Big Dan's Ramblings

Ramblings from a Boston Boy stuck in New York

Monthly Archives: March 2006

Managing Incoming E-mail

This PDF file lays out a great little plan for managing day-to-day email overload – both at work and personal. I have been following this plan today. It has really seemed to help my productivity as I am not checking email constantly and dealing with frivolous shit as much.

I highly recommend it.

Managing Incoming E-mail


Management in Training?

One can only hope/dread… The long story turned short is that my boss, the Mechanical Engineering Supervisor, had jury duty last week and is in Malaysia this week for work. The guy under him with the most seniority was finishing up his last week here (off to greener pastures), so I was left in charge. Apparently my robust 2.5 tenure here as allowed me the benefit of being the most suited for the job.

It was actually a good experience for me. I’ve been thinking about which direction I’m looking to go in – management or technical – and this gave me a flavor of the management side. I, obviously, have a feeling for the technical side. Now, after being able to eat from both sides of the table, I’m not sure which way I want to go. The technical aspect is great – I get to be on the leading edge of technology and build the ‘machines of tomorrow.’ Meanwhile, the management side is very interesting because I can help mold the direction of the company while being responsible for certain projects.

I tend to lack a general confidence in my technical ability and that, along with my innate sense of needing/wanting organization, is actually making me lean towards the management side. There are a LOT of things I need to work on, however, if I’m going to be a manager. Just to name a few:

  • Ability to say NO: I’m a pleaser. I always have been. You need that print? Let me stop what I’m doing and get it for you. You need a solid model of that assembly? Give me 15 minutes. I need to be able to step back, access my situation and be able to tell someone that I’ll have time at the end of the week or that I simply can’t do that in the time frame they are dictating.
  • Quick Thinking: My thought process is a bit more plodding and methodical than most and I tend to not be able to think quick on my feet. It’s something I need to build on.
  • They aren’t going to eat you: Upper management is a fear of mine – I’m afraid to say the wrong thing at the wrong time to the wrong person. It takes a great build up of nerve for me to disagree with a superior. Going back to my thought process – I tend to try to think what they are thinking before I disagree and that tends to make me look slow and more like a ‘yes man’ than I need to be.
  • Total Recall: There’s a reason why I write things down – my memory is shot. I don’t remember specifics at all. I know exactly where I need to dig to get specs, technical info, notes, etc. BUT, I suck at recalling them off the top of my head. I’m horrible with names as well.
All that being said, management is looking like the option for me – at the moment (I reserve the right to change my mind). I like organizing everyone and having my hand in the pot a bit more. I guess there’s also a little bit of ego/power-trip going on there too. I like being the go-to guy – as long as I have the info. That was the hardest part of this week. I was the go-to guy, but I didn’t have access to schedules, data, budget, or product specs like a normal manager would. That made making some of the decision rather difficult. All in time though.

So, guess I should start looking into that MBA a bit more now.