Suddenly Steve Wozniak: My partner on a project thinks he's in charge
January 23, 2014 8:59 AM   Subscribe

I suddenly feel like I understand Steve Wozniak. I started a major project / event with a partner. My partner behaves as if he is the sole leader, even though the project was created at my prompting, and I'm an expert in the field.

I am a working artist, and last year was a banner year for me in some ways. As a day job, I work for a large university in the Midwest. Think of me as "Sal" on Mad Men, if he worked for say, Notre Dame. With a partner, I initiated a large cultural arts event sponsored by the school. I am a subject matter expert in the art field, and virtually all the components of the event and project were my idea.

Unfortunately, my partner has increasingly taken steps to undercut me. For example, delegating to me as if I work for him, and although I am cochairing the event and have previously run a similar event - he has not - he repeatedly takes actions without conferring with me. I don't think he's fully aware he does it. But some of the decisions made without my involvement or full knowledge have been problematic, sometimes just for me, or for the project as a whole.

For example, I had a show scheduled more than a year earlier at a gallery - and I was very clear about the date with my partner. Scheduling a VIP speaker visit, with limited slots available, he scheduled it on the same night as my opening. I could not attend. At the time, I believed he did it because he was disorganized, but after increasing issues over the last several months, I wonder. Worse, one of our team members sent an email to all of us the day after the VIP visit, lauding my partner's incredible talent, leadership, blah blah - omitting mention of me entirely. I had no idea how to respond to something like that, particularly amidst divided responsibilities to my show and this project - but privately I raged. Meanwhile, one of my friends, a professor and collaborator, believes the screwing was deliberate.

During a meeting some months ago, my partner impatiently told me, in front of our team, that I needed to finish scheduling some dates for the event - when I could not because of a bureaucratic issue in his department, not mine. I was more than raring to go and offended that he singled me out and spoke to me like that in front of our team. Bureaucracy is the main reason we have not been more successful, as my partner insisted on getting everyone's "say" on various issues, including ones that the team didn't feel strongly about, leaving us to scavenge for event space, budget and time at the last minute. We have had haphazard marketing because of the insistence of getting everyone's "in". Meanwhile, prior events that I have run in the past have been far more successful, in part because I plan way ahead.

Now, my partner and I work for different departments. He is a manager but is at the low end of the administration. I am a journeyman in my day job and can never go higher. One of my coworkers was originally a manager after decades doing this job, but was stripped of the title. My department is relied on by almost everyone but has little clout - again, think of Sal in the Art Department. My partner is male. I am female. He is only a couple of years older than me. People tend to understimate my intelligence and experience because of my youthful appearance, but that goes away rapidly whenever I start working somewhere. I have a growing reputation in my art field.

My job is already problematic (again, because my department has no clout), so I am already preparing to change jobs as soon as I can. But I need to deal with this for another semester. It's impacting my blood pressure. Historically, I've dealt with and defused difficult people at my day job, but my partner and I were friendly, and I mistakenly thought he respected me. I would never have worked with him had I known. I have collaborated with others, including my professor friend, without this kind of crap.

Has anyone else been through something like this? How did you cope emotionally? What did you do to deal with your anger and frustration? I could just grit my teeth and roll over, I could crawl under a rock and avoid.

Do I ignore the behavior, considering that the impact of the disrespect is limited to the university, and not to the people who know me in the art field?

Is there something I should say or do when I yet again find out he's cut me out of the loop, or attempts to delegate to me as an unequal?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (18 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Detach as much as you can. Don't accept partner responsibilities without partner recognition and partner acknowledgement.

Go to your partner and say, "I am displeased with the way you have commendeered this event and with how you are discounting my contributions. I am also disturbed by the way that you repeatedly undercut my authority, specifically by deligating tasks to me as though I answer to you, and in the way you speak to me in front of the team. Therefore I would like to resign from the event. I have plenty on my plate with my regular job."

If, for some reason you can't abdicate your role in this event/project, alter it a bit, "I am displeased with the way you have commendeered this event and with how you are discounting my contributions. I am also disturbed by the way that you repeatedly undercut my authority, specifically by deligating tasks to me as though I answer to you, and in the way you speak to me in front of the team. Going forward I have drawn up a plan of responsibilities, I will handle mine, I expect you to handle yours. I would also like to address your method of obtaining consensus on mundane and trivial issues. Instead of delaying the decision with meetings and data gathering, perhaps we can agree that what color the coffee mugs will be is something that can be unilaterally decided, so that we all have time and energy for the important tasks."

