For the rainwater harvesting tank I make the measurement calculations. How big does it have to be? The first results are ridicoulus. I adjust and end up with a tank of 16x3x3 [m]. 144 [m3] or 144.000 [L] of water. The contractor Omari shows me the money we have available for the tank. As I have no idea about the costs of building work I ask him to calculate the biggest tank possible with that money. We end up with a tank 4x3x3 [m]. Okay then lets do that. I explain how the tank should be build according to how it was explained to me just a few days earlier. Omari still brings in his own engineer advisors. In the end the only thing I actually effectively add to the process is to choose where it is build. Everyone exit to the left.
Blue sunny skies, yet in the distance huge clouds build up. Natures sky scrappers, metaphorically and literally. I keep asking the gardeners to finish the gravel beds around the buildings so the red earth will not splash against the white walls when the rainy season starts. But they keep planting the hedges, dig the spice garden et cetrera. Finally one week after the rain has started they finish the beds. Walls are red. But not as red as they could have been I guess. Again you can’t really do anything but keep mentioning it.
The most important thing about being a project manager: It is not about you. Its about the project and the progress and the process of it. Nobody really needs you because in a sense they know very well what they are doing. Then again everybody needs you. Because they need someone to take the heavy responsibility, to keep an eye on everything so they can loose themselves in their tasks, to nag so they don’t get lazy, to pat their shoulder so they’ll do the work with confidence, to argue with them either winning and pushing them to the next level or loosing confirming their knowledge. Which is exactly what the conscious “I” does in the human body. Because while you can control your breath to a certain extend breathing however is not something that you DO. It happens. The lungs do it. The lungs don’t need a consciousness to do it. The “I” can do nothing about it. Yet it is so nice to realize consciously that it happens. Is it not?