Thursday, June 12, 2008

Why I'm frustrated with my career choice

This week I've attended over a dozen meetings for a handful of organizations, in person and via teleconference. And I only worked part-time most days.

I have enjoyed my career choice for years, but things are changing, fast. The issue with my job is that I have outdated organizations - stuck in beauracracy. They are lost to the impact millenials are already having on the need for collaborative identity of the organization (as opposed to old-school, board-dictated identity). I've mentioned the Obama campaign a dozen of times this week as an illustration of this change - how new technology (for example Web 2.0) is an indicator of major change in the world of nonprofits... in the way we communicate, in how people perceive an organization, and, most importantly, that the stakeholders of the organizations (whether they are consumers, members, leaders or volunteers) will define in their own way what an organization is, despite the leadership's best attempts to retain hierarchy and decide what is "best" for their flock. C'mon folks, get with the program already, before it's too late! Sheesh.

I was trying to soothe my aching head and jangled nerves tonight by diving into my favorite blogosphere spots when I came across this gem...

From a declassified CIA manual on Simple Sabotage, circa 1944, to create general interference with organizations:

  • Insist on doing everything through “channels.” Never permit short-cuts to be taken in order to expedite decisions.
  • Make “speeches.” Talk as frequently as possible and at great length. Illustrate your “points” by long anecdotes and accounts of per sonal experiences. Never hesitate to make a few appropriate “patriotic” comments.
  • When possible, refer all matters to committees, for “further study and considera tion.” Attempt to make the committees as large as possible — never less than five.
  • Bring up irrelevant issues as frequently as possible.
  • Haggle over precise wordings of communications, minutes, resolutions.
  • Refer back to matters decided upon at the last meeting and attempt to re-open the question of the advisability of that decision.
  • Advocate “caution.” Be “reasonable” and urge your fellow-conferees to be “reason able” and avoid haste which might result in embarrassments or difficulties later on.
  • Be worried about the propriety of any decision — raise the question of whether such action as is contemplated lies within the juris diction of the group or whether it might conflict with the policy of some higher echelon.
That so clearly sums up my meetings this week, and makes it official... the CIA is infiltrating my clients' leadership and governing structures, ready to sabotage my best attempts to lead them into a new era. Sabotage, I tell you!

Or, maybe I just need a vacation.


  1. That pretty well describes working at the guv'mint! Every meeting breaks down exactly like that.

    Do you have a link to this golden gem? I'd love to read the whole thing.

    I'm sure that most of the non-profits you're working with are open to "change" in the sense of what the Democratic party is heralding, but you might find that actual corporate folks don't like hearing even the vaguest mention of politics, even outside of the actual political scope. It makes 'em feel all icky and uncomfortable, as if being impressed by a process connotes affiliation with a particular party.

  2. Anonymous2:28 PM

    Sounds like the government here in the UK, too!

  3. you crack me up! I could write almost identical posts to all of yours (only u r a much better writer!!) we live parallel lives! but me with 2 boys. :) my little TGA guy, Scott, has the EXACT same dressing himself issues. obviously not the poufy flower skirt. :)