It has been an arduous journey, but I have managed to stagger from Monday morning to Thursday evening. I still have the Friday workday to get through, of course, but the weekend is so close that I can practically smell it. It smells sort of like funnel cake at an outdoor carnival. It is the aroma that helps you realize you’re having a good time. Or about to.
One of the things that has made the week so toilsome is a “special project” I was assigned at work a few weeks ago. Whenever anyone approaches you with anything labeled as a “special project” you should run, not walk, to the nearest exit. Leave your personal belongings behind, forget about your dignity, and gallop towards the door like the Roadrunner avoiding Wile E. Coyote.
Another phrase that should make your ears prick upwards as your internal alarms go off is the dreaded: An opportunity to excel. If you hear this phrase come out of anyone’s mouth that is above you in the org chart, you should spring upwards like a bunny who just saw an eagle’s shadow and bolt violently (remembering to run in a serpentine fashion). Run! Run like the wind! Run until your little bunny heart explodes (figuratively) from the exertion of exercising your choice of flight. (Fight is rarely an option in corporate America unless you enjoy being unemployed.)
“Opportunity to excel” is really just management euphemism for one of the following:
- Career-ending debacle
- Reputation-shattering fiasco
- Soul-sucking disaster
- Confidence-crushing catastrophe
The worst part about being saddled with a “special project” is that it is like the tar baby from Southern folklore. Once you have gotten your hands on it, you can never rid yourself of it. It will follow you for the rest of your career. You will become known as “the guy who worked on that special project that time“. Your fingerprints will be all over it. Your name will be on all of the drawings and documents.
What’s worse, you will become known as the expert in that thing. Which means every time another “special” project arises, you will be the go-to guy.