I have this dark brown bookshelf in my office at work that’s full of books and some outdated software. Anyone need a copy of Microsoft MapPoint 2004 or FrontPage 2000? Didn’t think so.
When started this job I felt my shelf could use a little more variety. A little more spice. So I rummaged (maybe it was Kim) through our garage looking for a few books that would add some flair to my office. A few of these books found a home on my shelf.
See if you can guess which books belong to my company and which belong to me.
- A+ Certification Bible
- In Search of Business Value (go ahead and hurl. I did)
- Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums
- Visual Basic Fundamentals
- The Dilbert Principle
- MCSE – Windows XP Professional
- Drop Us a Line, Sucker – A Collection of Prank Letters
- The Soul of the Salesman
- Macs for Dummies
- The Onion Presents – Our Dumb Century
As I look over my bookshelf at the selection of books stacked haphazardly on top of each other, I realize it’s a good representation of my job. One can’t pick out one overarching theme just as I can’t select one skill I possess that qualifies me to manage a diverse group of technicians.
The job requires a mix of management, technical and luck. Some days I’m instructing them in technical matters while on others it’s humor that’s needed.
But Most days I sit back and listen to this young group of men and women. My instinct is to offer up advice and provide the adult supervision. But I’ve found it more valuable to bite my tongue in these situations and continue to listen. Oftentimes the process of verbalizing a problem allows for ideas and solutions to develop. The interesting and selfish thing is this: I get more wisdom from them than they do from me.
And some days there’s little I can do but open the Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums book and discuss why the Clash’s "London Calling" is listed at #8 while the U2’s "The Joshua Tree", comes in at #26.
I hope they understand why Rolling Stone got it right.