I don't doubt that this guy is doing this to you deliberately.

This used to happen to me all the time. Fuck it. Being on committees is for the birds. I hate working in groups, exactly for this reason.

Bail if you can, insist on equal treatment if you can't.

Good luck!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:15 AM on January 23, 2014 [13 favorites]

email to your boss, copying bad partner and his boss, saying pretty much what you said here. "i don't report to this yokel, his actions are counterproductive to my job mission, and it would be better for the organization if you, my boss, resolved this conflict instead of me resolving it personally."
posted by bruce at 9:16 AM on January 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

Maybe I missed it, but have you sat down and talked with him about your frustrations one on one? Because really, if you're co-leaders you should be doing so on a regular basis.
posted by cecic at 9:35 AM on January 23, 2014 [3 favorites]

Best advice I ever got for dealing with these guys is the line from the Godfather,"Keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer."

Beating him will extract a heavy emotional toll, though. If you're not willing to play the same game he's made a career out of, then all you can do is walk away with your principles intact.
posted by hobo gitano de queretaro at 9:54 AM on January 23, 2014

Your feelings on this are important but not relevant. Your partner does not care about your feelings or is insensitive to them. A quick way to lose the battle is to make this about your feelings. Every discussion needs to be framed in terms of running the project appropriately. It is bad form to run roughshod over a partner. But it's bad practice to run projects unilaterally where you have many stakeholders.

In the absence of clearly marked roles and a hierarchy you have a power vacuum, which your partner has filled. To the extent that they can organise things independently and have point to point relationships with the project team to your exclusion you have an organisational issue.

Playing devil's advocate: sometimes this situation comes about because one party genuinely is a legitimately better project manager and decisionmaker. We call them completer-finishers. Sometimes it's because they're an arsehole. It is worth you addressing your own failings, if you feel you have them, before your partner brings them up as an excuse for why they have behaved so boorishly. Do not spend time apologising or defending yourself if this happens. Do not force your partner to spend time defending themselves. Both of these things are distractions. Make this about the project and not the personalities.

1. You need to recentralise project planning, which means you need a process and a schedule to discuss things that should be discussed between you both, and where you clear what decisions get made unilaterally and which do not. At a minimum, this is every week. Be very clear about who is doing what. Take ownership through language (I'll take point on this; I'll lead this; etc).

2. Communicate. So your partner has to discuss what they are doing and you have to discuss what you are doing. Stop point to point communications. They are corrosive. You can do this by a combination of project meetings and using communications tools like Yammer.

3. Deliver what you say you will; deliver, on time. And bring yourself back into the project by taking ownership of your successes and publicising them at least within the team.

4. If you want to force change, go in with a plan. If possible, commit that plan to paper. This gives you the driving seat. That way they have to reject something concrete, and propose an alternative. Or they have to actively stop collaborating.

Honestly, it sounds like you are quite far down the road and this may be too late. Unless there is a 3rd party who can force your partner to behave differently either you can bring them back on track or you can't. If you can't, chalk it up to experience, detach emotionally, walk away once it's over without bitterness. Limelight hogging arseholes are in all walks of life, and their insecurities are ugly and destructive.

Good luck, and a word of advice from a man (not me) who consistently outnegotiates smarter and more talented people. Keep your arguments rational. The moment they become emotional you have lost. A favored tactic of his was to make his opponents lose their shit by calmly prodding them about their competence, performance etc. I don't know if your partner behaves like this but if they are manipulative and smart they might do. Don't lose focus.
posted by MuffinMan at 10:01 AM on January 23, 2014 [20 favorites]

I think you will find this relevant & helpful.
posted by elf27 at 10:02 AM on January 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm unclear of the structure of this, but is there anyway you can just push him out and play some hard ball? If you initiated it, do you have ownership over it?

