My first position as a manager in I.T. was in 1991, when I was promoted to group leader in the I.T. department at the Zion Nuclear Power Plant. It was my first official promotion to a position where I had direct reports. I’d keep my old responsibilties and was in the same group, but now I had the additional duty of managing the other three members I had been co-workers with. I was enormously proud of the promotion, and looked forward to being a manager, to being brought in to decision making and strategy setting sessions. I took the whole thing as evidence that management had finally recognized my unique talents and skills.
I was named to the position late on a Friday afternoon, and was disappointed when Monday came and went without a chance to exercise my new authority. Tuesday was going along the same way; nothing had really changed, until late that afternoon.
I was walking down the hallway on the way back to my cubicle in the I.T. office when I saw my boss and Karen M., the head of the clerical staff, and Dick B, the former Service Director, all huddled in Karen’s office, deep in concentration, with serious expressions on their face. About the same time I saw them, my boss saw me, and started waving frantically for me to join them.
As I approached the office, I thought, this is it, I’m finally being brought into the inner sanctum of management. They need me, they need my expertise to help resolve whatever crisis was brewing. As I approached the office, my boss quickly opened the door and waved me in, and then shut it behind me.
“You’re just the guy we’re looking for,” he said. I took note of the somber expressions on Karen and Dick’s faces.
“Shoot”, I said, and waited for the problem, the crisis, that required my special skills and talents.
“Well”, my boss started, looking around the room, “we’re stuck. How did the theme song for “The Munsters” go?”
They were all stuck on the theme from “The Adams Family.” My boss knew that I, with my legendary ability to recall the trivial, would know. And I did not disappoint. I “dee-dee-dee-dee-dee-dee-dee-dee-dum” ed my way through a couple of bars, much to the impressed delight of Karen and Dick, who both said, “yeah, that’s it!”
“See, I told you Gourdoux would know,” my boss proudly exclaimed.
It turned out that they really did understand and value my unique talents and skills.