Sunday, December 26, 2010

Ann T. Power Broker

If you read the title fast, it sounds like "anti-power" broker. Take your pick.

I wrote that we had an employee theft situation here. In the immediate aftermath, the Board (herinafter, the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) closed our network to this employee in the name of records security. We also found that he had been selling things on-line that looked remarkably like items we stock here for repairs.

Bad enough that a unit was robbed. Now we had to consider other possible grievances.

Engraving of Captain Nemo viewing a giant squi...Image via Wikipedia
Nemo, Watching for Tentacles.
Captain Nemo Freaks Out
We then got a legal opinion, and learned that work-site e-mail of all stripes was the property of the employer. So we looked at other employee e-mail boxes to see how widespread this marketing situation might be. And one of the League of Extraordinary Gentleman started obsessing.

Nemo recently lost his job. It was a mystery to him, but not to the rest of the League. He never does any work. He waits until other people present hours of work and comes up with an objection. I am sure he feels like this is the right thing to do, but he's a putz.

This situation excited and terrified him by turns. He browsed employee personal mail, poached the contact position from another Board member with the network administrator, et cetera. It was quite the warning on despotism. And only his peers could stop it, which is quite the lesson in democracy, too.

But we weren't very effing fast at it. And really, he had all that free time. It was hard to keep up.

We warned him. But he started giving orders, each one more erratic than the next. For instance, I received these panicky e-mails ("cut the cord on the shredders! watch all the doors to make sure no evidence leaves!") I finally let him have it. Usually I am diplomatic. Not this time. I was stomping the putz.

At the next meeting, Nemo was just as panicky and querulous as before, but more erratic and rude.
So that's just the end. I know it's not real war, but I went to war.

Cover art for the collected edition of The Lea...Image via Wikipedia
Mina Murray, we need you!
Ann T. Panic Mode
If you read that fast, it sounds like anti-panic mode. Maybe.

That "last straw" meeting was the pre-meeting before our Annual Meeting and Elections. We were headed to the mob, or at least that's what we were afraid of. Every Owner wanted to know about the theft situation. They were up in arms about the betrayal of trust. Of course, we are negligent and dumb-assed, a poor sorry excuse for leadership. But nobody was running to replace us.

We had two vacant seats. As a favor, Nemo was planning to run again by acclamation after all. He kept asking, "Now how do I do this?" None of us told him. He did figure it out though.

Weeks before, I'd nagged Allan Quartermain to run by acclamation at the Annual Meeting. And he planned to run; he just didn't want to campaign. Quartermain is just who we need--calm, humorous, and a management consultant by day.

I'd thought about a second person, Mina Murray, who is socially adept, level-headed, and an office manager. I didn't ask her though. I didn't think she wanted to do it, and two days wasn't enough notice.

But I saw Mina at the Annual Meeting, right after Nemo drove me to the brink. I think I grabbed her. I'm pretty sure I didn't shake her. I didn't get on my knees either, but nearly. Her eyes were as wide as saucers and she was nodding as if to a crazy woman while I whispered how important it was. But at least she agreed to run.

That was two minutes' notice instead of two days' notice. I'm not pleased with myself over that.

But I quickly wrote a nominating speech for Mina while Board President Mycroft Holmes ran the meeting. I also gave my Treasurer's report. We had an impromptu/tacky awards ceremony for our committee volunteers over the past year--my idea, just so we'd maybe get a few more after some recognition.

Later, I attempted to nominate Quartermain, who said he would nominate himself. Then I nominated Mina from the floor. She gave her own campaign speech--which I thought was a great sign. The vote was tallied.

President Mycroft Holmes
Afterwards Mycroft Holmes stopped me outside.
"Just how did you arrange this coup d'etat?"

"Didn't you see me?" I said. "I begged, that's how."

"No, I didn't see that. Somebody said you had, though.  But how did you get them elected?"
I debated whether to add. Because the begging was the answer.
"I talked to everyone in that meeting hall," I told him. "I fetched coffee and cookies for anyone who didn't have any. I asked them how they were."
He waited.

"When I gave my presentation, I didn't stand behind the podium," I said next. "I always come out from behind and then I am one of the people."
He rolled his eyes.

"And in my Treasurer's report, I thanked every other member of the League for something specific that they did, except I didn't mention Nemo at all."
"Huh." Mycroft shook his head.

"And then I made it clear who I thought should be nominated," I said. "And then I just hoped it would work."

