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The Plan Is That There Is No Plan July 10, 2012

Posted by Tom Wells in News, Tom's Posts.

Five years ago I received a promotion at work from Associate Architect to Senior Architect.  Back then I was planning to make the move someday up to the next level in our organization as Supervising Architect.  Fresh with the feel of the promotion, I started working with the long-term plan of promotion.  I’ve been working on my interpersonal skills and my management style, working to find that sweet spot where I can do more than my job asks without having to expend wasted energy doing so. It is the traditional path of doing the job you want, not the job you have.  In the mean time, I like being an architect who works closely with my clients to build their needs.  There is a wonderful and immediate gratification to a creative outlet that is easy to like.  I’ve been very satisfied working as a Senior Architect and I haven’t been looking to that next step in our organization in the foreseeable future.  I could be happy working in this capacity right up until retirement many years from now.

This is where my writing fits in.  It is another creative outlet that I miss when I don’t carve out the time to pursue it.  Having the one job that I can do well and efficiently has given me time to do more writing.  This is the direction I have steered my ambitions towards for the next few years.  Finding satisfaction in writing has become my plan.  I have a lot of stories to tell and one main theme of the Encyclopedia of the Future to develop.  While my career in architecture was going on just fine how it was, my writing has also been advancing in a way that I was just starting to find satisfaction with. But,,,,,

Two weeks ago, just after coming  back from the vacation I have been posting about, work has dictated a new plan.  I was asked to become an Acting Supervising Architect. It is a first step towards a promotion I have thought was something that was still too far into the future to have considered in the short-term.  After all, I work for the State and normally, an overburdened bureaucratic organization like this normally clicks on in a predictable manner.  One of the cardinal rules of a huge bureaucracy is that seniority rules.  The people who have sat in the chair the longest are typically the ones on the short list for promotion.  I am middle rung in terms of seniority and there are very qualified people higher up that ladder who would ordinarily be promoted.  But these are not ordinary times in the State of California and all agencies are in a state of chaos; and chaos breeds change.  I have been advocating for smart changes in this environment and that seems to have been enough to encourage management to say, “if you want change, let it start with you.”

So I went away on vacation thinking I was going to come back recharged to finish my projects and write more of the great American novel.  I returned to a clap on the back and a reward of double the work and quadruple the responsibility.  This was not in the plan.  So for now, I have concluded that there is no plan. I have to reinvent the plan.  I am in uncharted waters.  I have the start of a novel about the first humans to leave our solar system and step out into what turns out to be a crowded galactic community.  I have a new appreciation for the scenario I have been building for the crew of the Intrepid.  I am on a journey of exploration myself, only this one is real with many people depending on my success. The first part of my new plan, stay afloat.


1. One Small Step For Architect « wellswriting - November 2, 2012

[…] leap in the State bureaucracy. Three months ago I was asked to become a Supervising Architect (see, The Plan Is There Is No Plan).  Since then there have been two exams taken, paper trails laid down, interviews, and yet more […]

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