September 27, 2001
Full Circle


They're replacing me with Cathlene The Receptionist Person.

Jim breezed into my office late yesterday afternoon to deliver the news. "We'll hire a new front desk person to answer phones and take care of mail," he explained, "and Cathlene will take over all of your Executive Ass duties."

I'm delighted. Cathlene is a sharp, intuitive, genuinely nice person, and I believe that if anyone can handle this job (and live to tell the tale), she probably can. Plus the idea of Cathlene moving up the Totem Pole as a result of my departure -- the same way *I* got my big break when Catherine abdicated, two and a half years ago -- appeals to my sense of things coming full circle. 

Good fortune shared, when it comes around full circle, says the ancient Chinese proverb, increases ten fold. 

But the other (infinitely less selfless/infinitely more self-serving) reason I'm glad that Cathlene is replacing me, rather than some fresh-from-the-employment-agency rookie, is that this is going to make the whole *transition* process about a bazillion times easier for everybody.

And right now, trying to make things easier for everybody is what I'm all about.

No scrambling around trying to hire my replacement in five days or less. No being asked to sit in on interviews. No prolonged and nerve-wracking 'training sessions.' Cathlene has been with The Totem Pole Company for a while now: she knows where everything is, she knows how everything works, she knows everybody's name/extension number/emotional hot buttons. More importantly: she knows exactly what she's getting into. (And she still wants the job! Go figure.) I know I'm not going to be getting frantic phone calls at odd hours of the day and night, over the next few weeks, wanting to know how to load the stapler ... asking me where we store the extra fax toner ... despairing because The VP of BFD refuses to attend any management meeting that includes The VP of WTF (and vice versa).

Nope. Cathlene is one-hundred-percent Plug-and-Play.

And that's important ... because when I walk out the door of The Totem Pole Company next week, I would pretty much like that to be *it.* I want the quick, clean, immediately-cauterized break. I'm not sure if that's how it'll play out, of course: Totem Pole Company history seems to tell a different story.

But I know I stand a hell of a better chance of walking away clean if Cathlene is the woman sitting in my chair when I go.

throw a rock