where the writers are
Mind Shifts

Work stuff so - just thinking -
Today and yesterday's meetings, calls and conversations were interesting. We fought fires as customers had issues, we scrambled to find replacements, coping with different countries' import requirements, export requirements, labeling and customs, and worked through options and timetables. Those issues were very immediate. Sales people are very agitated because, you know, its their customers and money is involved. That's always funny, as they seem to think their customers and issues are unique. We might need to escalate to some execs. Ooh, scary. Say it ain't so.
Then, on the next call, we discussed issues arising in 2016. Funny moments occur as acronyms rolled against one another and people picked through semantics. The call after that dealt with 2014 planning and the subsequent call dealt with 2012 integration and product activities and 2013 migration planning. 
Some of it is quite convoluted. Minds had to keep up and stay agile. On more than one call, people seemed to do mind dumps. They'd forgotten information and what had been done and began to create plans to do the things we'd already done. Often these calls involved many of the same people, different subject, different product, different project, different country. More than once, words petered out and someone said, Wait, wrong <fill in the blank>. That was the last meeting. Let me start again. There was some chuckling, some knowing comments and a little broken tension, then the meetings continued. On one call discussions paused when someone asked, What is the CE Mark? The question became refined to, what does CE mean? 
The question seemed bizarre to me. Everyone knows what the CE Mark is, right? I mean, these are all seasoned professionals, been doing this business for years or decades. Yet I listened as people scrambled to answer and weren't able to answer. I let it go on to see what happened, sort of my own social experiment. Several people googled it and read the Google answers found. Was this a case of overload and forgotten information? They all sounded tired...weary...on the call, with a sense of, Here we go again. 
That's where I was just a few weeks back. I've worked my way out of it. I talked about some of this with a product manager on a call this morning. He requested a meeting with me to clarify some planning issues and re-sync. He's a good guy and I enjoy speaking with him so I was happy to oblige. Explaining to him what the team had decided and what I had in mind and needed from him took only a few minutes so we chatted for another twenty minutes. He did most of the talking, going into detail about some of the exciting products being planned. He mentioned how hard it is to get it out in front of people and share his excitement because they all have their heads down, working issues.  He said it seemed like many people seemed tired and depressed.
Exactly. I told him I often deal with that. How can I become excited about the future products when I'm dealing with so many problems from the old and current products? Each day seems to bring new complications and laborious solutions. 
There is a sense though that another change is in the works. I've had cryptic calls. How do I do this? they ask. I've been tasked to do this until the transformation. Can you help? 
I had three of those calls in the last ten days. No one can tell me more about 'the transformation'. I'm not high enough in the food chain. They all seemed surprised that I didn't know, though, bemusing me.
'The transformation.'  Sounds weirdly fantastic. I imagine them transforming at some magic hour, becoming something else - transformers, vampires, werewolves, elves or ghosts. Who knows what they'd be? Some of them are already pretty other-worldly.
Break over. Time to get for the next meeting, the next cup of coffee. It's drizzling and gray again. Haven't seen the sun today. I'm going to print out this email thread - it's one of these convoluted trails of he said, she said, we did, they did, what do we, how do we, can we, why don't we exchanges that marks many of our emails. Hate wasting the paper but I'm going to print it out, take my coffee outside onto the porch and smell the air as I read it. It'll help me keep my head up when I lower it back into work.