You might want to sit down with him and set some guidelines. "This is a partnership and I feel like I am giving respect and not getting it back. When I brought you on board to help me with this, it was with the intent that we would be collaborators and steer this thing together; it was not for me to be your subordinate. I don't answer to you and you cannot delegate me menial tasks in front of our team and then chastise me later. I initiated this event as an expert in this kind of art who has put on one of these events before and my role will be focused on x, y and z." Something like that. I mean, just be direct but try to keep it from feeling hostile or aggressive. If you can set up a protocol or means of communication going forward that is black-and-white, maybe you can both follow it and that would help.

If this is something that will be good for resume and your experience, I wouldn't just walk away because your partner is an asshole. I'd try to make it a workable situation, and I'd try to maintain some ownership over the roles that are important to you.

I think as time goes on after it ends, the political dynamics won't matter as much. The details of things always start to get blurred a little bit. I worked with people who sucked at their jobs and did nothing, but now claim to be deputy directors and list a bunch of job functions on their LinkedIn that they either barely did or did poorly. And they have friends who will back up their stories, even though they are a re-telling of it. Since your situation is contained to the university and the art world probably won't know who designed what or who scheduled what, I would stick it out if you can. I would make sure you are impressing the people who matter and if your partner wants to takeover everything, let him worry about the shit you'd rather not do and focus on the meaty stuff you want to do.

I'd recommend trying to care less, but I know how hard that can be, especially when it's something you came up with and it's a passion. Maybe try to take it less personally, if possible. Once it's over, you can let it go and be glad it's done. It will be a learning experience, either way.
posted by AppleTurnover at 10:07 AM on January 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

Playing devil's advocate: sometimes this situation comes about because one party genuinely is a legitimately better project manager and decisionmaker. We call them completer-finishers.

Could be, but I wouldn't call this a trait of a completer-finisher, exactly:

Bureaucracy is the main reason we have not been more successful, as my partner insisted on getting everyone's "say" on various issues, including ones that the team didn't feel strongly about, leaving us to scavenge for event space, budget and time at the last minute.

I think it's not really clear from what we've seen here what his motives are. I mean I could speculate: maybe he feels like your other project was a sign that you were insufficiently committed (stupid, but sometimes people get ideas like this in their head), or maybe he has a big head about having been a manager, or maybe he's under some pressure you're not seeing (from his boss?), or maybe there's some plain-old sexism and narcissism going on. I wish I could offer you a clearer insight here.

One thing you might be able to do, though, is to turn around this behavior on him. Muster up all of your schmoozy cheerfulness and use it to delegate tasks to him, for instance. Another place you could intervene: people may be both frustrated that his meetings go on forever with no useful output and flattered that he is letting them talk about whatever they want for however long they want to talk about it. So when you feel that a meeting is descending into tail-chasing, you could maybe interrupt politely and say, "oh, sorry - do you guys feel like this is something you care enough about to resolve by consensus, or would you guys be comfortable [voting on a couple of options]/[just going with $most_popular_idea]/[making the decision on $this_objective_criterion or $this_is_what_we_usually_do]/[taking this offline between $most_vocal_members and coming to us with a decision next time]?" This makes the other people in the room still feel like they're being respected without just letting every conversation spiral into vague blog land, and it makes you look like a leader and a professional.

And if he ever pulls something like you described in your post again, be polite and professional in the moment, but collar him the minute the meeting ends, get him alone, and say something like "It was inappropriate for you to speak to me that way, I'm not in a support role, and as you know, I'm not responsible for $bureaucratic_problem_x. I wouldn't speak to you that way in a meeting and I expect you to be equally professional with me" in as level a tone as you can summon. If he starts to argue, just put up your hands and say "I've said my piece here, I'll see you tomorrow, have a nice day!" and leave.

Anyway, that's my advice. I'm really sorry you have to put up with this and I know how frustrating this type of interaction can be. Best of luck for the coming semester!
posted by en forme de poire at 10:30 AM on January 23, 2014

I'll leave the "How to fight back" for everyone else, but I would suggest you objectively read your question as though it were from someone else. I don't know what the dynamics are where you work and I'm not in your shoes, but the wording of the question makes you sound difficult to work with and a bit snobbish.

have you sat down and talked with him about your frustrations one on one?

I'd be interested in this as well. I'm a great one for getting completely upset with someone before I say anything and the question sounds like you've been stewing. Present your concerns calmly and, as suggested above, make it about what needs to be done and why things aren't currently being done correctly, not about how you feel.
posted by yerfatma at 10:35 AM on January 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

My job is already problematic (again, because my department has no clout), so I am already preparing to change jobs as soon as I can. But I need to deal with this for another semester. It's impacting my blood pressure.