"Well, thank you," he said. "I still don't know how you did it, but thank you for doing it."
"You should thank Mina," I told him. "She's the one who agreed to this with no notice."

To stop tyranny, at least in these tiny circles I run in, we needed a volunteer.

In four days time, we grew a small-minded madman, a witch-hunter on our Board. He was injudicious, indiscreet. He cloaked it all in principles ("the safety of the residents"), but he was dangerous. He was going to sink our whole damn ship in some crazed quest for secret but irrelevant information. And we have enough leaks in our ship already.

Mycroft Holmes is now calling me a behind-the-scenes power broker. What I think I did was break a power, not broker one.

Thank you, Allan Quartermain and Thank You, Mina Murray! 
We need you against the Zombies.
And Happy New Year to the Arkdale residents. 
You now have a fighting chance at one.

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Carolina Linthead said...

All I can think of to say is "bless your heart!" You likely have no idea how much I can relate to this, the kinds of things that have happened at work over the last year, how familiar my stories would sound to you, given what you're going through. Maybe I need to write more about them, but in the meantime, you made me smile, Ann T., and that is saying something just now. May y'all have a better year in Zombieland, and I'll try to do the same!

Bob G. said...

AFter seeing the movie LEXG (henceforth known as "the League", I fell in love with it. I grew up knowing the characters throughout literature.
And I thought the grouping of them in this manner (as well as in the graphic novels) was...well, extraordinary.

With THAT said, you can see why I SO enoyed your reporting on the Condo Board in this way.

If I didn't know better, I'd swear it was but another chapter of THE League and their adventures.

Mycroft wiukd appear to only see the forest and NOT the trees that comprise it.
His loss.

I'd say your assessment of BREAKING power was spot on.

Well done.

Have a great weekend.

Ann T. said...

Dear C.L.,
Well, bless yours right back!

I worry I am going off the deep end every time with zombie stuff nobody else has to deal with and therefore yawns over.

But maybe not. I'm glad I made you smile. I know you're taking care of things right now in NC too, and Bless Your Heart.

Ann T.

Ann T. said...

Dear Bob,
Thank you! With me and the sudden absences, I have decided my character must be the Invisible Woman! LOL.

Fortunately, I may have found the serum that makes me visible again--good friends and encouragement!

Although Mycroft didn't get it, he has been a good leader for us. For one thing, very supportive of the efforts good Board Members have made. He's a bit monarchist himself, which is one way to be a strong leader, but underneath is a very kind person. And he has also been run ragged by the Zombies. So that forest/tree thing is a good warning for all of us!

I need to rent that movie! Have a happy day! And thanks for stopping by!


suz said...

Talk about thinking on your feet! Armed with info and options, you took decisive action in a pinch. Have you considered a career in emergency services or the military? Or perhaps the League itself is hiring! That was brilliant!

Ann T. said...

Dear Suz,
Thanks for the encouragement! I think I'm too old for the military now, although I'm sure it would do me a world of good.

I do have to start thinking about a career again, so any advice you have is more than welcome.

Thanks for the encouragement! Happy day to you!
Ann T.

The Bug said...

I thoroughly enjoyed your tale, but have now determined that I'm not letting you NEAR me - I'm too easily swayed by a plea & I DON'T WANNA! Heh.

Ann T. said...

Dear The Bug,
If you were in my condo, I'd set you up with a committee for sure!!

That said, almost everyone who joins the League does it almost exactly this same way. It's a good "good way to protect your investment!" and "we need you" but you also lose your mind!!!

Heh. Sure you don't want to be on a committee????? I can think of one in a Jiff!
Ann T.

The Observer said...

Ann T:

First, to tell you a belated Merry Christmas! There is a dearth of WiFi on Christmas, the one day everything is really closed! And thank you for your Christmas wishes both here and elsewhere.

Second, could you come to our fair city, and find the good people and outwit the half wits and help us clean up the mess at City Hall?

I love reading your adventures in Condo Management--I even recognize a few of the characters--some of them have with me in Church Boards I have been on.

Bravo to you!

The Observer

Ann T. said...

Dear The Observer,
Thank you! I hope you had a good day for Christmas. My kitties rejoiced in turkey and catnip. Not a bad haul!

I am not sure I'm up to the municipal leagues yet. But Gracious! I am flattered!

Thanks for the encouragement! I need it today.
Ann T.