Some of us relish a political power struggle. They enjoy hearing the rhetoric, the promises, the expectations, the hope for change. Others have determined that politics is merely a leverage game, if you gain the upper hand you control the purse. If you control the purse, you control the power, and power is what every individual secretly desires.
You could feel the tension in the air. It seemed like a tsunami was barreling down on us. I worked for the state government. Most of my government life had been spent in Executive Management. Even so, I was not politically drive in my function, I neither favored one party or the other. But after 16 years of one party in power, the other was on the verge of a take over. Interestingly the person leading the charge wasn’t a main stream politician. He was in fact anti-establishment. After all my years of managing the state’s largest staff of professional people, I sensed the excitement. I could see the spark in the eyes of many of those previously reprimanded employees looking for their chance. It was well know that many of our employees were contacting the members of the apparent “new wave”. The sharing of perceived unfairness’s were shared. Both employees and critics lined up with their grudges. Their expectation were rewards of higher more important jobs or “cutting” a deal.
I’ve met a lot of managers. Many of them were examples of how not to manage. Many managers believed that fear and micromanagement were their best tools. I tried to always go the other direction. Give a professional effective training, and then point them in a direction and let them do their job. My job? Run interference between the political appointees and our staff.
The years have gone bye. After surviving the tsunami I kept afloat for a little while, seemingly protected by my guardian angel. But more changes were coming. At one time we had had 325 employees in our division, but today that has been reduced considerably, and then again considerably more.
I retired early, twelve years ago. Many of the people I worked with, in the capital have also retired, they meet once a month for dinner. I never make the trip down. Part of our executive team does try to get together for a lunch once or twice a year. Looking at all of the managers we had over my seventeen years at the capital six of us that went beyond work, and became friends. We live in different parts of the state, some of go south for the winter, I go north in the summer. One of us still works there. It’s a challenge to get us together.
We met last week. The number was three. The working one, was on assignment. One of us wound up in the hospital that week, and another one has been having eye surgery and no longer drives. After all these years little is said of work, other than moral is low. Most of talk is aches and pains.
These are executives that understood the philosophy of good management. These are friends. It’s hard for me to grasp that these executives are aging. It was only yesterday that we had color in our hair, ideas and the energy to pursue them.