An Interesting Ex-Colleague

huh_450As I went through miscellaneous files on my hard drive, I found some anecdotes I wrote several years ago about a colleague at the time. I actually reported to her for a while and we maintained a good working relationship and friendship. I will call her W here.

  • W surely knows how to motivate us – sometimes she sends nice slogan emails like “No one should be under utilized next week”. This really reminds us to cherish and enjoy every minute over the weekend and look forward to an exciting busy week ahead.
  • Besides the gazillions of to-do items each of us gets from W every day, we also love her ‘where am I’ emails. They informed us of her whereabouts at each hour (and all the doctor’s appointments). However, her estimates have a 50% precision at best – there is absolutely no guarantee that we can find/reach her based on the information.
  • Despite the mile-long to-do list W keeps for herself, she still seems not sure at times. So she asks us questions like: “What is the status on Project A documentation? (Are you waiting on me?)
  • On 1/19, client said “We do not need a revised report; I think we’re all set on Project B”; on 2/2, project B was dutifully archived. On 3/10, I received a to-do item from W regarding project B, due 4/30, with instructions: “don’t remember if those were prelim or final estimates. pls chk notes. Update documentation to indicate, draft report thru at least sample selection if figures were only prelim thru estimation if figures were final. Write separate memo to file if prelim figures were supplied.”
  • Over time some of us become fairly good at guessing what W meant, but she shouldn’t have expected the same from her boss M:
    • W (sent to me and cc M): CCE – fyi – could you add this to the project log? Thanks! [attachment: dialogues between she and client].
    • M: OK so what does CCE stand for? Is this the same project that is labeled CCA on the Shared drive?
    • W: sorry, this is a different project
    • To fix this confusion, W changed the project folder from ‘CCE’ to ‘CC Enterprises (CCE) W’. As a result, all the paths in the SAS programs need to be changed…

W is a nice person nonetheless. She has a positive view towards life despite all the challenges life has given her. She is a good teacher to new hires, she prepares cute Christmas gifts to everybody, and she takes good care of her aging mother. I still remember when I had to rush back to China to see my terminally ill father, she sent me a “motherly” long email reminding me to take care of myself. I was so deeply touched.

It is a pity that with my office computer crash and the firm’s email server switch, all the above mentioned emails are lost. But the good thing is that W and I are still in the same area so we can meet and catch up once in a while (we did 2.5 months ago).


4 thoughts on “An Interesting Ex-Colleague

  1. Haha, I know who ‘w’ is! I moved out before that particular confusing stage but I could totally relate to the various examples… As I grew more mature, I have more sympathy to her. Perhaps she was under drug influence as she went through health issue and she was not herself 100%. Or perhaps she just didn’t know what we most people considered ‘normal’. All fone memories from that first job out of school!

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