So you intend to depart this joint, making the value of this (or risks of it faceplanting) pretty irrelevant with regards to the university and your stature there. Work to remember that.

So your focus here should be on how this helps you professionally in your search and as a CV item, as well as how your ego deals with having your name attached to it. Will this be a good feather in your cap down the road and will you feel okay with the end product reflecting that Anonymous Asker was a co-chair.

I think you should attempt to make it clear to this person that you're not comfortable with him making decisions unilaterally when you're co-chairs... and be prepared for a line of bullshit and no change. But maybe that's just one jerk and overall the end result will be okay. Is any of this, ego aside, taking trouble and hassle off your plate? If so just try to look on the bright side: you're going to get credit on paper for being the co-chair even if this unprofessional jerk smacktalks you in a meeting.

To the extent that this person is making your life harder I think the above suggestions about project management structure are good. And take a page from his book: he can't be bothered to involve you or give you the correct credit? Show up at the next meeting with your planned structure drafted. Use some kung-fu and apportion out authority in a way that visibly puts things under his command by quantity but not quality, perhaps.

There was some advice columnist who said nobody can take advantage of you without your permission. Sometimes we have to let them for professional or social reasons, but your plan to check out gives you a good place to stand when deciding what horseshit to put up with. You can focus on making yourself well prepped for departure and external accolades without having to worry the way he does about his internal status. Try to use that, both for your own calm and advantage.
posted by phearlez at 10:52 AM on January 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Is there something I should say or do when I yet again find out he's cut me out of the loop,

Hi [Parner],

I'm surprised that you [made this decision/scheduled this event] without consulting me. This [decision/date] is acceptable, but next time, please discuss these things with me before making any commitments on behalf of [us both/the project].


or attempts to delegate to me as an unequal?

In person:

Him: ok, so [You], can you handle XYZ?
You: hmm, I have time to take on X. I suggest we delegate Y, and perhaps you can handle Z?

Over email:

Hi [Partner],

I agree that we need to do X, Y, and Z. I'm also working on [related thing]. I can take X on as well, but I prefer to delegate Y to [group member] and I think it would be best if you handled Z personally. Let me know your thoughts!


Alternate plan: set him on fire.
posted by prefpara at 10:59 AM on January 23, 2014 [4 favorites]

WRT your original comparison: it seems, from everything I've read about Apple and the Jobs/Woz relationship, that Jobs taking over the company was by the consent (spoken or unspoken) of both men; Woz really wasn't interested in running a big corporation, and went back to school and got his baccalaureate while still officially employed by Apple. Plus, of course, Jobs wanted to be in charge.

Something sticks out in what you wrote: "I don't think he's fully aware he does it." Sometimes, when someone is successful at something, they feel the pressure to maintain or even improve on that success, and don't always handle it well. If he was out to cut you out of the thing that you co-created, I don't think that you'd still be co-chair of it (although that could simply be a function of however your bureaucracy works). If you're successful in your career outside the university, and he doesn't have a corresponding outside career, he may simply think that it should be his job to take care of all the logistical bullshit, and he may look at your trying to be a part of it as your implying that, hey, I guess I'll have to do your job too. If you haven't had that kind of a clarifying talk about what your respective roles and expectations should be, or if you haven't had that lately, it's possible to see that sort of personal "mission creep" happening.

So, in other words, nthing the suggestion to sit down and hash things out. This will probably be difficult, especially if he tries to dodge it by claiming that he doesn't have time. But if things are that bad already, then the best thing for you might be to let go of it.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:45 AM on January 23, 2014

Bear in mind it will not get better. It will only get worse.

I was in a situation like that once. Couldn't escape it, couldn't improve it, I was locked in. I looked around for solutions, and realized it was nothing but a bad tunnel I had no choice to pass through. Nothing could truly hurt me - I'd be intact at the end, just so long as I didn't tear MYSELF up over it. And that realization actually made it easy.

