Thursday, February 03, 2005


Who's The Boss?

My job has a pretty clear chain of command.

I have a boss. My boss has a boss. My boss's boss has a boss. My boss's boss's boss has a boss. My boss's boss's boss's boss is *the* Boss, the 43rd President of the United States.

Within this chain of bosses, my bosses have deputies to boss around. While any one of the deputies can be a boss, the can't be *the* boss, so I don't include deputies in my chain of bosses, even though they often boss me around.

My boss, she's great, and my boss's boss, he's great, and I enjoy working for them both. However, in my average work day I work closest with the deputy to my boss's boss. He's a good guy with an incredible bullshit detector. Thus, my boss's boss's deputy can be quite demanding.

Now, why do I give you all these bosses?

Tomorrow, 4 February, is the day the Pentagon rolls out the details of its new budget to members of the press. Technically the budget doesn't come out until Monday, but through this courtesy we provide the media with details they can use over the weekend to write their stories, on the threat of a painful death for leaking anything in advance; we call it an "embargo."

The Office of the Secretary of Defense, the military Services, and the other military agencies all participate in this wonderfully exhausting day, offering briefing after briefing to dish out the funding details-- mostly to the trade rags, but also to a few national publications.

A key part of the budget rollout is the media roundtable: we get a number of reporters in a room with a DoD representative who can discuss the budget on background (i.e., no quotes by name). This way, we can explain the nuances, and highlight items where we'd like the press to emphasize in their reporting. Doesn't always work, but it's a necessity when dealing with reporters who don't always know how to spell "GPS."

Well, last year my boss's boss's boss's deputy did a media roundtable, supported by my boss's boss's deputy (remember him from above?).

This year, however, since my boss's boss's boss's deputy will soon be leaving his job, under the orders of my boss's boss's boss my boss's boss's deputy will be running the whole show, this time supported by my boss.

At least, that was the plan, until my boss got sick this week. She was out Wednesday and Thursday, and I have little hope she'll be in tomorrow.

The next in line of succession? Yup, that would be me.

Now, everybody participating in this process-- my boss, and my boss's boss's deputy, are all fighting above their weight here. My boss's boss's deputy is especially nervous, as he is uncomfortable with the media, mostly because he hates getting ahead of his bosses. He manifests his discomfort in endless requests for detail from his underlings-- I need X, I need Y, why is Y different from Z, tell me the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow. Which means I get stuck working extra hours and extra days putting together everything he needs to feel comfortable.

I'm okay with this, that's my job-- picture Stanley Tucci as Adolf Eichmann, only huskier-- but that doesn't make life any easier.

However, if I'm supposed to back up my boss's boss's deputy on Friday, that means that *I* must be nervous. Sure, I've put the materials together; ostensibly, I should know everything that goes into my share of the DoD budget. Yeah, sure, uh-huh, right. You bet. Right on! Shazzaam! Roasted Chicklets!

Just to put things into perspective, this whol scenario involves putting a GS-13 equivalent into the shoes worn last year by a member of the Senior Executive Service (i.e., a flag-officer equivalent).

Uh, yeah. . . no thanks, I'll have the fish.

So, long story longer: this is the only post you're gonna get from me for the rest of the night, as I have to study for Friday. BTW, to any of Garfield Ridge's college-age readers, just so you know: studying never ends. I hope you've developed a good system in school, because you'll use it for the rest of your life.

Me, I never even bought my books in college. You can imagine how great I was at this thing you call "studying."

Thus, I've got my fingers crossed BIGTIME that my boss shows up tomorrow. I don't care if she's hacking up her kidneys, she *is going* to that meeting tomorrow.

In the meantime, I'm going to be away from my computer, with a magical binder open, trying to figure out what to say tomorrow if I'm asked about swallows.

P.S. I have a *massive* headache, near migraine, that's been plaguing me since Wednesday morning. I'm sure that'll help me out.


You should do what Lucy did that time, when she had the guy who knew Spanish talking to her in an earpiece so that her in-laws would think she learned Spanish.

Just remember - don't hire some guy whose wife or daughter is expecting a baby any time, because if she has the baby, and someone tells him while he's supposed to be talking to you, you might end up yelling out something stupid like "It's a boy!"

But that's not the worst part. If the guy takes of for the hospital and leaves you high and dry, then you won't be able to speak Spanish any more. Happened to me once, and it *really* sucks.

Good luck,

John from WuzzaDem
You're nuts John.

That's why I'll kill you last.

Thanks for visiting!
You mean Dr. Zaius wouldn't help this human with the media round table?


Good luck, I know you'll do well. Remember the little people when this propels you to fame, fortune, and scads of women. (that's scads with a "D", not a "B")
Nuke it from orbit, Dave. It's the only way to be sure.

Hey dude, Gunner's Palace is showing in DC Feb 18th. Any interest?

-Chris Mayhew
Would that be the African or European swallow? Remember, this is for posterity, so be honest.
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