I went through the motions. I locked into tight professionalism. I did whatever the very opposite of "taking it personally" is. I didn't expect good things or good relationships or good results, I didn't cluck my tongue at the expected bad things (the phrase "I can't believe....." was erased from my tongue). I just WORKED. That's what work is. That's what breaking rocks or digging ditches is like. It remains work, it remains tough, but it's a known-quantity sort of toughness, where your only real peril is from your own inner roiling discontent. That's the real pain-maker, not the silly controlling dude. An interesting laboratory experiment on your inner workings/attitudes!

Anecdote: I once drove deliveries around Manhattan by car (not on tight deadline). It was the easiest experience I ever had with NYC traffic, because I was ON THE CLOCK. If I sat in traffic, well, that was inevitable. That was PART OF THE JOB. I relaxed into it. I moved when I could move, and I got there when I got there. Funny thing is, as soon as my workday was over, and I needed to drive home or to dinner or something, my driving stress would increase dramatically.

You don't want this situation in your private life. And you may or may not be able to prevent it in the future in your work life. But right now, it's just ditches to dig and boulders to smash. Whistle while you work.
posted by Quisp Lover at 12:29 PM on January 23, 2014 [9 favorites]

"4. If you want to force change, go in with a plan. If possible, commit that plan to paper. This gives you the driving seat. That way they have to reject something concrete, and propose an alternative. Or they have to actively stop collaborating. "

This is great advice. It's been a strategy that I've tried and found successful in my org, where I'm often dealing with people above me on the ladder who nonetheless are in conflict with other responsibilities I have. By going in with a plan, the default is that they add to my plan (or change it where necessary — which often works out better, since these are often pretty drafty plans).

The other thing that's been helpful? "No." If he attempts to delegate to you in front of colleagues, just say, "No." Remain pleasant, don't discuss your decision, and often your problem partner will do one of two things: Either reassess their behavior, or act like a dick in front of people, losing face. It's an effective way to reassert power.
posted by klangklangston at 2:56 PM on January 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

I can’t remember where I heard this, but I did and think it’s true: “If you have to ask for power [respect might stand here too], you don’t have it”. Going along with this is the idea that if you want power/respect, it’s up to you to take it if you can.

My experience has been that once a hierarchy’s been established, even between two people, no amount of talking about it will change its direction. Especially when there’s a vested audience and they are giving person X power/credit (if for no other reason than they like him). I don’t know how to change the chemical atmosphere once it’s been established, as I’ve never done it, but would guess it would involve actively competing (vs rolling over or gritting teeth), but in such a way that the competition is invisible.

(Especially because one complication here is that that he’s a man and you are not. According to me and probably others I am not looking up right now, women have a tough time asserting leadership even when they're literally entitled with it, at least partly because of others' resistance. He and (even women) others may view your efforts to challenge him, insofar as they are noticeable, with disdain or suspicion. Especially if people like him. And they might especially like him if he makes them feel important, by involving them in choosing coffee cups). I am thinking that to get some power back, the effort has to look effortless.

Thinking about it, a tactic that might be successful (not that I could easily do it) would be to appear to go along with him (and his ideas and style), and make it look like ideas or changes of direction are in alignment with his (unspoken but already won) authority. Like you’re going with the flow, and simply adding to the 'great' plan everyone’s already invested in. (I have no idea how one would do this when there is genuine disagreement, or the sight of him turns your stomach, or at all, really, but this is how I can see it working. Maybe through something like the “yes, and” thing in comedy improv?) Being or appearing friendly throughout would be important (I would think).

(This is coming from reflecting on team/group work, which I haven't had to touch in three years. I'm not great at it unless there's a natural chemistry [prefer working alone or within clear role delineations] and I've rarely experienced it in a paid work setting. But I've got some of this sort of thing coming up, so thanks for asking the question. Good luck!)
posted by cotton dress sock at 3:02 PM on January 23, 2014

I noticed this in your first paragraph: "With a partner, I initiated a large cultural arts event sponsored by the school." I'm curious as to whether you sought him out, he sought you out or whether you were forced to work together. I ask this because I have had similar problems in the past with choosing overbearing, controlling work partners whose personalities compel them to be the "top dog". I tend to be a more meek person in my interactions with coworkers, even though I have strong opinions and bring skill and intelligence to the table. Many times I've initiated a partnership because I am impressed by a more outgoing coworker's charisma and energy. However, charisma and energy does not translate into working well together, and sometimes those charismatic people have blown right over me and taken control of the entire project. I've learned to notice a person's style before I ask them to partner, most notably whether they give others credit, and whether they're open to others' ideas.

So I ask you, if working with this partner was your choice, why did you choose this person? And what can you do to avoid working with this type of person in the future? It sounds like he may see this project as a zero-sum game. If someone else gets credit, he doesn't, and vice versa. There's no way to truly win with someone with that mindset. You can wear yourself out trying to match this person move for move, or you can move on and choose your collaborators more carefully next time, with time spent -- even if it feels awkward -- establishing roles and responsibilities early on.

I may be wrong - ownership of this project may be something you want to fight for - but in the future, take great care when you're choosing collaborators. And good luck!
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 3:34 PM on January 23, 2014

If the project was initiated by you, then can I assume you brought your partner in? If this is the case, as project leader, surely you can dismiss him? Or at least threaten to?

I would have a conversation along the lines of, "Steve, when I brought you in, it was with the idea that while we would collaborate together, ultimately I would be heading the project. You seem to be under the impression I work for you and are delegating to and undermining me every step of the way. (Give examples) If we don't resolve this conflict, I'll have no choice but to ask you to step down and replace you with someone who is more of a team player. At this point your actions are threatening the success of the venture (haphazard marketing) and ruining our credibility. This what I expect from you,xxx, xxx and xx. Am I making myself understood, do you have any questions or should I start looking for your replacement."

You might want to couch it in slightly gentler terms but I have no doubt that the way he's acting is deliberate and if you not only call him on it but take the power back by saying you'll replace him (only say this if you can actually do it!) it may go some way to address the balance. He won't like you for a while, but he will respect you.
posted by Jubey at 6:32 PM on January 23, 2014

Mod note: From the OP:
First - As far as Woz, I was referring more to Jobs taking credit where it was not due, claiming money from Atari would be split 50-50 when Jobs actually kept significantly more, but thank you for pointing this out.

Yes, we used to meet quite regularly in order to plan and move this forward, and the ownership/delegating language is something I did throughout the planning process. An issue is that he is able to see higher-ups in our organization more frequently, and I do not, and I think that's where this power inequity has really come from... the more that he's met on his own with these people and used some of that time to get their buy-in, the more that he really doesn't think about my take. He worries a lot about our betters and in his anxiety to please them, I don't think he's necessarily channeling their supposed desires with a critical eye.

As far as why work with my colleague, we had worked on a previous project before, one that was ambitious, but less expansive, and which stayed true to the boundaries it started with. It looks like it may be subject to similar bloat in the future, as a continuing thing, but I've taken steps to limit my involvement already - months ago.

I have four other regular collaborators on unique projects. No problems there. Very distinct personalities, too - two introverts and two extroverts. I wouldn't say I'm charismatic, nor my colleague. He's very cautious, spends a lot of time making sure everyone feels good or that there is at least an impression that everyone was "counted", but unfortunately also returns and rehashes something that was previously agreed on, especially if he feels that there's any doubt. So no, he's not a superior project manager.

We have a very authoritarian management structure at the top which nonetheless likes to pretend we're all one cuddly family - and many people manage by sticking a wet finger in the wind.

I am OK with changing course when it's needed, but I've learned that just as often you have to be able to commit to a path and see it through. You can't get data, or make plans when you're uncommitted, or constantly flip-flopping. Your comments helped me elucidate what was bothering me about that, too. Thanks.

Yes, I read the question aloud to someone before I posted it. No, I'm not considered difficult to work with or snobbish, thanks anyway. I'm pretty well-liked and have made friendships throughout the university.

My core team and I are often in demand, to the point where my boss does a lot of active gatekeeping now - so that we can let her be the bad guy and say "No" now and again. I do say "No", especially when people beg me or my colleagues to "work magic" at the last minute. I plan everything far in advance so that I have wiggle room- I try to underpromise and overdeliver.

Let me say again, thank you all very much for taking the time to answer my question - so much good advice and experiences you've shared. I think there is a fantastic grab bag of strategies here for me, not only for the future here, but for other people who might find the question. I did immediately put Prepara's advice to use in a new delegation issue (no fire involved), Quisp's comment put a smile on my face (I tried to channel the Seven Dwarfs today and whistle while I worked), but frankly, all of you, thank you.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 7:13 PM on January 23, 2014

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